How to Be Successful in Staffing Sales

Staffing industry

Last Updated December 12, 2023

Knowing how to run a staffing agency involves more than just starting the business and keeping day-to-day operations running smoothly. The best agency owners know how to be successful in staffing sales because they have learned the secrets of how to market and grow their staffing agencies.

Before knowing how to be successful in staffing sales, you have to first be aware of the barriers you might face when trying to expand your staffing agency. To help you succeed, we’ve broken down seven common barriers that pose challenges to your growth with solutions to overcome each obstacle.

Overcoming Staffing Sales Barriers with Smart Solutions

1. Not Knowing Where to Start

If you’ve just started a new staffing agency and you’re beginning to focus on selling staffing services for the first time, you might feel overwhelmed. Client leads are not always easy to come by for new staffing agencies, and it may be difficult to decide how to get started building your client base.

Solution A: Start Building a Network

Visiting trade events and national staffing agency conferences (especially events dedicated strictly for staffing your niche industry) is a great way to start networking. You might connect with another staffing agency owner who is willing to provide you with some leads. Or better yet, you could form relationships with hiring managers or business owners in the industry you staff for.

Another common strategy that requires less resources is cold calling. However, you should have a strategy for cold calling before diving in headfirst. Specifically, you should have an idea of what your ideal client looks like, build a targeted list of prospects based on this customer profile, and use a cold calling script, which will make it easier to speak with each new prospect and handle their objections.

In today’s age, social media is another excellent networking tool. In fact, Nicole Magelssen, founder of Alpine Virtual Assistants used Facebook to find clients when she launched her agency. She explained further, saying, “I got my first few clients from joining business Facebook groups. They were groups that decision makers of a variety of different industries were in. There are so many different Facebook groups for business owners, entrepreneurs, and decision makers of a variety of different industries. I was able to provide insight on problems, provide my staffing as a solution when they had needs my team could solve, and introduce myself/advertise myself. I built trust within the groups and found several clients.”

By the end of this article, one of the main themes you’ll see emphasized is networking. The phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know” rings especially true when you’re trying to expand your business.

Solution B: Build Referral Programs

Referral programs are a great way to sell your staffing services. A referral program incentivizes existing customers to give you leads by offering rewards for their referrals. For example, you may offer your customers a Visa gift card for each new customer referral they send your way. Creating a referral program accomplishes three things: it grows your network, encourages clients to help discover new business opportunities for you, and enhances your relationships with your existing clientele.

Magelssen emphasized the need to promote your referral program to your existing clients, saying, “I put this in their welcome packet, talked about it during onboarding, and reminded them several times a year. I found that clients often forget about referrals unless you make it top of mind.”

From your existing customers’ perspectives, what’s better than being rewarded for simply connecting their staffing agency with new business opportunities? And for you, there’s no easier way to find new clients than having somebody else do the work for you!

2. You’re Repeatedly Being Told “No”

When your sales agents are cold calling, they’re inevitably going to hear a lot of, “We’re not hiring right now,” “I’m happy with my current staffing company,” or simply, “No, thanks for offering.”

Solution: Evaluate Your Cold Calling Strategy But Be Okay With Hearing “No”

Make sure you’re putting in adequate research and you have a genuine strategy behind your cold calling. Don’t just call to call – take notes on what these potential clients say, notice what approach works the best , and identify which types of businesses are hiring and which aren’t.

The sales staff should be assertive but mindful that not every lead will yield a new client. They should recognize these situations, let the lead know that they’ll be available in the future if anything changes, and wish them a good day. Don’t waste valuable time with a hiring manager who shows no signs of needing your services, and do not risk giving your business a negative reputation by being unnecessarily pushy.

3. You Don’t Have Enough Money

The most common problem for business owners who want to expand: there aren’t sufficient funds. If you find yourself in this position, know that this is something that even the most successful entrepreneurs have dealt with at some point. And regardless of your situation, there’s likely a guaranteed solution.

Solution: Look Into Alternative Financing

We recommend alternative lending as a viable option because, typically, it’s difficult for new small business owners to qualify for traditional bank loans due to a lack of creditworthiness or significant collateral. Additionally, since staffing companies typically need a line of credit to fund payroll rather than a lump sum, alternative financing can be an appealing option.

Luckily, many alternative financing options don’t require a minimum credit score, and some aren’t even considered loans, so they don’t require collateral. A few types of alternative lending that might make sense for your staffing agency include accounts receivable financing and asset-based lending, but we’re going to focus on one in particular: invoice factoring.

Invoice factoring, also called payroll funding, is a financing solution where businesses sell their unpaid invoices to a third-party factoring company (a “factor”) in exchange for an immediate cash advance against the invoices. Typically, businesses receive 80-90% of the value of each invoice up front before the remaining 10-20% is released when their customer submits payment to the factor, minus a small factoring fee.

In turn, small businesses see a boost in immediate working capital and improved cash flow, which is essential for staffing companies that need financing to fund new contract opportunities. If you want to succeed in staffing sales but you don’t have the working capital to expand your client base, you should definitely consider payroll funding for staffing companies as a means to bring on new clients.

