June 23, 2018

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Staffing Sales Insanity?

Too many sales professionals in the staffing industry are doing what they’ve always done – but expecting new results. I think that’s the street definition of insanity, by most books.

What’s a Sales Manager to do? Here is a “Daily Double” ticket that can get your team to the winner's circle.

Create a Prospect Profile

One of the easiest, and most often overlooked, ways to manage clients and prospects is to rank them as A, B, or C contacts depending on their type and level of business (potential or realized) with your company.

  • “A” contacts are your best resources. They are the folks that you have a relationship with or who are close to becoming clients. Remind them how important they are to you and how important you are to them by paying attention to them on a regular basis. Build the relationships!

  • “B” contacts are your potential “A” contacts. They are the clients that use other vendors or a prospect that’s been sitting on the fence for awhile. Focus on the cream of your “B” crop and strategize ways to pull them into the “A” group.

  • “C” contacts are your duds. Look closely at this group. Most companies focus on this group to bring in new business, when it will most likely never happen – at least to the levels it should. Knowing when to cut a contact loose provides returns far beyond their potential business with your company.

Focus Sales Efforts

While you’re categorizing your clients and prospects, analyze where your sales reps are spending their time. My guess is that you will find that 80% of their time is spent calling on clients and prospects who give you less than 40 % of your business, your “C” contacts and low-level “B” contacts. There are many reasons for this mistake. It’s “what we’ve always done,” “the only way to bring in new business,” or a simple lack of understanding of what your true client potential is.

Use a Consultative Selling Approach

Only when you know who your clients are, what their potential is, and where your reps are spending their time, can you begin to sell to them. But forget the “foot in the door” techniques of yesterday. If your reps are walking into clients’ businesses with a card in hand and proposal in the case, you might as well tell them to stay at home. Clients have become savvier, closing the door on this tactical selling technique.

Working from the top-down in your firm, reps must be trained and managers must remain committed to the Consultative Selling style that your “A” and “B” contacts require. As a sales leader, you must coach and mentor your “players” in order to help them grow as Sales Professionals instead of being Order Takers. Be warned, though - everyone can’t make the shift. It’s possible that you’ll find some “C” reps on your team that will have to find alternate opportunities.

The Needs Assessment

The first step of consultative selling approach is to never sell on the first appointment. Instead conduct a Needs Assessment. You can’t sell to a client or turn a prospect into a client without knowing what they need. Your reps should be asking things such as…

  1. What is your customer staffing strategy? How was it designed and implemented?

  2. Do you use temp staffing services?

  3. What are your greatest successes using temp staffing services? What made these experiences “successful?”

  4. What’s the worst staffing experience that they’ve had? What are the details? Why are they the worst?
  5. How do you measure the effectiveness of your staffing vendors? How do you ensure that you are using your vendors in the most effective way possible?

  6. What percentage of your employee base or business do you want to outsource?

  7. Do you experience seasonal shifts in your staffing needs?

  8. Is there anything else that I should know that will help me deliver the best staffing services possible to you and your company?

This is just the tip of the sales strategies iceberg. This time a rising tide may not lift all boats! Start rowing now and you’ll be growing in 2005 and beyond.

-Jim Della Volpe

Jim Della Volpe, The-StaffingCoach is a training / coaching specialist. He combines his passion for mentoring sales and management professionals, 30 years in sales, training sales management and coaching for his clients. Jim worked in IT Staffing fro 10 years prior to starting Growing Tree Partners, Inc. in Hingham, MA. His website and email are and