Developing new Markets, Finding lost revenue and Upselling

by Heat Recruitment

As business leaders we all pretty much start with a blank canvas.   Nowadays I see it as a book that you are reading – that has writing only up to the current page.  All the remaining pages are blank – waiting for you to write a GOOD story that hopefully becomes a Blockbuster.  So as we ALL set out to make our Best Seller – we need some clear guidelines to what we are going to provide to our customers.

For Heat it was initially Insurance Specialist Recruitment

We set our Mission Statement and laid out the Principles to ensure that everyone who joined the business knows them and can assist the business growth.

If you ask:  Why do people run a Marathon?  It would be rare to get the answer:

‘Coz I’ve got nothing better to do or I don’t know!’ There is going to be an answer of some sort – to better my time, a sense of achievement, I’m running for charity – it’s the same in business you have to have a purpose.

A passion about the Sector that you operate within and a knowledge and willingness to learn about the sector.  Often when joining the recruitment industry, we fall into a sector but when setting up new sectors you need to have a passion and purpose.  For Heat, as I mentioned, we started in Insurance but then tactically thought about the next sectors that we could build.  The overlaps:  FS, Legal, Accountancy and Finance and eventually IT – Professional Services Recruitment all made sense.

A simple tip is the David v Goliath approach – this is where you pick 1 company that is a similar size to you and where you have the ability to compete with them and hopefully, surpass them.  The other is that you pick one larger Company that you would love to emulate and aspire to be!

This will keep you focused on the tough days.

Now you need to get started, so these are my – Initial Questions to ask

  • How will the new division fit in with the overall business strategy?
  • Sectors and Geographical Areas to cover and where the synergy / overlaps are going to be:
    • e. Legal to Insurance, FS to Accountancy and when will you exploit these as it takes time to get established and recognised for being a specialist in a Specific sector / Area of a sector
  • How much time do you spend on setting up a database? How does it need to be coded? – this is important as depending on your system this could be very time consuming to change later on – I know we’ve done it
  • How are you going to do this and continue doing this? adding to the business – do you bring in apprentices or experienced people?
  • What are the milestones that you have set yourself? How far ahead have you mapped?
  • What timeframes have you given yourself? – Billings, Number of Consultants, % of coverage in your Sectors
  • Are the finances in place to support your pursuit of New Business?

Now preparation cannot be overlooked

Once you’ve laid down a strong plan – test it – ask someone else to look at it – then work the plan. Yes, you have to make on the move decisions but the overall game plan should be the same.  The use of concentric rings is one thing I learnt from being is the Royal Marines is that you keep strongholds and work outwards.  This approach allows you to pick specific targets to go after and this theory is no different in business.  Get a strong base and then select wisely – what areas can you cover of?

Have you got your timing right?

When is the best time to attack the market?  Tricky to call at the best of times but you will need to make a call at some point.   What is time required to set up, get the support in place and be known for a certain area of recruitment?  Going too soon to market could have consequential impacts on other parts of the business and being too late could mean you miss the boat.

We all know that Recruitment changes from one week to the next, there’s always going to be a fire to put out somewhere!  For me I have always wanted to ensure we had the correct resources to allocate to each new area – in terms of people, time and money, and that the older established divisions were profitable and not going to be impacted upon.

‘Be careful not to bite off more than you can chew’ You need to be confident in your other divisions.

So you have now decided on the business that you are going after – for us it was Professional Services and IT.  Now it is about drilling DEEP rather than wide – people seem to like Specialisms.  Working in a tight niche market has many added advantages.  Learn to understand where a New Business Role moves into a Business Development Role and ultimately into a Relationship Management Role – these could be different types of people / consultants!

We have had success taking people with experience within their specific sector, but ultimately for us it’s come down to hiring motivated people that our clients like to work with.

If you are looking to add some inexperienced members onto a desk, make sure there’s a solid platform in place for them to grow into the role.  You don’t want a new consultant coming on and undoing the good work you have done, especially in the early stages when you are trying to establish a name.

