Getting Employers to Say Yes: The Power of Adding Value
It helps to always assume that employers have heard it all before. No pitch is new and chances are, businesses already have set predispositions on how they’d respond. What you need to do is be several steps ahead of their thinking. Don’t just present the bare minimum. Aim to show added value.
What is Added Value?
“Added value” means something different or new that can’t easily be found elsewhere. It’s a concrete benefit for the business and may even be their competitive advantage. These added values may be the value of your customers as individual employees; the value of hires you recommend for the business; and, the value of you as their service provider.
Added value can translate to employees with better skills, work ethic, expertise, teamwork or performance. On a business level, added value can mean more profits, reduced cost, better client relations, enhanced company public image and more streamlined systems. When it comes to dealing with you, added value can be excellent response time, comprehensive proposals and accurate matching.
How do We Present Added Value?
To ensure that you’re always in that added value mindset, take time to strategize. Make sure that every time you and your employer get together, there’s something in it for them (Remember the WIIFM Factor – What’s in it for me?).
- Do your homework before you meet…
The initial meeting is not the time to learn about your employers’ needs. Even before setting an appointment, familiarize yourself with the company’s products/services, mission-vision, corporate structure as well as business history. Research too about the persons you’re to meet – their work experience, management style (if you can find it) and anything else that may be relevant.
Company websites can provide these details, but LinkedIn may be a great place to start if she or he has a profile. You can also check with a company staff person you already have a relationship with or a colleague who has worked with the employer before.
Once you have these details, look for all possible matches with your customers and identify opportunities to address business needs. The more substance you have in adding value, the more convincing you’ll be!
- ALWAYS lead with a business cause and a business need…
It’s not unusual for service-providers to think in terms of altruism and social responsibility. For instance, you might be tempted to say hiring persons with disabilities is ‘the right thing to do.’ But, is that implying the employer is doing the wrong thing? At the end of the day, a business has to make money in order for it to continue running. So, lead with a business cause: how will working with you benefit their bottom line? Show them how another company increased their sales because of a customer you referred. Quantifiable sales improvements are always something that will catch an employers’ attention!
- Under promise and over-deliver…
Under promising doesn’t mean that you’re unable to accomplish anything. Instead, it means avoiding vague commitments such as “I’ll have it for you shortly” or “I’ll see what I can do.” It’s hard to live up to these statements because no timeline is ever set. You should always leave a meeting with an employer with an established next step and due date. If you get it done on time or sooner, Great! Surprise your employer with efforts they’re not anticipating. This is showing your added value! You become someone the employer can count on.
- Clarify employer expectations…
Always check if you and your employer are on the same page. Do this at the beginning of every meeting as you discuss outcome expectations, but also along the way. Explain the process clearly, the best methods of contacting you, how to handle troubleshooting and anything else of importance or value to the employer.
- Match well…
Lastly, make sure that every match you suggest is well-thought out and based on facts. Don’t just make referrals to meet your placement numbers. Not only is this not in the best interest of the candidate or the employer, but it will weaken your relationship with the employer over time. Remember, your ultimate goal is to strengthen and maintain relationships with your employers. Good luck!