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One of the biggest questions recruiters have when adding contract staffing to their business is how they will find clients.

The easy and unexpected answer is they don’t have find a bunch of new clients to start getting contract job orders. Recruiters have told us that the best source for contract job orders is their current clients.

Think about it. You already have a relationship with your existing clients. There is already a level a trust. Hopefully, they’ve come to see you as a good source for hiring advice and trends, so when you present contract staffing as an answer to a staffing issue, they will be more likely to listen. Even better, it is very likely that they already use contractors or have a desire to but never asked you because you previously didn’t offer the service.

Moreover, it typically takes less time, money, and energy to extend your relationship with a current client than it takes to acquire a new one, as David Gee discusses in the Staffing Talk article “Old Customers, New Business.” In fact, he states that repeat clients tend to spend 65% more on products/services than a new one. In the article, Robert Gordman, author of The Must-Have Customer: 7 Steps to Winning the Customer You Haven’t Got, reiterated the common statistic that core customers only account for 20% of a company’s base but can provide 80% of the profits.

“It’s important to know who your profitable customers are,” Gordman said. “Once you know who’s profitable, you can find out why they’re doing business with you. Then you can start extending the relationship with them based on why you’re currently successful with them.”

So now you know WHO your best source of contract staffing job orders is. But HOW do you get them to use your contract staffing services. Here are a few ways:

1—TALK about it.

It’s as simple as that. When you are following up with a client, say “By the way, we can now place contractors.” Or suggest contract staffing if they are talking about a specific situation in which contractors would be a perfect fit. You can even consider proactively contacting all your current customers to let them know you have added contract staffing to your service offerings.

2—Ask the right questions.

Your clients may not know that contractors are the solution to their problems. Try asking questions like these to determine their true needs:

  • “Do you have a short-term need or upcoming project?” These are the perfect times to use contractors because there is no long-term commitment.
  • “Are you prohibited from hiring due to a hiring freeze?” Contractors come from a different budget than direct hires, so they may be able to utilize contractors even during a hiring freeze.
  • “Are you worried about hiring the right person?” You can let them try-before-they-buy through a contract-to-direct arrangement.

3—Put it in writing.

Be sure to mention contract staffing on all your written communications, including your website, email signature, social media profiles, your standard fee schedule, your client newsletter, and more. You may want to consider an email campaign or sending out marketing documents explaining your new service to current clients.

BONUS TIP: The “Sweet Spot” of Contracting

Recruiters, when trying to offer contract staffing, be aware of the size of the companies you’re working with. Small-to-medium-sized companies are considered by many recruiters to be the “sweet spot” when it comes to contracting. Why?

  • They tend to be more flexible with rates and contract term negotiations.
  • They are less likely to have vendor management systems and primary vendor agreements.
  • They have more limited budgets but still need deadlines met and projects completed.

This doesn’t mean you should discount larger companies when it comes to contract staffing. Just be aware that, as with direct hire, there may be more gatekeepers and hoops to jump through.

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