Being a Solution Provider and Building Relationships

Last Thursday we took a trip to Middletown Connecticut to do a photo-shoot for one of our newest clients: A.R. Mazzotta. It was a lot of fun and great opportunity to spend time with the A.R. Mazzotta staff.

A.R. Mazzotta Logo - A Connecticut Staffing AgencyA.R. Mazzotta Employment Specialists is a staffing company that serves the state of Connecticut. They contracted us to develop their new website as well has to partner with them for their Digital Marketing. In the past few weeks we formulated the plan for new site and also started development.

Of course one thing every new website needs is quality images and photography. The President at ARM, Laura is fundamentally against using stock photos. You know, the photos that you can buy online that hundreds, maybe thousands of other companies are using. So, she wanted to use real photos of the company staff and employees.

One thing we always incorporate in our projects is a weekly status call. So while working on the planning stages of the website, I really started to get to know Laura’s and her company’s personalities. In this time I watched Laura go through two local professional photographers, without getting the quality of photos that she really wanted. Instead of just sitting and waiting until she found the right photographer or trying to push her to use stock photos, I decided to be proactive and take action.

Thinking outside the box to solve a client’s hard to resolve problem goes a looong way.

We don’t have an in house photographer, so I reached out to a photographer in our area: Matthew Lester. He travels around the country doing corporate photography. His niche is really recruiting material for universities. Recruiting for universities… a staffing company… I’ve seen a bunch of his work through social media and his site and I was sure he would be a good fit for ARM. One of the selling points besides the quality of his photos, is he also uses a special tool that syncs his camera to an iPad as he shoots. So we can see what the pictures look like as they are taken. This is something I think all photographers should use. No waiting, you can tell if the shots are working or not, right away. This excited Laura!

So we set everything up and headed to CT for the shoot. And guess what.. it went REALLY well! We managed to get all the shots we wanted and more. The client was at ease because they saw how good they were right away. Now with so many good shots, the hard part is choosing which ones should go on the site! I Can’t wait to see the finished product when the site launches.

“I really appreciate that you are solution driven. A perfect example is the photo dilemma.” Laura Pedersen – A.R. Mazzotta

This experience is not new for us and it embodies the philosophy of Blackbird e-Solutions. Thinking outside the box to solve a client’s hard to resolve problem goes a looong way. Even though we don’t typically do photography, being a solution is much, much better than waiting and letting the client get frustrated. After all sales and successful businesses are about building relationships. Not taking orders and dispensing a product.

Check out some “behind the scenes” pictures or our photo-shoot on Google+ or Facebook.

~~~ Just a disclaimer these are photos of Matt (Taken with a Samsung S4 phone), not by Matt. So don’t judge Matt’s skill by these photos. You can blame me. Haha ~~~

Photo-shoot with A.R. Mazzotta


A Story About the Catalyst Code

I read this book sometime ago, but was reminded of it recently when talking with a client. I was reminded of it again today when the same client told me he had taken my advice and read it! He pointed to his desk and said “can’t you see all my notes?” On his desk were stacks of notes, diagrams, printouts and calculations and he I could see his renewed belief in online advertising and interactive marketing.

My client, we’ll call him Steve (not his real name), is part owner of a staffing firm. They have a relatively simple business model. They have a range of companies as clients and they provide qualified people for these companies to hire. This could be for temporary positions, temp to hire or recruiting for permanent positions. Steve has been one of my clients for some time now, we help them with optimizing their website, some PayPerClick advertising, social media, website as well as other things.

His company has been around for about 20 years and has had the same challenges as many companies in staffing of that age. Speaking of age Steve is in his forties and although very progressive didn’t grow up with the internet like many younger generations. So, even though Steve and I have a pretty good relationship and he respects my opinion and ability, for a long time he didn’t have the buy in to really move forward and make online marketing a priority.

We have been monitoring and evaluating the analytics on Steve’s company website and slowly Steve saw the website producing job orders (Job order = companies requesting candidates they need to staff positions). Even without putting much effort into to the website.

You’re probably now wondering what this has to do with the book the Catalyst Code. Well, there were a few events working together here, but let me start by explaining a bit about the book. The main theme of the book is creating a business model that is two sided. On one side you have a group that has something of value and on the other side you have a group that wants the product, service or thing of value. The idea is to position your company in the middle as the vessel or catalyst that brings the two groups together.

There are some great examples of this in the web companies Amazon, eBay and Google. These examples are maybe some of the easiest to understand the concept and possibly the best example is eBay. Most people understand eBay’s model. On one side you have people who want to sell stuff and make a bit of money and on the other side are people who want to buy stuff at a good price. Put eBay in the middle to make it happen and you have a two sided business with eBay as the catalyst.

“How does this apply to Steve and the staffing firm?” You ask. If your not an internet company creating a software platform how do you create a two sided business? Like I said there were a few things working here. Steve saw a sales person that they were paying X amount of dollars that was being outsold by a web presence that was costing a fraction of the cost of the sales person. Now, enter Catalyst Code.

The book gives some good examples of companies much older than the internet itself: Diners Club, Visa/Mastercard. For example, Diners Club allowed customers to eat out now and pay for it later. Restaurants who accepted Diners Club knew they would attract those with Diners Club cards and have a guaranteed payment. I think this helps none tech companies understand they can use this model too.

Apply the idea of two business to staffing companies. They have companies that need quality people and they don’t have the time or resources to sift through all resumes they received from posting on a job board like Monster (another catalyst by the way) on one side. Then on the other side quality applicants getting lost in the piles of resumes going to these companies. Suddenly clicks. A staffing agency is a two way business! Is your business two-sided?

What’s the fastest and most efficient way to get to and interact with people. The internet! And in Steve’s case this was shown when comparing the sales person to the web presence. So, how do you take advantage of this? SEO, PayPerClick, Social Media Marketing

Want to read the book? Buy it from Amazon:

Blackbird e-Solutions to Attend Affiliated Staffing Conference May 6-7

On May 6-7 the Affiliated Staffing Group will be hosting their May meeting for members in Lancaster, PA at the Lancaster Convention Center.

We will be presenting to the group and discussing social media as well as website optimization with members of the group.

Looking forward to seeing TriStarr Staffing, Protocall Staffing and American Resource Staffing at the conference!

More about ASGroup:

The Affiliated Staffing Group is a Staffing Industry Association of non-competing, independently owned companies that wish to share systems and processes with like staffing companies. ASGroup is located throughout the United States with member offices in 27 states with over 140 offices coast-to-coast.