People often say knowledge is power, which is incredibly inaccurate. Knowledge applied in a compelling way is true power as it engages people in a meaningful manner. The question is, with so much available knowledge, how does one pick and choose what to acquire and what to ignore?

Companies in staffing and recruitment, in particular, often don’t have the right knowledge that will be powerful in how it helps them support prospects and customers in improving their current circumstance. Instead, our industry often falls into order taking mode or, even worse, assuming what customers say they need is the real need. For example, one staffing company in Massachusetts took an order from a buyer while their competitor, who is my client, gained deeper knowledge as to the business issues and challenges the customer was facing. That knowledge led to better solutions that are now saving that customer money rather than engaging in the same old hiring routines that were perpetuating the problems.

While there are a list of critical questions that should be asked of buyers, one, in particular, unlocks a treasure trove of knowledge that will allow you to create more meaningful relationships, provide better service, deepen your impact, and allow you to deliver tremendous value. That question is:

“What are your business objectives in the next 12 months?”

Often, if you listen carefully, you’ll hear a misalignment between those objectives, and the order the customer is about to hand out. If you address that gap and provide a solution that helps achieve those objectives, you’ll not only win more business, but their hearts, minds, and maybe even a touch of their souls. That’s real power that benefits all.

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