We have always sought to recruit Trainee Consultants and grow our own through our Heat Training Academy – so having the correct training, and replicable processes in place has been crucial to speeding up an individual’s development.

Social Media

Social Media used well is a great tool to assist your growth.  Perhaps more prevalent now than when we originally set up our divisions – but definitely something we have really come to embrace.  Social media gives you a great platform to position yourself as a market expert, commenting on posts, getting involved in discussions, publishing your own blogs.  Outsourced to a professional can help to quickly enhance your reputation within a market place and get you known as being an expert.  If this isn’t something you are savvy to – then it’s worth seeking a Marketing Agency who can help you to build a social marketing strategy.  It is time and money well spent.

Are you able to say No?

Now it is well known that the hardest thing at times in business is to say NO.  Be prepared to say NO and walk away – especially with Toxic Clients.  Understand the difference between a Gem of a Client, a Good Client and a Toxic Client.  Do not be afraid to discuss a rate increase where the work is timely, candidate driven, awkward, a tyre kicking Client, adjust your TOBs, or further –  just walk away.  Learn to ignore business that is not CORE business – do not be blinded by the lights.  PASS over to another Agency that operates in that sector; the favour will come back to you.

Taking time for Business Mapping and taking Minutes from meetings is crucial, this way you have the information to reflect back upon and understand why you made the decisions that you made.

Release responsibility as you will find that people will take it from you.  The best learning curve I had was to hand over tasks and responsibilities – which has benefited the business no end.

On the journey there are some key things that you should do including maintaining a strong mind set even when the going is tough.  Don’t upset people along the way.  Keep pushing to Add Value to your Customers.  Remember it is recruitment so it won’t be plain sailing if it was that easy everyone would do it.  It’s a long road – and it’s not where you Start it’s where you Finish, so keep training and developing yourself and others

Now within most businesses there will be opportunities and you will need to ask; Where are they and are you prepared to exploit them?  Is it from lost revenue?  How much time is spent searching for lost revenue? Is it the backed-doored candidate? Or the inability to service a Client or PSL effectively? Paretos Law are you getting all the business from each and every one of your Clients?  Why win NEW clients when you don’t have all your existing clients tied up or even worse do not understand what their real requirements are?  How can you ensure that you are getting the most out of each Client? Grading, Star Rating – we use a Gold, Silver, Bronze method.  Probably worth assigning someone in your business to Audit these areas and then write testimonials to highlight your successes!

Data Mining

This leads me nicely on to Data Mining an area that seems to be very topical across a multitude of businesses.  Understand your core areas by getting a true understanding of the business that you are filling / dealing with, is the money coming from exactly where you think it is coming from

Understand Market Moves – e.g.: if a Large Manufacturing Business sets up in the area – they will need accountants / a finance function, within the Insurance Sector we know that floods and bad weather means a requirement for Claims Personnel, the trick is making sure you act – Execution is everything!

Upselling

Are you Upselling at every opportunity?  Do your Consultants inform Clients of all your services and the sectors that you cover?  Are referrals asked for every time, mentioning Permanent and Contractor, call to advise and/or pass on some market knowledge that you have found out – ‘you have to give a bit to gain a bit’.

One thing that we found highly beneficial was to ask around and remove the blockers.  What are the timely tasks for Consultants? Do you walk the room and ask people?  What are the blockers that they face?  You may have heard of the phrase ‘To Kiss a Frog’ – do the worst or hardest thing first.  Get rid of the thing that you are most likely to procrastinate over or do not want to do, this way the rest of your day will become easier and better.

Summary

In summary, business is hard work but can be very rewarding and enjoyable and new Business is achievable to all so long as a few simple points are followed:

  • Plan and plan well
  • Be focused and passionate about what you are doing
  • Get the right people into the business
  • Know why you are doing what you are doing?
  • Communicate freely and with transparency
  • Don’t be afraid to say NO to business, choose what fits your plan

And Finally, enjoy what you are doing.  Now go on and have fun in business.