One of the most astonishing responses we encounter when informing prospective clients of the importance of having and maintaining a high-functioning, well-designed website is, “I have plenty of clients. I don’t need new ones.” I believe you’d be hard pressed to examine a successful business that stopped seeking to grow its base. Another diversion to the idea that recruiters need to grow their client base is that growth will come via referrals. While there is no denying the importance of referrals, a business cannot survive by referral alone. Consider some of the pitfalls of failing to see why a proactive approach is vital when recruiters need to grow their client base.
Nothing Gold Can Stay
The line above comes from a Robert Frost poem (sorry, I’m an English guy), and in its eight lines it reiterates the point that nothing good lasts forever. I’m sorry to say, but that includes your client base. We work with a number of recruitment firms who work for Fortune 500 companies, and these firms understand that even with high-profile clients, recruiters need to grow their client base. Since 1955 only 12% of the Fortune 500 companies of that era have remained in the list. Why? An inability to keep up with the progress of technology. No matter how strong your clients may seem, they are susceptible to market disruption and collapse. And if they can’t afford to fall behind in the digital race, how can you? Recruiters need to grow their client base so they can be prepared if a current client no longer exists.
A Change is Gonna Come
Recruiters need to grow their client base if for no other reason than to prepare for the unexpected. And few people are more aware of the dangers of variables than recruiters. How many times have you watched a sure thing disintegrate because a client or candidate had a change of circumstance, a change of need or simply a change of heart. Even when you do everything right it can all fall apart. There are too many things out of our control. If you don’t plant trees today, you may have no shade tomorrow. Recruiters need to grow their client base to stay ahead of the roadblocks.
Plenty of Other Fish (Referrals) in the Sea
I hate to break this to you, but the recruiter-client relationship is not a monogamous one. If you think you’re the only suitor then you are going to be very disappointed when you show up with the corsage only to find yourself in a long line of other agencies waiting to pin a flower on your client’s lapel. Recruiters need to grow their client base for the same reason clients utilize multiple recruiters: options. We recently spoke with a very successful (and very realistic) client who spoke about the great relationship he had with his clients but said he knew they would move on in an instant if he failed to deliver.
There’s no loyalty without success, and sometimes there’s no loyalty even with success. All it takes is for the HR reins to be handed over to someone who decides to take the hiring process in a different direction, and you find yourself not just one of many names on the dance card but not even invited to the prom at all.
Recruiters need to grow their client base. Even in a bull market. Even with a bevy of reliable clients. And even with the prospect of great referrals. The moment you start to let yourself, and your website, go, you risk losing your place in line. Your digital presence is your only presence for most clients and candidates, make sure your recruitment website is professional, modern and designed by professionals who truly understand the world of recruiting.