We get this question often from accountants who are looking to expand their client base and business advisory and brokerage service.
Approximately 400 accountants turned to us in 2020 hoping that diversifying into business advisory and brokerage service will enable them to give additional advice to prospects and clients, thereby making them stand out from the crowd and providing opportunities for strategies to improve business performance.
And they are right to perceive that marketing is the key to securing new clients. Whatever one is selling, the principles are always the same.
So, we start a discussion, NOT by making an RBSS Consulting Ltd sales pitch, because it may not work for them, but by asking them what marketing strategies they have carried so far to help in getting more customers. All had tried some of the following, and one had tried them all, (spending 3 years of profits in doing so).
Here’s what they told us, including the outcome for them: ·
Easy and free of charge. However, where do I get my contact base from to succeed in my business expansion strategies? The list brokers sold me databases reduced to a small number due to the GDPR compliance. They therefore became worthless and the overseas providers sold me junk.
If we try Companies House, we can get the contact information of all businesses in our area, such as Romford, Hornchurch, Upminster, Brentwood, Havering, Barking, Dagenham, Ilford, Stratford, London etc. However, only approximately 25% of such businesses have phone numbers or emails and these are usually ‘info@’ which will probably go into the prospect’s junk email box. Hence, too time consuming to clean them manually.
‘Spot the real business’. Everyone attending is an accountant, business consultant/advisor, venture capitalist, web designer, social media marketer, Independent financial adviser (IFA) etc. Often, we are all after each other’s client bases which often becomes a waste of time.
A specialist built me a contact base with a lot of new connections but no business enquiries so far. I send the odd post that gets a handful of likes but no further leads that will help grow my business.
A specialist created and placed some ads regarding my business ideas etc which resulted in several enquiries, all of which just wanted to know about compliance work pricing.
A specialist created and placed some ads and news for my business. Several enquiries were made, all of which just wanted to know about compliance work pricing.
Articles and blogs
o A business writer had some success in getting these placed. This proved good for profile but didn’t produce any business enquiries.
A web developer built a smart site on my behalf and highlighted my abilities to grow other businesses with their business growth plans and strategies and lined up search terms she thought businesses would use when searching for an accountant. We are now on Google Page 1 for ‘Accountants in Toytown’ and it results in enquiries. However, the first question asked is, “how much do I charge for compliance work, I’m just shopping around?” Then nothing.
I’ve supplied shirts with my logo to a junior football team and bought a sign on a busy roundabout which was expensive. It did get a few good clients initially – mostly school parents.
The business writer did some client write ups, which does impress the prospects. Yet, I can’t say it closed any sales in itself.
Very costly and a lot of business talk. It has brought the odd new client, but not worth the trouble.
Not enough of them respond to make it worthwhile.
I offered an Amazon discount voucher for introductions - very few have taken up the offer.
Loads of work and abandoned after a few months.
I don’t believe I would come across well enough. I’m no good at presenting.
Tried the above. I believe they ended up in the bin along with all the pizza, cabs, restaurants, window cleaners’ flyers as I didn’t observe any results from it.
Seminars and Webinars
Tried once and only 2 people showed up.
Talking to marketing consultants who want to change their practice name, design a new logo, and start again with a new website. This appears overwhelming, very expensive and with no guarantees of new revenue.
The bottom line
The results ranged from absolutely nothing (“because we used to get referrals”) to all of the above (“and now we’re broke, because nothing worked”). These accountants have spent a lot of money, mostly wasted, and therefore want to know what guarantees RBSS Consulting Ltd can help them in getting more customers! The truth is that its not that the marketing techniques above don’t work, its your offer that needs to be looked at. What are you the accountant actually offering the client.
Well…with almost 20 years’ experience of small business consultancies
…the overwhelming demand we encountered was “I need help to grow my business to get more customers and it’s urgent”. Before accepting the job, we learnt the importance of giving a FREE brief consultancy first to review their strategies to improve business performance. You can therefore book a free 30-minute discovery call.
We would then look at the rest of the business, reviewing their Business performance strategies, specifically customer retention (that is; product/service quality); operating efficiency; people productivity; profitability and cashflow.
Why look at everything? This is because a lack of sales was often the tip of the iceberg. There would be little point in getting more orders if the product was troublesome, systems inefficient, people incompetent, customers not paying, bank calling in loans etc.
After reviewing all of the above including their ways to improve business performance, we would often be left with the only choice of saying “we can help you, but only if you give us a year. If you don’t have a year, we’ll have to start with an overall survival strategy to buy the time to implement the right marketing and be able to properly service your customers”.
Why a year?
This is because that’s how long it takes a new business that does all the right things to get a flow of new customers. And in that regard, any business without new customers might as well be a new business with new business start-up plans, although it does have some advantages to help things to happen quicker.
The average buyer of a new service or product looks at it ten times over the course of six months before deciding, unless they are desperate (and does one really want desperate customers?).
The finding of good new customers does not happen quickly. You need a business that is operating effectively to take advantage of the orders when they do arrive and then please customers enough to order more, and tell their friends.
If you want to see this working and have 30 minutes to spare, RBSS Consulting Ltd will assess your practice for FREE as a demo. Book it here
Meanwhile, why did all those accountants fail with all their marketing? The recurring themes were:
1. No research into where/who their ideal client/customer is
2. Assumed knowledge of what they want
3. No pre-developed solutions that clients would be willing to pay for
4. Lack of a clear plan of how to reach, analyse, and help clients
5. Too many random marketing tactics (no clear business development plans ) 6. 6. Short-lived initiatives that were never embedded (the average trial period was 4 months)
7. Not focusing on and sustaining the few key things that really work
8. Not understanding the 12-month (marketing) rule and giving up too soon
9. No clear selling processes - it’s very different to marketing
RBSS Consulting Ltd has real-time proven solutions that has helped many businesses back on their feet before and during this coronavirus pandemic by helping them understand their business better with a Business Valuation, Performance and Health Check. You can read about a few of many of our clients testimonies in our real-life case studies.
Once an accountancy practice has mastered its own marketing in this way, it will be ready to sell this very same service to hundreds of new clients as a profitable diversification.
To discuss any of this with us, feel free to book it here