How to Stand Out From Your Competitors

March 14 1 Comment Category: Opinion

OpinionLots of people in business want to be able to stand out from their competitors. There are even some people who work in the business of helping other businesses to succeed at this. Have you read Purple Cow yet by Seth Godin? If not – buy it today! A great read with lots of thought provoking stories. Standing out is tough as it means being different. At school very few people liked to stand out and be different did they? Even the Goths who claimed to want to be different hung out with lots of other Goths didn’t they? Being different is difficult for two reasons – recognising how to be different and then being strong enough to be different.

In these market conditions it becomes even more important that as professional consultants we stand out from the competition. How can we do this?

Before we can decide how to stand out we need to answer the question, “What from?” So to stand out from your competition you need to know who that is. When was the last time you deliberately set out to benchmark your competitors? Remember the old saying which says “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? This, to me, means the competition. You may have different competitors with clients and candidates. Do you know who your competitors are? Are you sure? Who do clients rate highly in your market? What do they do that makes them so good? Who do candidates find is giving them the best service? If you haven’t done so recently, now could be a good time to find out. As part of your day to day activity ask your clients and candidates. Find out what they do well.

Let’s look at what clients and candidates alike want from us:

  • Honesty
  • Credibility
  • Professionalism
  • To be listened to
  • Regular communication updates
  • Market knowledge
  • Advice
  • Above all, the right candidate or job!

Yet, by reputation, the recruitment industry is not particularly good at delivering this. So much so, in some circles, it has a less than desirable reputation. If you are seeking some sort of “unique selling point” that you can blow the competition out of the water with then one has to be delivering the above consistently. Gain a reputation of that and you will win the long term trust of your customers. Exactly what we should be striving for!

To start to become different, I recommend whole heartedly you take the time to find out what is important to your client and candidate base. Then take a look at what you do each day and honestly decide, “do I do that?”. Then call your unfilled requirements from the last few months and find out how they filled it. What did they (competitors) do so well that you failed to do? The truth is most sales people do not like to dwell on “failure” yet there is an excellent learning opportunity plus a bonus opportunity already to stand out from the competition. Everyone can get a glowing testimonial from a happy customer. What about the customers who are less happy?

As a manager I used to spend every Friday ringing all the clients with whom we had been unsuccessful as well as successful. To find out how we did and to see what we could do next time to be even better. This wasn’t a “checking up” exercise on my team – it was an opportunity to gain some genuine feedback from their clients to help them get better. It never ceased to amaze me how surprised some client customers would be that I was interested enough to find out and do something about it! In fact, it often helped to galvanise the relationships further and ensure future business.

I leave to you to reflect on what services you could be promoting that add additional value to the core recruitment services you offer. It may even be in the process you think of new ones….There are thousands of recruiters out there who all claim that they are the difference. If everyone says that to clients don’t you think it becomes a bit thin? Find something real and tangible. Then do it!

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  1. I have just started in recruitment and I must say that your blog has been the most helpful source of information I have found yet. In many ways beter than the training I am recieving internally. Thank you for sharing your knowledge.

    Siobhan Cooper 23 January 2013 at 3:57 pm Permalink

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