Hiding Behind Your Accounting Credentials
Hoping they will bring you more clients?
In the words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?”
It’s a well-known “secret” that professional accountants find marketing something close to voodoo and often actually recoil from anything that smacks of sales.
At the same time, ambitious professionals of all sorts, including accountants, look proudly at their progress as measured by the designations that follow their names. They add them to business cards and on the letterhead of the company and even on the front door of the office – and consider them “marketing.”
The problem: unless you’re with the government (!) . . .
Prospects are not looking for accounting designations.
As you have surely discovered, most people outside the profession don’t even know what the various initials stand for!
What people are looking for is . . .
Someone to help them with their personal problems.
They know what their problems are, but most likely do not – in fact CAN not – describe them in professional accounting terms. So for them, the more “professional” you appear, the less secure they are about being able to get your help!
On the other hand, if your marketing makes it clear that you understand and solve problems just like theirs – your chances of landing new clients go way up!
The right marketing plan, systematically laid out and faithfully executed, helps define those problems, determine where people with those problems are to be found, and directs them to you.
How to build that marketing plan is a whole other topic. In this space, let’s stick with misconceptions.
Professional sales are subtle and conversational.
So, take professional sales. Professional sales are subtle. Far from anything resembling aggressive promotion, professional sales can be described as “consultative” and “solutions oriented.” Sometimes referred to as “question-based selling,” a professional sale for accountants is really a managed conversation that discovers the client’s perceived problems and finds solutions to them.
This can often be accomplished without any use of accounting jargon, and certainly without reference to any certifications!
Professional marketing is focused on the client, not on you as the accountant.
As for marketing, think of it as a magnet or “gravitational pull” that is designed to draw people to your business. The Marketing Plan begins with a careful analysis not of who you are, but of what kind of clients will make a good, long-term fit for the practice.
The strategy that results will be designed to locate and attract inquiries from these carefully-targeted prospects. The plan also includes the step-by-step communications designed to convert prospects into clients.
Throughout, the marketing plan focuses on the needs of the prospect or client.
If your plan has been focused on getting yet another set of initials after your name . . . it’s time to take another look.
The Marketing Machine®
P.S. How many of the designations in the graphic can you name?
P.P.S. If some of these observations make you wonder if your marketing plan is doing its job, take a look at what’s in Strategic Marketing Plan. We wrote this ebook for professionals like you who may have finished the first draft of their marketing plan but want to be sure it clearly promotes what makes the practice unique. It has a companion book just on marketing tactics — to help you pick the tactics that complement your practice and are most likely to result in new business.