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Its your business and its personal By David Thornhill, Managing Director of Simplicity

Its your business and its personal

Is re-mastering the art of conversation the winning formula to surviving todays fast and furious economy?

By David Thornhill, Managing Director of Simplicity

We can sometimes get lulled into a false sense of security. A good case in point is the feeling that technology always makes us a better business, whatever the circumstances.

Were all busy, arent we? Of course, we like to send and receive information quickly, as it helps us to move onto the next item on our jobs lists, become more efficient and gives us a sense of achievement once we can quickly accomplish each task on our to-do sheet. But has this need for speed killed traditional forms of communication, such as phone calls and even face-to-face meetings? It seems this could be the case, as Vodafone has reported the average duration of phone calls on its network has halved during the past five years, with people talking for around one minute forty seconds, a decline from more than three minutes, which still isnt long at all.

Gadgets and hi-tech tools, including the increasingly popular Skype and Google+ suite, such as Hangouts and Chat, undoubtedly provide essential support for recruiters, but sometimes a return to basics and good old-fashioned phone pounding and meetings can be refreshing and offer recruiters and suppliers the edge over their competitors.

To help put this into perspective, the Halifax Insurance Digital Home Index has revealed that three-quarters (73 per cent) of the population would struggle to go for just one day without gadgets such as phones, laptops and MP3 players, demonstrating that we are a generation who cannot or will not switch off. Its fair to say that many have accepted email is an easier and faster method of communication, offering breathing time to double check information and avoids any confrontation, but sadly has, on many occasions, replaced the art of conversation.

It is this busy work context, with the unending squeeze on resources and non-revenue earning staff that forces recruiters to constantly think of new ways to make their agency more efficient and streamlined - in a bid to free up more time to meet clients and grow their business. But what if you simply dont have the time to meet with potential and existing clients, and an email is the best way for you to communicate?

But look again at how you harness technology. Just think of how productive you could be through the smart outsourcing of your back office and administration functions. It might also help remove some of the stress, as experts, including our team at Simplicity, will ensure your workers are paid on time and at the correct amount, and that VAT and other payments are paid.

That then provides you with the confidence to spend this valuable time to talk to and meet with clients, effectively putting you back in the driving seat of your recruitment business.

When meeting potential recruitment clients, as well as with existing customers, when the opportunity arises, my preferred communication is a face-to-face meeting. If youre trying to persuade someone to leave their existing provider, or any service supplier, there is no doubt that the best way to do that is in person. An email should be reserved for confirmations, sending documents or to have something in writing, rather than starting and building a relationship.

I honestly believe this approach is one of the main reasons we have been able to secure record sales. Clients want to feel looked after and should feel and be treated as number one; they should not only be your focus but experience that demonstrably. Especially in the recruitment sector where companies like ours are helping agencies to grow, establishing a good relationship using old school methods are often the best way to gain trust.

At Simplicity, traditional methods alongside online, e-marketing and social media strategies have definitely worked for us and provided the opportunity to expand our business and grow our product portfolio.

So, the message is: dont be slaves to technology; harness it! I urge you to pick up the phone and talk, get out of the office and meet as many clients as you can, because once you have a good client base and a good reputation, things start to snowball and the biggest winner is your company!  Up close and personal is what good business is all about!

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