In just about every presentation that I have facilitated over the past few years, someone will always bring up that it is not about the orders, we need more qualifiedpeople. There will always be two elements that build staffing firms; generating a job order and filling a job order. I am not trying to oversimplify what we do, but that is indeed the fact. Most markets have experienced tremendous growth since 2001 with just about every niche exploding into the staffing requirements of companies.
We are now presented with the domino of credit issues working its way through the economy. Economists are now ranking debt issues as their top fear surpassing terrorism.
It now appears that temporary employment is beginning to see a slight downturn.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics temporary employment has declined consistently for the past six months. Opinions will abound if in fact there is a downtown. Regardless of what all the prognosticators are saying, here are 10 indicators that tough times may and almost certainly are on the way.
10 Indicators of Tough Times
- Companies are making slower hiring decisions not always based on logic or reason.
- Cancellations of job orders are up.
- The price objections you face are larger in number, more frequently voiced, and harder to deal with.
- More personal procrastination from buyers – from getting appointments to signing agreements.
- Clients begin to look both internally and externally for cost containment measures.
- Frequent talk of reorganizations and restructures.
- Your internal advocate suddenly becomes powerless, politically impotent or out of their job. It is always important to have depth in an account.
- Increased complaints to avoid payments or stonewall future purchases.
- Tougher and apparently unfair maneuvers from your competition whose philosophy has degenerated to “whatever it takes” to make the sale.
- Your own firm’s philosophy becomes “whatever it takes to keep the doors open”.
You should review these indicators in your weekly meetings with your staff. On a broader scale we need to understand some of the major causes of tough times.
Causes of Tough Times
- An unrelenting continuation of lousy economic conditions (unemployment, slow growth, etc.).
- The tightening of the credit markets.
- Fear of an unknown and apparently unforgiving future.
- The presence of economists, forcasters, and so-called experts everywhere.
- The continuing trade imbalance and the spiraling deficit.
- International events impacting directly and immediately onto the marketplace.
Now, with this basic understanding, what do we do! First you must instill the following 4 mindsets into your team:
- Be aware that someone, somehow, somewhere will be generating job orders and filling them. It might as well be you.
- Your strategies must be more accurate than ever.There can be no fat in your prospecting efforts. We must be in front of the right people, at the right time, with the right message.
- When times are tough it requires everyone to work harder with management taking the lead. Sorry, there is just no way around this one.
- There is no such thing as down time in a down economy. Never waste time; invest your time.
What do we need to make sure our salespeople are doing?
- Never stop prospecting. A staffing organization that only prospects when there is nothing else to do is like a pharmaceutical company that is developing new drugs.
- Make your staffing firm a value-added component for your clients. Offer them value- added information about their industry or their competitors.
- Sell value over price.
- Identify and sell into very tightly segmented niches.
- Understand the power of personal positioning and how personal marketing strategies integrate with selling strategies.
Finally you need to make sure you are managing your team more effectively:
- Accountability Rules- Do not ease up on this. Your banks or investors will be holding your feet to the fire. You must do the same.
- Keep measuring the level of activity in your team and keep the pressure on by managing the details of the activity.
- Stay upbeat! The attitude in your branch, division or company will come from you. Communicate, communicate, and communicate!