How to Compete on Value Rather than Price

How to compete on value rather than price in recruitment

“Companies that solely focus on competition will die. Those that focus on value creation will thrive.”  Edward de Bono

Fierce competition is a challenge for every recruitment business. There will always be another agency with lower commision rates than you. So you compete by dropping your fees to win over clients.

But really, going cheaper than the competition is a spectacular wrong move. It says nothing about you and your teams’ worth or capabilities. Which doesn’t do any favours for your reputation.

Fear not, there is a better way to charm your clients and conquer the competition. It starts with understanding your value. Discover the differentiators that make you a shining beacon in an overcrowded landscape and how to use them for client wins.

Your Best Features

Your value proposition should be like a goodie bag for your clients to open. It says, “I can give you this and it will make your life easier.” What the ‘this’ is in that sentence is up to you.

For example, let’s say you’re an executive recruitment company. Your value proposition is that you can hire quality senior level staff in half the time a client could on their own. So when it comes to proving yourself you explain several things:

  • You have easy access to executive contacts – experience and networking has given you a pool of valuable contacts
  • You’ve placed high-level candidates in critical roles before – share recent success stories
  • You have a bespoke executive candidate pack – give a paper copy of this during your meeting
  • You use technology made specifically for executive search – such as LinkedIn’s premium candidate search tool
  • You have access to industry intel, news and contacts – name the societies or industry groups you’re a member of

Charm clients with evidence like this to demonstrate how you’re going to solve their problems and serve them. Using the example, your pool of senior candidates and access to specific tools and resources will make hiring top talent much quicker.

If you haven’t reviewed your brand values in the last three years, update your proposition until it’s shiny again. Or if you’ve recently added a new service, that’s a good reason to go over things too.

Staying Ahead of the Game

With the threat posed to our industry by artificial technology and machine learning, some of your prospects might be concerned about the effectiveness of traditional recruitment methods. We should encourage these doubts because doing so can give you the upper hand, as we recently discussed.

Recruitment isn’t a dying industry. But it is going to be a survival of the smartest. If you’re willing to invest in data-mining technology, new skills and innovative ways to personalise the candidate experience, do it now. Then as the new technology rolls in it won’t flatten you, and crucially, you can provide clients with the best and most current recruitment methods: a surefire way to impress.

Recruiting the Golden Group

Speaking of technology, recruiting through social media channels is a killer way to hire passive talent. As LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends highlights, “for critical jobs, 95% of the people you want to hire aren’t looking.” Which means directing your attention to sourcing passive client is a must for executive recruiters.

We recently highlighted why engagement on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter is the most effective way to identify top-quality candidates who aren’t in the job market. Demonstrate how you’re using social media to source passive talent to impress during your pitch. Not sure how social media sourcing works? Take renowned sourcing leader Glen Cathey’s advice:

“My secret weapon was to be incredibly detailed and specific about exactly why I was reaching out to them, which wasn’t [about] the job I was recruiting for, but rather their skills and experience, to show that I understood them.”

Your Best Friend is Data

Everyone likes stats. They’re easy to digest and you can pack a punch in a powerful figure. They also offer prospects a way to discern the success of your business.

What would be a disaster is if you present figures on the wrong things. That is, data such as time spent per call or number of candidates interviewed that says nothing about your recruiting skills. You need KPIs that allow you to measure stats to impress. Like these…

The Quality of Hire

No matter what field, your clients want capable, hard-working candidates. Employees that will improve their business in small or big ways. Show a high percentage of quality hires and it’ll reflect how dedicated you are to client satisfaction.

If you’re looking to outshine the competition as an executive hiring agency, also measure how difficult those roles were to fill. If you can demonstrate your ability to recruit for the hardest and most pressurised roles, that’s added value in spades.

Fill Rate

Of course, if you only made one quality hire in a couple of months, that statistic will look sad. Present a high fill rate alongside your quality-of-hire figure to demonstrate your team’s talent at recruiting difficult-to-fill jobs.

Retention Rate

With a high retention rate and a low turnover, you’re positioning your agency as a team of recruiters who care about the candidates they place. The effort you put into supporting placed candidates is clear with a high rate of individuals satisfied with their roles. This highlights your business’s professionalism enhancing your credibility.

A Diamond in the Rough

You now have fuel to fire a fantastic first impression helping you soar above the competition. Need a quick refresher? Here are four ways to win the recruitment talent contest

  1. Your value proposition
  2. Modernising your recruitment methods
  3. Hiring passive talent
  4. Data to prove your worth

If you take one thing away from this post, remember: providing evidence of you and your recruiter’s dazzling performance will always be a more powerful action than dropping fees.

The true measure of the value of any business leader and manager is performance.  – Brian Tracy