When I ask my students what their marketing strategy is, very often they tell me they haven’t got one.
I understand them really because when I started my accounting practice in 1996, I didn’t have a marketing strategy either.
Very often we don’t have a marketing strategy because it seems like something that is really complicated and time-consuming. After all, loads of people these days are getting marketing degrees and qualifications.
But sometimes people overcomplicate marketing.
I like to keep it simple.
Really, to create a great marketing strategy, there are only 3 things you need to do.
Who is your ideal client?
You need to know who that is - in writing.
Look at your best clients. What characteristics do they have? What sort of clients do you like working with. What size business? What kind of turnover? What industry? Where are they located? What are their personalities...
Tell me, what is your pricing strategy?
Oh, you haven’t got one?
Neither did I when I started my accounting practice back in 1996, and I made every mistake under the sun.
I didn’t have a pricing strategy, so the way I priced was crazy.
I wanted to grow my business, and I naively thought the best way to do that was to be the cheapest.
I’d deliver loads of value in meetings with prospective clients, then when they asked for the price I told them I’d think about it and let them know.
I’d ask for a copy of their last set of accounts telling them I would look for more tax saving opportunities for them. What I was really doing was flicking to the last page where it says ‘Audit and Accountancy Fees’, and checking what they were paying their previous accountant.
Then, I’d make my price LESS than the previous accountant.
In hindsight, this was totally crazy.
Most business owners will have never been faced with such a drastic situation.
They are probably feeling…
Not to mention the very real fear of losing loved ones.
You might be feeling the same things yourself.
It’s a really difficult time for business owners. Your help is going to be treasured by your clients, so here are a few quick tips on how you can be actively helping them...
I ran a full webinar on this recently - you can watch the whole thing here.
Here are a few things you can do to really help your clients through COVID19:
My students are constantly asking me how they can avoid scope creep, and there are a few things that I always tell them.
But before I tell you what those things are, just so we are on the same page, let’s start by covering what scope creep actually is.
Let’s say you agree to do some work for a client, and you agree on the fee you are going to charge, but then as you work through the project, it ends up taking you longer than you thought and you don’t actually make a profit on the job.
That’s scope creep.
Scope creep is when the work takes longer than you expect.
It’s partly a pricing issue, partly a project management issue.
I’m going to share with you a few ways you can deal with it.
You can’t deal with your scope creep until you have identified what is actually causing it.
There are essentially 4 main types of scope creep:
Do you ever feel so overwhelmed, with so much going on that you are not sure what to do next?
That comes from a lack of clarity.
I thought I would share in this blog, how you can get that clarity back.
To get your clarity back, there are 5 things you need to get in place…
You need to be really clear on what your vision is.
What are you trying to achieve in your business? What will your business look like when it is ‘done’? When you are ready to retire and sell, what does your business need to look like?
Write it down.
How big will it be? What do the profits look like? The turnover? Where will it be located? Will there be multiple offices? How many employees? What will the business be doing? What kind of customers will you have?
You need to really carefully think about what your business will look like when it’s ‘done’.
But, this vision is probably...
‘I struggle with selling! I don’t know what to say to new clients.’
The issue accounting professionals have with ‘selling’, is the wrong mindset. We think that to be good at selling, we need to have good selling techniques, we need to have good ‘closing’ techniques. But that’s not actually necessary.
A while back I read a book called ‘Spin Selling’ by Neil Rackham. If you haven’t already read it, I highly recommend you add it to your reading list.
In this book, Neil conducted a huge study into the results from sales processes. One of the things he found, was having special closing techniques did not significantly change the outcome.
That reassured me a lot because I’m really not a fan of overly ‘sales-y’ closing techniques. I’m sure you feel the same.
So how do we sell?
One of my mentors Peter Thompson taught me something a few years ago. He said...
If a prospect is contacting you only because they want some information, and you have valuable content that positions you as an expert, why wouldn’t you share that with people?
This is a great chance for you to demonstrate your expertise and show your value.
However, if a prospect is calling because they want to know your price, that is a different issue.
If someone is simply asking for a price, it is a red-flag. This person is likely to be focused solely on the price of the service - they are a price shopper and only want the cheapest service.
These types of people never appreciate the value you can provide and will always be problematic when the time comes to pay the bill. They are not worth your time.
You don’t have to take on every single client that contacts you. You should only take on the clients that are right for your business.
You should absolutely...
I got an email recently that completely blew my mind.
When I saw it, I couldn’t believe what Carla was telling me…
I was absolutely astounded by this result. Not only had Carla got an incredible 6-figure fee, but she had done it only one month after discovering value pricing, on her first attempt, in just 2 hours with the client!
I had to reach out to Carla to find out exactly how she achieved this amazing result. She agreed to an interview. It’s 29 minutes of pure gold! I suggest you watch it now.
Carla started her bookkeeping practice small, by herself, from her house.
She struggled with the amount of work, and couldn’t make a decent profit because she was still using hourly billing.
She wanted to be able to help her smaller clients so started hiring people to help, but things didn’t improve right away.
Carla found that, because she was using hourly billing, all her...
I recently broke my arm in a cycling accident.
I was in a sling for a few months and I was using the NHS’s physiotherapist to try and get some movement back. Eventually, I decided to speed the process up by using a private sports physiotherapist.
I was recommended to a guy named Mark, so I booked a session for an hour.
At no point did Mark inform me of what the price was. I had a vague idea because my friend had recommended his services to me, but Mark hadn’t actually told me anything.
It wasn’t until I sat down in Mark’s office that I noticed a sign on the wall that said:
“Please note my charge is £30 per session.”
At the bottom of the page was a date. The date was 5 and a half years ago.
I thought this was absolutely crazy. This physiotherapist had not changed his hourly rate for 5 and a half years!
Seeing this sign was the first time I had any idea of the price. I could have had one of two thoughts. Either…
Last week I shared the top 3 things I would change if I could start my business again.
But I have so many more tips to share, I thought I would write another blog with 4 more things to avoid when starting up your own practice…
One of the most powerful ways to grow your firm and your brand is through content marketing.
Creating and sharing content is essential to showing your potential customers your ability and value.
This could involve writing a blog (like the one you’re reading now), or filming some videos. You may even write an ebook.
It’s so easy to distribute your content nowadays with social media. When you share lots of valuable content, you are increasing people’s awareness of you, and they will start to see you as the expert.
When you are seen as the expert, people will want to work with you.
I never used to have any kind of database of leads,...