Finding and retaining the right clients is one of the greatest challenges of running a new temporary nursing staffing agency. The marketplace for temporary nursing services is very competitive.
This article covers proven ways to help you find clients. It’s intended for new and growing nursing staffing agencies.
1. Who is your perfect client?
Many new nursing agencies make the mistake of trying to serve every possible type of client. It’s understandable. The owner thinks this strategy increases their chances of finding clients and getting contracts. Unfortunately, this approach is wrong.
You have a better chance of success by focusing on a specific nursing niche that meets a market need. This strategy allows you to become an expert, build a reputation, and grow your agency. Here are some possible areas that you could specialize in:
- Physician offices
- Adult daycare centers
- Home health care services (Medicare-certified)
- Assisted-living facilities
Some of these areas have an overlap of required skills, but most don’t. That is why being a generalist is not a good strategy. Instead, focus on more than one niche where the skillsets overlap.
Limit the number of niches you serve to a few. This approach prevents you from overextending your firm and allows you to focus on your most effective areas.
2. Why is your agency better?
Examine your agency’s strengths carefully before contacting prospective clients. This assessment enables you to develop good answers to prospective clients’ typical but difficult questions.
For example, every potential customer will ask you why they should hire you instead of going with your competitors. Most new agency owners are usually intimidated by the question. They answer with generalities such as “Our service is second to none” or “Our staff is the best.”
The market is competitive, and those types of general answers won’t get you clients. Instead, focus on your strengths and list those. These strengths will vary depending on the niche that you focus on. Here are some possible strengths you can emphasize:
- 24-hour call service
- Industry knowledge
3. The methods
This list covers six methods to grow your nurse staffing agency. When used correctly, they help you sign clients and get contracts. The best strategy is to select a couple methods you think will work and then increase your efforts as you test the market.
a) Identify target clients
Identify a list of target clients who work in the nursing niche (or niches) you have selected. It’s important to be as specific as possible to avoid wasting time and resources. Once you have accomplished this task, build a list of businesses and individuals you can contact.
For example, a small nurse agency that works in physician offices may want to focus on offices of a specific size. Build your list with physician offices of this size only. Focusing on large regional practices may be counterproductive and put you in a position of being unable to fulfill their needs.
b) Promotional items
Most new nursing agencies waste precious resources on promotional items that end up in the trash. Instead, focus on items that will likely generate the most value.
These are items that your clients will keep in their offices and use. You can leave a few with every visit to ensure your company information is always handy. In general, branded office supplies are an effective choice.
Items such as pens and notepads with your logo and contact information are cheap to make in bulk. Most people will keep them around because everyone likes having such items handy.
At least initially, avoid items such as water bottles, branded clothing, and baseball hats. They are more expensive and take up a lot of space. In our experience, few clients use them.
c) Cold calling
Most business owners hate cold-calling prospective clients. This is understandable. Cold calling is difficult and takes a lot of work. However, it can also work well and be an effective tool to scale a new nursing agency quickly.
Cold calling works best if your caller list is very targeted. Contact facilities that you are certain will be a good fit for you. Also, be ready to explain why your nursing staffing agency is better than others.
Lastly, the objective of the cold call is not to get the other person to buy. That never works. Instead, you want to schedule an appointment to speak with the other person and explain how you can fulfill their staffing needs. Remember to take some promotional items that you can leave behind.
d) Use LinkedIn effectively
Most professionals keep a LinkedIn profile. LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding the decision-maker at the healthcare facilities you want to contact. LinkedIn also offers a premium service that allows you to email these contacts directly.
We think LinkedIn is a great way to create an initial contact at the facility. As with cold calling, your objective is only to set up a meeting to discuss your services.
e) Industry associations
Joining industry associations can be a great tool for growing certain niche areas of the nurse staffing market. We are referring only to the industry associations your target clients belong to.
Most associations allow affiliated industry memberships open to vendors. These memberships provide an opportunity to market to their primary membership.
For example, nursing agencies wanting to work with senior living facilities can join one of their local senior living facility associations. Most states have them, and they are a great way to make contacts. There are also national organizations you can consider if you want to increase your scope.
This advice does not apply to all verticals within the nurse staffing industry. You will need some research to determine if this works for you.
f) The US government
The US government buys many services year-round. They buy during good economic times and recessions. This consistency makes them an ideal long-term client.
Most of the hiring decisions for nurse staffing agencies are made by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Their bid requests are usually for the following:
Finding and getting government contracts usually takes time and effort. There is a lot of competition for these contracts because the government can be a great client. This is a great add-on strategy if you are near a Veterans Administration Hospital or care facility.
4. Clients pay invoices in 30 to 60 days
Most of your clients will want staff for their facilities quickly. However, they will pay your invoices in 30 to 60 days. This delay can affect your ability to grow.
Your nurse staffing company must be able to cover payroll and other expenses while waiting for payment. This wait is not a problem if your cash reserve is large enough. However, the delay can lead to problems if you don’t have a cash reserve or are growing quickly
a) Payroll financing
One way to solve this problem is to use factoring to finance your payroll. Factoring enables you to get an advance on invoices from reliable but slow-paying clients. The advance helps you cover payroll and other expenses. Factoring is typically used by new and small staffing agencies that have outgrown their cash reserves.
Lean more. Read “What is Payroll Financing and How Does it Work?”
Do you need payroll financing?
Does your agency need funds to make payroll? We are a leading payroll financing (factoring) company and can offer competitive terms. Click here for a quote or call us toll-free at (877) 300 3258.