4. You Just Don’t Have Enough Time

Small business owners have a lot of responsibilities. Building your business requires considerable time, and you might find that you don’t have enough time to build out a sales team or marketing capability. This time crunch may ultimately stunt your staffing company’s growth.

Solution: Automate Wherever Possible

Automation is the key that unlocks productivity, and there are many tasks in the staffing world which can be automated. One of tools you can take advantage of is AI (artificial intelligence).

AI’s impact in staffing has been immense, and it’s only going to become a more powerful tool. A few examples of AI-driven tools that can help grow your staffing agency include website chatbots to communicate with visitors, virtual assistants to schedule interviews, and AI headhunters that scan certain candidate criteria to identify the top candidates for a given position. Automated systems can also be used for candidate outreach, helping prepare your candidates for their interviews.

Prior to interviews, you can set up automated messages sent to your hopeful job-seekers that include an interview checklist, questions to be prepared for, and further details about the position.

You can even use automation to uncover data that can help you identify what’s working and what’s not in an effort to win more clients. For instance, you can determine your top performing clients in terms of send-outs to interviews and interviews to placements. Once you’ve identified which clients are making you the most money, you can expand your business by striving to find more work with those clients.

5. You Don’t Have the Blueprint for Business Growth

Perhaps you run an established, successful staffing agency, but you find yourself in a certain routine and haven’t quite figured out how to expand your staffing or temp agency to be something even bigger. You may have drafted a business plan successfully, but you didn’t designate a specific step-by-step plan for selling your staffing services.

Solution (Step) 1: Know How to Analyze Your Finances

Knowing exactly how to perform a full analysis of your financial outlook is vital for any business owner. After tallying up your expenses, drafting your cash flow statement, and analyzing your budget for the following fiscal year, you might realize you have the capacity to hire another salesperson. Adding to your sales team allows you to take on more business and connect with even more businesses that need a staffing solution.

Solution (Step) 2: Start Goal-Setting

Setting goals is a necessity for any business owner looking to expand their operations. It establishes a benchmark for yourself, and perhaps more importantly, your employees. When goal-planning, make sure you aren’t just pinpointing staffing sales numbers you hope to reach. Outline how your business will reach those points, including what initiatives should be prioritized, where improvements need to be made, and how that’s going to be achieved.

6. You’re Competing with Established Industry Leaders

Recent data shows that there are about 25,000 staffing companies across the United States. Even dividing up numbers like this by industry, staffing companies can be very lucrative. For example, the U.S. healthcare staffing market size was $20.5 billion as of 2022.

For small or new staffing agencies, the number of potential competitors may make expansion feel intimidating. It is natural to ask how you can gain a larger market share against more established staffing companies.

Solution: Differentiate Your Company from the Competition

Standing out from your competition is how you will attract new clients. Identify areas where competitors are lacking. For instance, you might notice that their websites look fairly bland and aren’t incredibly informative or attractive to viewers. To gain a selling point, emphasize website UX/UI to keep prospective clients’ attention when they visit. Consider starting a blog with weekly articles covering trends and happenings for the particular industry you’re staffing for. Readers might then see you as an industry leader, establishing a sense of trust with your agency.

Maybe you’ve heard candidates mention that they didn’t feel as though other staffing agencies they’ve worked with had adequate onboarding methods and employee training. You could then use this information to bolster your own practices.

Furthermore, while it’s possible to run a successful staffing agency that hires for positions across a multitude of industries, many staffing firms choose to target one specific industry or niche to staff for. It’s sensible to focus on mastering one industry. For example, IT has proven a lucrative industry for recruiting companies to tap into, especially given the technological advancements we’ve seen over the past two decades. Because of this, there has been a boom in the IT staffing market. If you choose to staff for a specific industry, you can leverage your expertise when selling your staffing services to potential clients.

7. Employee Turnover Within Your Staffing Agency

Maintaining relationships takes just as much effort as forming relationships. If there’s constant turnover within your organization, especially within your sales team if you have one, that makes it difficult to maintain client relationships. Clients are often drawn to a company because of the relationships they formed with their first points of contact. If that initial point of contact leaves, it becomes more difficult to convince them to continue working with you or allow you to staff more positions for them.

Solution: Prioritize Employee Continuity

The most successful business owners value their employees above all else. If employees feel like they’re valued at a company, odds are they’ll want to remain working for that company. So in order to avoid turnover, make sure your employees know how much you value them. Build and enforce a positive, healthy culture within the workplace, award promotions when employees are deserving, and frequently thank them for their hard work. Your positive attitude will likely rub off on them, and they’ll carry over that attitude when working to sell your staffing services.

Need Payroll Funding?

altLINE offers payroll funding for staffing companies and temp agencies, which can help you meet payroll on-time, every time. Additionally, payroll funding can help you take on new contracts that you may not be able to finance otherwise.

If you are interested in learning more about how altLINE can help your staffing company meet its growth goals, give us a call at +1 (205) 607-0811 or fill out our quote form.