Are you ‘client-flabby’ or are you ‘client-fit’?

Recruiters often complain about the fickleness of clients. Clients don’t return our calls, they don’t give commitment, and they don’t follow through.

Often true.

But, is it always the client’s fault? Does the relationship flounder because you don’t put in the effort you should? Indeed, do you commit the cardinal sin of slipping into ‘chronic client complacency’? Honestly, I have done it myself, and paid the price. I see it happening all around me too. Bet you see, and hear, it too.

  • “That’s my client”
  • “Oh don’t worry about that client, she only uses me”
  • “I get all their work”
  • “I don’t need to take this job in person, I know this client so well and he is 100% loyal to me”

Sound familiar?

And what’s more, it’s often the very best clients we take for granted, lose focus on, and spend less time nurturing. Which is mega-crazy when you realise how much time we spend on new business development, with prospects who have never spent a single $ with us!

Now is the time to get ‘client fit’.

That means honing up every aspect of the client relationship. Keeping it oiled and supple and vigorous and healthy. Take this little quiz to check your ‘client fitness’ (Good, regular clients I am talking about, not one-hit wonders or prospects).

  1. Have you seen your client contact, face to face, in the last 3 months?
  2. Do you see that person at least 4 times a year?
  3. Do you take every permanent or search order, in person, if at all possible?
  4. Have you met every line manager in the client business who could potentially be a hiring manager for you?
  5. Have you met your client’s boss?
  6. If your client is a line manager, have you asked to meet the HR team, and gone to see them, and asked “What can I do to make your job easier”
  7. Have you studied your clients website, closely, recently?
  8. Do you subscribe to your client’s blog, newsletters, Twitter feed and Facebook page?
  9. Have you tried, and do you try to use, your client’s products and services?
  10. Are you connected to your client on LinkedIn?
  11. Do you massage you clients’ ‘social ego’ by re-tweeting his tweets, commenting on his blog and “Liking” his Facebook page?
  12. Have you asked, “What is there about my service that I could do better, or what could I add”?
  13. Have you found a good reason to get your client into your office? (A quick sandwich lunch in the Board Room, to meet your CEO… whatever!)
  14. Have you followed up with every placement you have ever made at your client company, and do so every 6 months?
  15. If you have temps on long-term contracts at your client’s site, do you ‘make yourself big’ by going to see them, handing out Easter Eggs, running on-site training, bringing in morning tea, and generally making sure you are ‘visible’?
  16. Do you know who your clients’ clients are? And do you know lots about them?
  17. Do you keep up to speed with your clients’ industry, and especially their competitors, and know what the key issues and trends are?
  18. Have you done an annual or bi-annual ‘Business Review’ with your client which is like a mini performance review, where your work is summarised, assessed and communication both ways occurs to make the relationship better?
  19. Do you know what the 3 biggest staffing/HR issues are for your client, and do you discuss them often, with a view to assist?
  20. Do you keep up to date with your clients’ benefits structure, vacation allowance, their social media policy, and any other factors that could influence the interest of a future hire?
  21. Do you regularly provide your clients with value-adds that you don’t charge for, like salary surveys and market updates?
  22. Have you agreed ‘standing briefs’ with your client? Clearly mapped out skill-sets that your client is always interested in – even if they have no specific role for you? Most companies are open to hearing about ‘that special someone’. You need to know who that is, and float them in.
  23. Are your most current terms of business up to date and signed off by the client? Or are you still operating off the terms they signed in 1999?
  24. Have you introduced your clients to another recruiter on your team, or your manager, so that client ‘feels the love’ and knows they can call on someone else if you are out or away?
  25. Have you specifically thanked your client for their business, maybe over lunch or with a small gift, or even just a visit where thanking them was the sole purpose?

OK, feeling exhausted with your fitness test? Score yourself now;

0 -10: You are a slob. Totally out of shape and unworthy of keeping your clients. Commit to get fit! Or accept you will die a young recruiting death.
Come on mate! Lift your game. You have some things right, but a long way to go.
You are a ‘client-fit’ amateur athlete. Working hard, looking pretty good, but still carrying a bit of flab.
You are a superbly honed, ‘client fit’, Olympic-level superstar. Nice job!


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About Greg Savage

Over a career spanning thirty years, Greg Savage has established himself as a global recruitment leader. Greg is a regular keynote speaker at staffing and recruitment conferences around the world.

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18 Responses to Are you ‘client-flabby’ or are you ‘client-fit’?

  1. christine February 7, 2012 at 6:16 pm #

    Excellent advice Greg!

  2. Phil Collins February 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    This is an excellent blog and very very true, so much so that I have printed this off and shall keep this on my desk as a constant reminder, as i have also been guilty of this in the past.

    Client care is an absolute must, its surprising when you consider just how much time and effort it take’s initially to get a client on board, yet not enough attention is placed upon keeping them, so we need to continue to take action to retain them.

    Excellent blog Greg

  3. Ravi Janardhan February 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm #

    Thanks a ton Greg!

    This post will be our guide to being ‘client fit’.

  4. Norb Dishinger February 8, 2012 at 2:18 am #

    Hi Greg,
    This is an excellent article like many of yours that I have printed for follow up, insight and sharing. Success requires that we continue to delight our Clients thru follow up and care this will assist not only in retaining current clients but in growing our Client base.

  5. Miro Pobuda February 8, 2012 at 3:01 am #

    Will print this one out for regular checking.

  6. Deepak Sant February 8, 2012 at 5:16 am #

    Great points Greg! Love your blog.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on client management.

  7. Jane Devereux February 8, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    Love this – especially great for start of the year injection! Thank you Greg

  8. medicalplaces February 8, 2012 at 8:50 pm #

    Who has time to al that greg??

    • Greg Savage February 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

      That is a fair question. Truth is, the points in this post are somewhat “aspirational”. I doubt any of us can do all this, all the time, with all clients. You would not do this with every client, that for sure. But its a great benchmark to aim at… and … with your top 2 or 3 clients, the ones who give you huge chunks of work… you just might have to make the time.
      At the very least, its a thought jogger, to remind us of some of the small things we can do to improve client relationships

  9. @JoshTeperman February 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Greg – thanks for the post, looking forward to putting this stuff into practise as much as possible.

    To do all of these tasks though, you’re going to have to be very selective about which clients are worth the time and effort. This will also depend on how many clients you need to be successful. An HR recruiter is going to have a much harder time doing all this for their 100 clients than an IT Telecom recruiter who focuses on 3 or 4 key accounts.

  10. sunny June 15, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

    very good article ,as Phil mentioning, i taken print out and kept it on my pin board,let me follow

  11. roll off dumpster atlanta December 28, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    My relatives all the time say that I am killing my time
    here at web, however I know I am getting experience every day by reading
    such nice articles or reviews.

  12. Denise Matthews February 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm #

    Brilliant reminder – whst we all know but don’t practise diligently enough. That has sorted team training this week – thanks!

  13. Tamara McMaster November 15, 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    Thank you Greg, 100% on presentation once again!

  14. Tamara McMaster November 15, 2013 at 8:11 pm #

    Thank you again Greg, awesome post!

  15. Linda Kemp August 1, 2014 at 12:02 pm #

    Spot on, success is all about relationships, and trust…. Retaining clients is so critical love this questionnaire Greg…….


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