Sell Bandages to a Bleeding Man
Yes, the economy is improving. Yes, business will pick up later this year.
But right now, as you read this, we’re still suffering through a nasty recession. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like waiting around for three to six months for things to improve.
So what can we do?
Some of your competitors have already found one answer. They’re out selling lower mark-ups and discounted fees as a way to win business. You may even be wondering if you should match their price cuts.
But is discounting the key to success? Only if you’re Wal-Mart! There are so few economies of scale in the staffing business that aggressive price-cutting to win market share can be a dangerous proposition. While you might get more orders in the short-term, what good are they if you can’t fill them at a profit?
To make matters worse, price cutters often think that when the recession ends they will simply raise their prices. Good luck! Once you slash your prices—and cheapen your value—it’s nearly impossible to recover.
What do you sell to a bleeding man?
Ever stop to analyze why you’re not getting more orders? As James Carville put it, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Like you, your customers are hurting. Most companies have experienced moderate (or worse) business loss in the past year. Some have been forced to cut personnel while others continue to bleed cash. The result? They don’t need to hire, and they don’t need your services (or so they think).
So what do you sell to a bleeding man?
You sell bandages!
What do your customers really need most right now? They need sales. And in the absence of new business, they need to maximize the profitability of their existing business. While reducing prices is one way to help, it’s really not the best one—for you or your clients.
Sell “Sales” to Increase Your Profits
Can staffing services really help businesses increase sales? You bet! For example, in order to increase sales, your clients may need:
- Project professionals to design new marketing strategies
- Telemarketers to make cold calls
- Clerical help to process direct mail
- Administrative support to free key personnel to focus on sales activities
- Industrial labor to eliminate process bottlenecks and provide capacity to produce faster
- New hires to eliminate “understaffing” problems that are causing the client to miss sales opportunities
I once had a sales trainer who told me that a good sales person sees his or her service as the solution to every business problem. If your client’s biggest problem is a lack of sales, give them ideas to increase sales! Of course, to come up with these ideas, you may have to learn more about each client’s business. You may also have to speak with people who are higher up in the organization.
As an outsider, you can offer a fresh perspective, and you may be able to shed light on opportunities your clients may not see. Your customers probably won’t buy into every idea you suggest, but if just one idea gets accepted, you’re going to get more business. And even if every one of your ideas is rejected, your customers will still appreciate the effort you’ve made to help. In the long run, that kind of relationship building is the best way to increase your sales.
Cut Costs Without Cutting Prices
Look at any company’s profit & loss statement. What’s the biggest expense? Most likely, it’s personnel. As you know, personnel costs are best controlled with a strategic approach to staffing. To sell staffing, you have to show the right people—those who care about the bottom line—how staffing can be used to reduce personnel expenses.
For example, when you see a company laying people off, send a letter to the CEO or CFO empathizing with the pain that you realize this type of decision causes. In the letter outline a few of the specific things you can do to help them through the transition period and to lower their personnel and staffing costs when business picks up.
Education is the Key
Selling value is not easy. In general, people won’t believe what you say, so you have to find other ways to convince them. The first step is to clearly define how your services can deliver value. Make a list of all the different ways your services can be used to control cost, improve productivity, and manage risk.
Next, identify alternative methods for communicating your value. While direct sales efforts are one way to convey a message, they may not be the most credible (nothing against sales professionals, but people often don’t trust the things they say). Other ways to communicate your message might include:
- Mailing articles and case studies that demonstrate the strategic value of staffing
- E-mailing ideas to control cost and increase productivity
- Conducting educational seminars or “lunch and learn” meetings
- Becoming a local speaker on hiring and employment issues
Finally, plan to repeat your message frequently. We are all so busy these days that we often don’t pay as much attention as we should. For education to work, it must be repeated. Ideally, you should create an ongoing curriculum that keeps you in touch with clients and prospects at least once per month—and offers the bandages your clients need!
Five Reasons to Call Haley Marketing Today
At Haley Marketing, we are relationship marketing specialists. We help our clients to sell value by providing an ongoing curriculum of interesting, educational, and highly valuable information. We help our clients to stand apart from the competition, stay top-of-mind, and win more business. And we do it at a price that your company can afford!
So why call us? Here’s our “Top 5 List.”
- You’re tired of hearing “XYZ Staffing will do it for less.”
- You’ve run out of excuses for not picking up the phone to call us.
- You want great marketing that you CAN afford.
- Your market may not be available soon. (15 staffing firms started with us last month)
- You want to increase your sales!
For effective and affordable marketing, call Haley Marketing today!
We’ll provide the bandages!