XPG Insights

Staffing industry recruiting news, advice and thought leadership.

XPG Insights

Staffing industry recruiting news, advice and thought leadership.

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Uncertainty Slows Down Business

Here’s what to do during the lull 

Whether due to market uncertainty or because we’re in a presidential election year, many companies have slowed down their growth plans in the first quarter of this year. We’ve seen sluggish sales and layoffs in the staffing industry, and companies tell us they’re putting the brakes on some of their initiatives (at least for a while).  

We’re also seeing much more demand for sales staff than relationship management staff; that tells us companies are looking for people who can make things happen and find new business. But where does that leave experienced business development and service staff when there’s not as much business to develop or service? 

We find that many people, when experiencing a slowdown in business, double down on what’s worked for them before. Whatever activity generated sales before must still be a good idea, right? Not necessarily. This is probably a good time to take a critical look at your activities and make some decisions about what you could be doing differently. 

Obviously, repeatedly calling clients who’ve told you they have no new business is a bad idea. Figure out a way to stay in touch periodically to let them know you’re ready when they’re ready. But keep an eye out for quality talent that you can offer your best clients. Chances are they will welcome a call about an extraordinary candidate who’s just come onto the market (also as a consequence of the business slowdown) even if they don’t have a current opening.  

On the other hand, you now have time to work on strengthening new relationships or reviving previous ones. Has one of your recruiting contacts moved to a new company or industry? A congratulatory call or lunch might be a worthwhile investment in future business.  

Many staffing professionals mistake busyness for business.  Activity must lead to revenue, or it doesn’t make sense to let it fill your day. “Try a new script. Try new channels,” says Amy Carlisle, our Managing Partner at XPG Recruit. “Reach out to contacts outside your market and ask them what’s working for them. Or reach out to former clients when you see a great candidate. They might be glad to hear from you.” 

Amy says working LinkedIn to find passive candidates with rare or in-demand skills is a low effort / high payoff use of your time.  “It takes just a few minutes to personalize a message and send it off, and chances are, you’ll at least have made a connection for future openings.”  

You and your staff may have other ideas on how to switch up your approach to clients – try new, scrappy ideas that may offer value. Some may click and generate new or different business. We believe what writer Bernard Beckett once said about uncertainty:Human spirit is the ability to face the uncertainty of the future with curiosity and optimism. It is the belief that problems can be solved.”