This is my first blog post. Oh my goodness, I'm blogging! (Ok enough of the epiphany). Seriously, I want to "vent" about the hardships of finding new clients. Is there anyone else experiencing this? Is it my industry focus? Is it this economic climate? Is it that time of year where things slow down? Is it a combination of all of these plus some?

Well, admittedly, I do not come from the School of Business Developers. "Cold calling" is not my specialty, neither is breaking someone's arm to hear the value of my services. But I have strategies. I try to implement them all. It seems to be a must. I believe in diversifying. I believe in individual differences, so different strategies of approach for different companies. So, off I go to cold calling, cold emailing (a no-non?), cold writing, cold, it's getting chilly in here all of a sudden.

Anyway, I consider myself a go-getter. So I believe that in order to stay afloat as a business you need to GO GET! And, yes, that something needs to eventually yield profit because the profit yields sustainability and sustainability, at least for me, yields one happy recruiter.

Earlier today I spoke with a dear partner of mine. His lament on the lack of business this year (and their worst year in the 15 years they've been doing this) really struck a chord. I mean, I do not believe that gaining new clients is a "difficult" thing to do. As a matter of fact, all my clients have been gained quite "easily". I guess the key is gaining great client relationships that sustain your business. And let's be honest, as a small business owner you don't need a Titanic load of clientele to prosper and grow.

Would love to hear others' vents, thoughts, etc etc on how they are managing their business development. What works? What doesn't work?

Happy holidays...

Views: 128

Comment by Julia Stone on December 15, 2008 at 11:06pm
There is a reason that sites like Bounty Jobs is taking off like wildfire. More people are afraid of generating clients that like to admit it. I am not convinced that all recruiters are good at generating business.

I have taking the networking approach to alot of our biz dev, and it has served us well. I have established loyal clients who are true partners. Bad side? We don't have as many clients as we should either, the proverbial "too many eggs in one basket". I have to say that we will have to get more creative next year though.

You are definitely not alone in your rants here, but I am not sure how many will admit the agree with you.
Comment by Paul Westmoreland on December 16, 2008 at 1:15am
It is REALLY hard right now. One thing that has helped us is to target specific industries not as affected by the recession, and find companies with high margin (i.e. more cash on-hand), lots of employees, who are doing well. Or to find strong-performing companies in weaker sectors, who are in a position to hire the best talent away from failing competitors, but who may not know how to find the talent or attract it with a strong market awareness of their selling points against competitors, or who some world regions like France may not be able approach competitors directly.

Splits have been hard, because there's too much distance and translation loss between us and the client, and exclusivity is almost nil.
Comment by pam claughton on December 16, 2008 at 10:01am
It's a combination of all the things you mentioned, but especially time of year and economy.

However, there are things you can do strategically to maximize your efforts. Here's how I landed a new client last week.

It started with a star candidate contacting me to reactivate his search. He'd put it on hold this Summer when another client of mine was ready to move forward. (Now of course, they are in a holding pattern).

So, I hopped on Indeed and searched around for potential companies that could use his specialized background.

Found one with multiple openings and realized I know someone at that company (a former candidate). I emailed him and asked if he knew who the hiring manager was and if they were able to work with a firm like mine. He introduced me via email, and that was that. The key to getting this was having a star candidate and knowing someone to make an introduction.

Comment by Timika Pollack on December 16, 2008 at 5:16pm
Thanks all for responding. The tips and insights are appreciated.
Comment by Todd Kmiec on December 22, 2008 at 9:01am

Sorry for the late reply, but just saw your blog. The answers to your questions are Yes, No, Yes, and Yes. Industry focus is fine and actually really helpful over the long haul. Your focus will develop "your brand" in the industry and bring you new clients.

This time of year is always slow on the BD side. Besides the Holidays, you have many clients going through next year's plans and budgets. While this makes it a bad time for the results of landing a new client or job, it is a great time to make contact with new potential clients. They are reviewing lackluster providers, open to new providers that can potentially improve results, and focusing on their needs for the coming year.

The bigger issue right now is that this is the worst business climate that anyone currently working in any industry (not just recruiting) has ever seen. It's real scary out there so everyone has pulled into their shell to try to figure out what is going to happen. Business trickles down, so as companies are losing business they are slashing spending. Hiring new people and paying fees to do it are too scary for most of them right now.

That said, there are companies hiring and there are companies using recruiters to get it done. They are just much harder to find. The same work will land new clients now, but it takes a lot more of that work to get there. There is great opportunity in all this. Stepping on the gas and making contact with more potential clients will pay off big time, but the payoff is going to take time. If you handle it well, clients will remember that you were here in the tough times and that will give them comfort.

Happy Hunting

Todd Kmiec
Todd Kmiec & Associates

Follow me on Twitter
Comment by Shawn Lacagnina on January 3, 2009 at 8:00pm
No doubt this is a tough period we are going through... not the first and not the last. Ms Hogan has the right idea: get off your duff and make something happen! Hard times means harder work to make the same amount of money as previous year. Stay the course and be persistant. In the end, you will come out stronger and better equipped to take advantage of better times!


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