Ask a Staffing Expert: How Can My New Staffing Firm Build a Pool of Clients?
Is your staffing firm facing growing pains? Building a pool of clients isn’t always easy, especially in smaller markets.
Charlie Wall faced this with the staffing firm he helped found, Loop Recruiting, which provides recruiting, staffing and advisory services. The company got off to a fast start in 2015, partly as a result of the economic boom in the Augusta, Georgia, area. In its first year, it saw more than 400 percent growth in revenue, and notched more than 160 percent growth last year. He says starting out strong can help build your reputation quickly. “It all comes down to making sure that you do a good job — and word travels quicker if you do a bad job than if you’re doing a good job,” he says.
Here are Wall’s tips for building a healthy client pool.
Build Your Reputation
Setting high standards can be tough, especially when you’re starting out. But building a reputation of competence now will pay off down the road through word of mouth and repeat business. “We did a really good job for a couple of clients who took a chance on us,” and that made all the difference over time, he says.
Because of his company’s size, Wall says, everyone focuses on serving the customer as effectively as possible the first time. “We’re a small outfit, so we really don’t have to the bandwidth to do something over again,” he says. “We made that one of our core principles — we only want to do things one time, and get it right. That’s helped us grow quickly.”
Staffing is all about knowing your clients and their needs, but Wall says Loop highlights the importance of openness and transparency, starting with client onboarding. “A lot of companies say they get to know you and your culture, but we try to stress that the more you open yourself up to us and let us access what you have, we can get to know what makes people in your company tick,” he says. “There’s no right or wrong way to lead your company, but if you can open it up, it helps us be more successful when we begin to evaluate and recommend candidates.”
As your relationships grow, you can begin to leverage them for referrals and introductions. Wall says that after getting to know clients deeply and providing great service, it was easy to ask for introductions and referrals. Telling the story of how you went above and beyond with one client will make the case to your prospects that you’re the agency to pick.
Treat Each One Equally
As you rely on your reputation and relationships, it’s important to remember that any client can introduce you to your next big client. “Being consistent is really important, both in the service we provide and how we handle our business,” Wall says. “We approach every client as though they’re the same, and that’s a pretty good approach for anybody,” he says.
As you scale, relying on technology can help you focus on service, Wall says. “We’ve tried not to ‘over-software’ ourselves, and focus on those that are scalable and can grow with us,” he says. “We try to leverage technology as much as we can to keep the things going that help a business roll along.”
Want more insight and tips for running a successful staffing firm? Check out Toolkit: Resources to Grow Your Staffing Firm from the Ground Up for useful tools and tips you can use to better your firm.