I recently participated in a Linkedin Group discussion framed around a perceived decline in the quality of recruitment consultancy services to employers within the last 6 months (I was not the initiator of the discussion).
The discussion rapidly became a rampant tide of abuse towards recruitment consultants, from consultants within the industry – mainly taking pot shots at the larger consulting firms, disgruntled candidates, and then independents like myself trying to put some balance back into the discussion-now-emotive debate.
One boutique consultant tried to turn the discussion into a debate about the supposedly high fees charged by the ‘large’ consultancy firms. And this is where it stayed. So the original question never really got answered.
Remember the original question was around the ‘quality’ of the recruitment / employer relationship and the ‘delivery’ of outcomes. It was never about fees. How quickly it became a vehicle for an emotive rant about fees and disgruntled candidates.
Effectively there were two camps:
- Disgruntled candidates – who clearly couldn’t articulate their own value
- Disgruntled boutique recruiters (David and Goliath) trying to promote a ‘cheaper option’ – but didn’t / couldn’t articulate their value
The takeaway for me was that neither of those two communicated their value effectively. Whatever the service or need, you must be able to clearly articulate your value proposition to a range of audiences. i.e. your ‘elevator pitch’. Their position was it was some-one else’s fault. They lost an opportunity for rational discussion and the platform to articulate their value.
To a degree, clients will pay anything – if there is a return in it for them. If they say you are too expensive – it’s because they can’t see the value and there is no return on their investment. If they agree you are cheaper, but they choose a more expensive competitor – they can’t see the value in engaging you, and are even prepared to pay more.
A client of mine said that they couldn’t afford to fly the ‘cheapest’ airline because in their experience it never arrived on time. In other words, the over-all cost of the ‘cheaper’ airline was actually higher than a more supposedly more ‘expensive’ airline.
The measure is surely not about the fee you charge. It is about communicating the benefit of the fee and delivering to the expectations you have promised. Now, absolutely someone might deliver the same service for less. But then surely it comes back again to who had the most compelling elevator pitch. Who articulated the best risk mitigation and ROI.
So – Get your value proposition sorted, define and refine your elevator pitch. Start with the hot buttons of your target and bullet point the benefit /outcomes you deliver next to each hot button. Work this down to a total of 90 words or less. Develop a number of these pitches so that you can use as queue cards. Memorise them and be ready to recall at a moments notice.
Communicate your value, deliver on your promise, and you can charge what you like!
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