Why Recruit CRM is the best Bullhorn alternative

Kate O’Neill on how to build strong client relationships for long-term success

“While focusing on short-term, quick-win outcomes sometimes works, the key to long-term success with clients is creating fruitful partnerships.”

Kate O’Neill
Director, Kate O’Neill Coaching
Kate O’Neill on how to build strong client relationships for long-term success


As a Trainer and Coach, the one thing I get asked to support consultants with the most is their business development. For some reason, we put this side of our role on a HUGE pedestal. 

What it boils down to a lot of the time is people devaluing or missing the importance of the relationship and taking a more tactical and transactional approach. 

The focus tends to be on short-term, quick-win outcomes, e.g., what’s in it for me NOW. 

And, yes, sometimes that works, and we get a bite, BUT the key to long-term success is creating partnerships

Building powerful partnerships

Creating long-lasting client relationships doesn’t happen overnight and requires a more strategic approach. 

If we think about our closest and most valued connections in life (like our friends), they are ones that have grown and flourished over time. 

These meaningful relationships have taken effort, required an investment of time and energy, and most importantly, we’ve tried to truly get to know and understand each other. 

All in all, we end up enjoying each other’s company; it’s a pleasurable experience. 

If we relate that to the recruitment world, we can summarize it into three areas: ensuring effective communication, seeking to understand them and their needs, and delivering exceptional service. 

Let’s take a closer look at these!

1. Effective communication

We are taught very early on in our lives that we should always “treat others how we want to be treated.”

Now that’s great IF the person we’re trying to build a relationship with likes to be treated the same way as us. But 9 times out of 10, they don’t because they’re different

When it comes to building strong client relationships, it’s about treating others how they need to be treated. To bring this to life let’s relate this to our BD outreach. 

I prefer speaking to people on the phone, so I call every single one of my prospects day in and day out. Now, some of these prospects may be similar to me and react well to me calling them. 

Others from that group may initially prefer a more formal approach, such as an email to book a time to speak. 

Effective communication with prospective clients in ways they prefer and feel comfortable with will help your relationships grow much quicker.

Read more: Your guide to crafting a powerful recruitment communication strategy

2. Seeking to understand

This is very important when we’re trying to bring on and develop new clients. 

How do we do this? We ask questions. 

Always be inquisitive and leave no stone unturned; if something doesn’t make sense, ask about it. 

Understand them as people, not just their team or organization. You can do that by asking rapport-building questions. 

One big tip: Stick to open-ended questions as much as possible. You will get a lot more information from the client, and it helps people who are naturally more reserved open up and feel comfortable.

3. Delivering an exceptional service

Going back to the friend analogy I used earlier, if we treated our friends poorly, they wouldn’t be friends with us for very long, and rightly so! It’s no different with our clients. 

Delivering exceptional service encompasses many things, but I’ve always tried to remember that I stay true to my word, treat people with respect and kindness, and aim to meet their needs. 

Also, become part of their team– make them feel like you are part of the furniture. 

That is when your clients will feel like they are getting a huge amount of value from working with you!

You might also like: How to get clients for a staffing agency? 13 solid strategies


Kate O’Neill

Kate O’Neill is a dedicated recruitment coach and behavioural profiling specialist with over three years of experience running her business Kate O’Neill Coaching

She is passionate about partnering with agencies who want to do recruitment the right way; providing a high quality service without cutting any corners. 

Kate offers tailored coaching and training to her clients and empowers agencies and their teams to understand and leverage individual strengths for sustained success and improved performance. 

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