You’ve finally made the jump and started your accounting firm. But now the real hard work starts. You’ve got to land your first sales to get the firm up and running.
Starting your own accounting firm is a huge milestone in your career.
For years, you’ve worked away as a technician. You’ve given other firm owners your time and expertise, which has only made them more successful.
Finally, you’ve struck out on your own and you’re ready to make your mark…
And you’ve realised just how scary that can be.
Right now, you’ve got a brand-new firm that doesn’t have many clients. And those that you do have are likely people who have already worked with you. That means you haven’t made any actual sales yet. You’ve just leveraged your talents as a technician to get the business off the ground.
That needs to change.
You’re not a technician anymore. You’re a business owner and it’s your job to create the systems that will lead to your firm’s success.
That’s what Alastair Barlow learned when working with Oompf Global:
“So working with [Oompf Global] today, we’ve completely transformed the way in which we approach marketing and we’ve started to look at an entire marketing strategy…”
To nab those sales, you’ve got to get out of the technician’s mindset and into the business owner’s mindset. Creating an effective sales process is one part of that transformation. And with these tips, you’ll create the process that lands your first sale.
Tip #1 – Focus on Conversations (As These Will Turn Into Conversions)
Many first-time business owners start out by trying to do a lot of marketing and sales work. They share content on social media and constantly pitch their services to anybody who will listen.
But that’s not actually a very efficient way to go about it.
If you’re constantly pitching with your content, you’re not creating room for conversations. You’re not allowing the people who see that content to digest it and build a connection with you.
Instead, you’re giving the impression that the only reason you’re providing any content at all is to land a sale. You’re trying to push that sale to the point where you seem desperate.
Prospects can sense that desperation and they’ll run in the opposite direction.
Your goal when selling is to focus on starting conversations.
You want to encourage your prospects to talk to you about their problems. You want to engage them as people before you engage them as potential clients.
Now, that’s not to say you never make a pitch. Eventually, you’ll make an offer that the prospect will either accept or refuse.
But if you make that offer right out of the gate, they’ll almost always say no. They don’t know anything about you or what you can do. They’re not engaged with you. And they certainly don’t trust you.
When trying to make your first sales, focus on building relationships with your prospects. Let them see that they matter to you as more than just potential revenue statistics.
It’s those conversations that will eventually lead to conversions.
Tip #2 – Identify Your Niche
A lot of new accounting firm owners don’t want to niche their practices, especially when they haven’t yet made their first sale. They want to offer a little of everything, because they think casting a wide net will be more effective.
If you do this, you may very well get that first sale…
But the client might be entirely wrong for your firm.
Establishing a niche doesn’t mean that you need to put all of your eggs in one basket. Instead, it means that you need to establish a hunting niche.
What do we mean by this?
Your firm can still offer a wide range of services. But when it comes to your marketing, you need to establish a specific audience to target.
This means that you run your marketing campaigns around your ideal client.
This client is the person who has the problems that you’re well-placed to solve. And that means they’re more likely to buy from you – because you can help them to heal their pain.
Start by establishing your ideal audience for your marketing campaigns. That will help you find your first few clients. From there, you can decide if you want to niche your entire practice or if you should cast a wider net.
Tip #3 – Create a Great Lead Magnet to Attract People to Your Firm
A lead magnet is a piece of free content that you give away in exchange for something from the client. Typically, it’s an email address that you can plug into your CRM for future marketing campaigns.
The key to creating a great lead magnet is to make sure that it offers something of value to the prospect. Yes, it can feel a little painful to give something useful away for free. But by doing it, you’re showing the prospect that you understand their problem and can offer solutions.
You need to think of the bigger picture.
Giving away a piece of content now gives you an email address that you can send marketing messages to in the future. Ultimately, it’s those email campaigns that will engage people and pull them through your sales funnel.
Eventually, some of the people who downloaded your lead magnet will convert into clients.
As for what you should offer, there are many types of content that can make good lead magnets. These include the following:
- Checklists (such as an end-of-year tax checklist)
- How-to articles
- Templates that the prospect can use in their business
If it’s something that has value, it’s generally a good lead magnet. Just make sure you’re not using something you’re going to charge for once the prospect becomes a client.
Tip #4 – Develop an Attractive Marketing Message
While marketing is a different department from sales, they are very much linked. The quality of your marketing will determine how many leads you attract. And if your marketing isn’t getting you any leads, you can’t make any sales.
That means you need to make your marketing message as attractive as possible. Here are five steps that will help you along:
Identify your ideal client so you can craft a message that specifically appeals to them.
Learn about your ideal client’s specific problems so that your marketing can confront the issues they face.
Remove all jargon and technical language from your marketing. You want to speak to your prospects in a language that they understand.
Show them why your accounting firm is the right one for them. This means doing more than just telling them what you do. Show them reviews and testimonials from the people you’ve helped.
Explain why you do what you do. You have to show prospects that you’re in this for more than just the money. There has to be a deeper meaning behind your message.
Tip #5 – Remember That Referrals Aren’t Your Only Option
Referrals are a great way to attract business, especially for a new accounting firm.
The problem we see with this is that many firm owners rely solely on referrals. They hope that their clients will keep recommending them so they can keep business flowing.
But what happens if you have a slow month for referrals?
Now, you have a firm that’s in famine mode. You have no leads coming in, which means you can’t make any sales.
The issue with referrals is that you have very little control over them. While you can offer incentives to existing clients, you can’t force them to recommend you if they don’t want to.
As such, relying on referrals to make sales means you’re always at the mercy of somebody else. You’re taking a passive approach to getting new clients that won’t serve you when the referrals dry up.
So, the important lesson here is that selling involves taking an active stance. Employ every channel that’s available to you, rather than relying on one that you have little control over.
Tip #6 – Avoid the Vampire Clients
We know how it feels when you’ve gone a little while without making a sale.
You start to worry about where the next client will come from. Slowly but surely, you relax your standards when it comes to marketing. Instead of targeting your ideal client, you target anybody who will listen.
That desperation to make a sale leads to vampire clients coming into your firm.
A vampire client is a client who sucks the life out of you. No matter what you do for them, they always want more. And usually, they don’t want to pay for it. They know you need their business, and they’ll take advantage of that to drain as much out of you as they can.
Avoid those clients like the plague!
You get those types of clients when you try to sell to anybody who will take your offer. While waiting for your ideal clients can be painful, it’s not as unpleasant as having vampire clients who drain the life out of you.
Become the Accounting Business Owner
These tips all help you to do one key thing…
Establish a sales process that lands you the right types of clients.
Creating this process may require a little patience on your part. You may not make your first sale immediately
But over time, you will create a process that results in a consistent flow of the right types of clients. And when that first sale comes, you’ll appreciate the fact that the person you sell to isn’t a vampire client.
P.S. When you are ready to have more TIME, increase your PROFITS and catapult your IMPACT here is how you can get help and increase your superpowers:
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