Why is My Team Not Getting Referrals?
Referrals are the lifeblood of all of our organizations. What’s the easiest sale you have ever made? Did you go out and have to use cold calling to find them? Did you meet them through a networking event? The answer to the easiest sale ever made is easy, it’s a referral. Staffing referrals come in many packages from candidate referrals of quality candidates that make a recruiter’s job easier to client referrals that make the sales effort as easy as possible. Let’s talk about referrals and recommendations because both are leading indicators of success as well as the fastest way to new business.
I ask a question whenever I meet with the sales or recruiting teams of our clients, “Do you know that you should be asking for a referral with EVERYONE you meet with?” The answer always comes back the same, “Absolutely. Yes. Of course, I know to ask for referrals.” The follow-on question that I ask is, “When was the last time you ACTUALLY asked for a referral?” and generally the room goes quiet and the team all look at their SHOES. The short answer is that knowing to ask for a referral doesn’t matter if you never actually ask. The primary requirement of a referral is that you actually ask. We find that 7 out of 10 of our clients and candidates have a referral to offer you, but rarely does anyone ask.
As mentioned above, the request for a referral is the primary key to getting a referral. Recruiters tend to be better about asking than the sales
teams because there is an assumption that it is easier to ask a candidate than a client. There is some truth to this, but the thing to remember as a sales and recruiting manager is that if you do not make referrals and recommendations a priority in your discussions then they will likely stay at small numbers. Recruiting becomes much easier and more profitable for a recruiter when they ask that magical candidate if they know anyone that could fit your role.
Most of our teams do not truly consider the value of recommendations. Whether we are talking about Great Recruiters or Glassdoor or Yelp or Google or any other site, recommendations are a way to make the sales and recruiting process easier for the sales and recruiting team. Each recommendation has multiple points of value. The first one is that candidates and prospect clients you are speaking with will likely check into your staffing firm and see what people are saying about you. These recommendations fortify your position with clients and candidates. Secondly, all of the sites for recommendations give you a boost on your staffing website SEO. The third is the simple fact that, “People do business with people they like.” When other people like you and scream it from the rooftops, other potentials give you the credibility you deserve right off the bat.
Ask. Ask. Ask.
Most salespeople, when asking for a staffing referral, think to themselves that there is a better time than others to ask for a referral. For example, I have heard that the best time to ask for a referral is after your consultant has done something great or when a milestone has been achieved, but the reality is that this is not true and just another way to put off asking. I typically explain to the team that the average new hire (whether contract or perm) is always the shiniest, the best, the most perfect hire on day one. Hiring managers always think the most of a new hire right at onboarding and unfortunately, no matter how good the new hire is, that person will make mistakes and show some of their less than shiny moments over the coming weeks and months. It will take a breaking in period for that person to regain their shine in the hiring managers eyes. It is a simple truth that also happens to mean that the best time to ask for a referral is right when someone gets an offer and accepts or before/on their first day. Don’t let arbitrary rules created in your mind govern whether you ask or not. The best time to ask, oh wait…there isn’t one so ask, ask, ask and did I mention…ask.
Advice to Sales and Recruiting Management
First of all, staffing referrals are not simple and automatic just for asking, but the only way they happen is if you ask. Most of our teams have some kind of Board meeting to discuss the active reqs and candidate flow daily so all sales and recruiting managers need to do is make referrals and recommendations part of a meeting like that where you ask every day. Coach your team on how to ask. Create a referral question in every email you send. Create a referral question meme for your social media. Create a contest for who gets the most referrals and then extra points for referrals that turn into business. Make it a game and make it fun, but most importantly make it part of their job that you ask about every single day. Want to win business quickly, ask for referrals and recommendations.
Good luck out there and if you would like to discuss staffing referrals and recommendations, even if you are not ready to work with us, then just shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at 978.664.1221. We want to help and happy to offer some ways to make staffing referrals a clear road to success for you.
About S.J.Hemley Marketing
S.J.Hemley Marketing is a marketing and sales consulting firm focused on driving tangible results for professional services firms. Brand matters, but not without ROI. With over 20 years of sales and marketing experience within staffing and recruiting, we have helped to drive successful branding, sales training, lead generation activities as well as defining marketing strategy for top organizations. www.sjhemleymarketing.com