My telephone names sourcing business has grown mostly by word of mouth. I know it sounds corny and slow but it's true - time passes very quickly but if you start with one, then a couple customers, soon that couple will be a few; before you know it that few will have multiplied like rabbits!
But where do you get that first customer?
In my early days, I accumulated a list of email addresses (this in 1996 - before everyone became so SPAM sensitive) and emailed them a short message – something like:
“Need help finding GREAT candidates (who nobody’s seen before) for your hard-to-fill positions? My name is Maureen Sharib and I’m a Names Sourcer – I will “source” names for you out of specific companies for specific titles on a per name cost basis – my service can save you 80% on traditional recruiting costs. Call me TODAY!”
Something short, something succinct, something true. Don't forget your call to action: "Call me today!" has worked for me. Make sure you give them ALL your contact information – make it extremely easy for them to reach you. Then, when you send them out, make sure you’re able to be reached! Answer your phone on the second or third ring when they call. Don’t rely on your Answering Machine to net you great new customers – it can’t and it won't.
If I were starting out, I’d do it again - spam accusers be damned! Email is very effective and it works - people don’t mind receiving email on something they’re interested in something that can help them, that can bring real dollars to their bottom lines.
I have a base of customers, some of whom I hear from weekly, some I hear from monthly, some I hear from once a year. That’s okay – I try to make new friends and, as the old saw goes, “Keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold!” I'm thinking about doing some business development work for the third time in a dozen years - any of you out there interested in doing this?
Staying in touch with ALL your customers is extremely important and admittedly, it's an area I fall short on. I keep swearing to myself I'll create some type of contact list for reguilar contact - maybe something that lists recent completed searches to give folks an idea what's hot on my boiler-plate but I never seem to get around to it. When I look at the body of work I generate for different customers I realize there are industry trends in it that might be of interest to my customers. I know I have to buckle down to this challenge - I ask myself what stops me?
I’ve recently invested in having my website drawn over - and I'll be creating a newsletter list that subscribers can "opt in" to at the site. In addition I hope to be able to pull together all my different "groups" into one so I might stop running hither and yon trying to keep pace with all that's going on in the Sourceosphere these days! I'm looking forward to the new formatting and I hope you'll watch for it and join.
I strongly believe in paying it forward and I encourage any of you interested in growing your businesses to get involved in community groups - there is a hungry audience out there very interested in learning about what you do. There is much to be gained by active exposure on the Internet - again, don't forget to make it easy for them to get in contact with you should they like what you have to say! I recently wrote a piece, Get a Group, Get a Blog, Get a Website! and you can read the ERE string here
Customer mix? In the early days it was mostly third party, nowadays it’s about ½ -2/3 corporate staffingand the remainder third party. I think this is a result of names sourcing coming more to the attention of HR department heads and internal recruiters in general. Not that names sourcing (at least the telephone names sourcing we do) will ever become mainstream but I’m not going to say never!
However you start, the important thing to generate new business is to just get started. This is one way – if you have one that worked for you send it to me and I will include it in future lessons!
“Begin - to begin is half the work, let half still remain; again begin this, and thou wilt have finished.”
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