Too Much Perm, Not Enough Contract Orders? Hmmmm. Blog Feature
Dan Fisher

By: Dan Fisher on April 5th, 2012

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Too Much Perm, Not Enough Contract Orders? Hmmmm.

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frustrated sales managerI have been hearing from a number of folks in the IT staffing industry that they're seeing a significantly higher proportion of perm positions vs contract positions.  In one extreme case I even heard a company who said they've been getting about 20:1 perm to contract client requirements. 
For those of you who are seeing a high percentage of permanent positions to contract opportunities, here are a few things to keep in mind.
  • Who are you calling on, HR or IT executives?  You're not going to find the consulting opportunities calling on HR.  And they certainly are not going to share those opportunities with you if they have them (without a prior relationship).  Make sure you're calling IT decision makers.  Also, be sure to call VP's on the business side-Sales, Finance, Supply Chain, etc... They hire consultants too!
  • Are you properly qualifying your accounts?  Do you understand the business opportunity for IT consultants in your accounts?  If you do and you are qualifying your accounts then why aren't you seeing the contract requirements? Are you asking for contract business?
  • "Fill the permanent positions, and then we'll give you the contract business."  If this describes your situation then be sure to get something in writing that highlights exactly how much contract business you will "win" and be sure to qualify the process for doing contract business with the client.  Remember, buyers will tell you what you need to hear in order for them to get what they want. I have seen plenty of reps get burned by this.
  • Marketing and messaging:  If it is contract business that you want than why aren't you selling and positioning your firm as a consulting firm?  Better yet, why are you agreeing to take on and work the perm positions when you in fact you want contract business?  Perhaps it is because you don’t have another opportunity to turn to?  Get out there and prospect!  Don't "settle" for the perm business, have the courage to walk away from and find a client who needs to hire consultants.  One of the best parts of being in sales is you get to pick your customers!
The clients I'm working with are seeing plenty of IT contract opportunities.  What is everyone else out there seeing?


About Dan Fisher

Dan Fisher is founder and owner of Menemsha Group, a provider of sales enablement solutions dedicated to helping IT staffing firms improve win rates, shorten their sales cycle, and increase revenue per sales rep. Since launching Menemsha Group in 2008, Dan has consulted with over 200 IT staffing firms and has invested over 5000 hours coaching IT staffing sales reps. He’s authored is his own proprietary sales methodology and has previously spoken at Staffing World, TechServe Alliance and Bullhorn Live 2012. Prior to launching Menemsha Group, Dan spent 16 years in the IT industry running local, regional and national sales teams. Dan worked for Kelly Services, Oracle Corporation and Alliance Consulting. Dan currently resides in Boston, Ma.

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