When I was much younger than I am now I played basketball. Notice I did not say well. One thing I remember a coach telling us all very well is to know your strengths. One player, in particular, the coach told to never dribble the ball and only shoot it if you’re under the rim and no one is around you. I remember feeling bad for that kid, although when the coach told me my strength he said, “Tom you are a real good picker.” As you can imagine that did not earn me much playing time, but a seat at the end of the bench.
Working in sales, it can be very important to know yourself too. A few years ago I ran into a sales representative who was a par golfer. He said he loves when he can take a client out for a round they usually are impressed and it often leads to business. Today we want to talk about how important it is to know what you can do and can’t. An experienced technical staffing professional said, “we need to play to our strengths.”
When I was in high school I always knew who the smartest kids were in the class. I remember a few people that would always know the answer. Some of them were very competitive. There was another individual who was not the most intelligent pupil but always got good grades. Her strength was her work ethic. She would always take good notes and study harder than most people. One other thing she did well was being consistent. She was rewarded for her hard work by being crowned the valedictorian.
Wherever you are on the experience scale you should understand the benefits and the drawbacks of your position. Technical staffing is a field with a high turnover rate. If you are new realize you have a lot to learn, but also you can gain understanding by learning the basics. Your weakness can be your inexperience but you can make up for that with added effort.
What do you consider your strength?
Perhaps you have been around the block a few times. This is a strength for you, so you know what to expect and have good relationships with your clients. Technology is always changing so you must keep up with this by adapting and learning.
What are your weaknesses? How can you work through them?
Once you understand your strengths and weaknesses it is important to learn about the company you work with. Where are you competitive and where do you have a hard time finding business? As I work and train technical staffing personnel each company is different. If you are working in a smaller firm there are benefits and drawbacks that you need to know. Larger firms have their own issues to deal with.
My grandfather owned dry cleaners in a small town many years ago. He originally had some competition for his business. He had a great work ethic and a good understanding of finance. Living through the depression he was quite frugal. Having competitive prices and great service eventually eliminated the competition.
Who is your competition?
Whatever market you are in you should know who your competition is. Even a small market like Des Moines, where I live, has many technical staffing agencies. There are some local players and national players in the market.
So you understand your strengths and weaknesses and you understand your competitors. Having all this information is key to learning how to position yourself when you are in front of clients. As you analyze this data look for where you can fit in and provide value. How can you stand out? Don’t be the same as everyone else who doesn’t understand the industry and just pedals resumes.
Approach your client
The last piece in this puzzle is to put all this information into action as you approach your clients and customers. Each customer is different looking for help on their team. When you attempt to make things the same you are not providing as much value. I saw Jack Daly speak recently about sales. He continually came back to creating systems and processes to ensure success. I would agree with Jack on that. We need to create a checklist of questions to make sure your offerings line up with your client.
How do you start the conversation with your client?
What have you done to build trust?
Every time you talk with your client you need to track your contact. What did you talk about? Is there any follow-up items for them? Years ago when I was in sales I would promise my customers many things and hardly ever follow through. I did not practice DWYSYWD or “Do you do what you say you will do?” I was not practicing personal integrity. My words were not in alignment with my actions.