I came to the buy side of the equation by way of the staffing industry. With my newfound understanding of the client’s day, my sales strategy — as a staffing supplier — would be different. My day is similar to my staffing days: putting out fires, vendor management and focusing on cost reduction. But I now work for the same organization as my client base, and face a higher expectation of finding the right supplier who has a proactive and forward methodology that meet the demands of a constantly changing industry.

That said, your efforts to gain my attention need to be factual, relevant, easy to read and consistent. I receive emails, take calls and meet with potential staffing partners on a daily basis and have compiled a list of “Dos and Don’ts” to help you avoid having your emails and business cards land in the trash — along with your one chance at my business.

Do your homework. I have received many emails stating, “I understand your business and ABC Company is an expert at …” However, this often is far from the truth, as their expertise is in a completely different direction or skill set than how we staff contingent labor. Understand the company’s business and the role of who you are contacting before sending an email.

Honest follow-up. After attending a conference or event, I receive emails saying, “I met you at the conference and we discussed …” when in actuality, I did not meet with anyone. Such contacts made under false pretenses suggest the relationship will be the same.

TMI. Listen to your sales training — there really is such a thing as too much information. Keep your correspondence short, sweet and worth my while to read. If you send all the information about your company in one email, why would I reach out to you to learn more?

Blanket emails. If you send a blanket email, please make sure you do not call me Mark — and again, make it relevant to my business.

Extending the truth/Ask permission. The email that put me off the most was from an organization that used my name, without permission, and claimed I told them to call all site users with the intent to try to gain leverage for new business. Be respectful of the managing and selection process of staffing partners. Contingent labor management is a streamlined process where such activity will be discovered. On a side note and needless to say, that aforementioned organization will not be considered for future business.

Be relevant. I am more apt to open an email that shares solutions or information that affects staffing. A link or shared article is ideal; downloadable presentations that require me to share my contact information loses its flair after the second time.

Ask — and listen. When you get to the next step, please listen and ask questions that show you are interested in helping solve challenges and not make the conversation about shift schedules and pay rates.

Tell a story. During your presentation, have facts to leave behind for later reference; however, we want to see how you solve a problem and hear stories of what you did that was out of the box. Processes are great and needed, but resolution will outweigh a process on any given day.

Lastly, sales professionals are told repeatedly not to stop at just one phone call or email — and that is true. Work load and travel schedules can be hectic and those who continue to reach out and follow up when requested will benefit. I have also noticed that after a conversation stating there are no needs at this time, most are never heard from again. Don’t stop, as it is true that the person who calls when the moment is at hand and continues to check in — respectfully — can and will benefit in the long run. Confirm when is a good time to connect and follow through as this is a testimonial to your follow-up skills and commitment to earn our business.