On a recent Momentum call with a new client, I asked who he helps and how.
My client gave a great answer, but what he articulated didn’t align with his social media, website and promotional materials.
When he spoke to me, he talked about delivering transformations, but the information he gave his clients was all about technical accountancy services. This mismatch was costing him many ideal clients.
In order to attract a steady and predictable lead flow of ideal clients, you need to learn how to position yourself correctly.
Tactics and technical talk won’t help you get those high value clients you’re looking for because they’re seeking transformations. So what should you do instead?
Three Levels of Branding
Imagine you want to buy a pen.
Some people pay ten pence for a pen, others spend thousands of pounds. The pens ultimately do the same thing, so why the difference in price?
I want a pen to fill in a form. I don’t care about quality or my experience as a consumer. I simply need a pen as a means to an end, and then I’ll never think about it again.
I head to Poundland where I buy a sticky biro for ten pence, check the requisite boxes and then lose it forever in the bottom of my handbag.
(For those of you not from the UK, John Lewis is a lovely middle class department store.)
If I’m heading to John Lewis, I’m probably looking for a pen I’ll use more than once. I go up to the customer assistant, ask for a pen and they present me with an appealing selection. It’s a nice experience and consequently I’m happy to pay £10 for the pen, despite there being cheaper options elsewhere.
When I go to Harrods to look for a pen, it’s because I have money in my pocket and I’ve carefully considered this decision. It’s not a spur-of-the-moment thing.
I’m an educated buyer. I know the difference between a 10p pen and the thousand-pound pen I am about to invest in.
I walk up to the staff, tell them what I am looking for and they lead me over to a beautiful class cabinet. I can see the pen I want and my excitement grows as they unlock the cabinet and present it to me with a flourish, on a velvet green pillow.
At this point I am beyond excited. When I hear the price, I know that it’s worth every penny.
This pen is going to be with me for years. It’s going to glide across the paper and make me feel good every time I use it. It’s going to help me fit in with the crowd and make me feel confident. This is a symbol of all of my hard work.
I pay a thousand pounds for the pen because of how I am made to feel and how I want to be perceived by others.
In order to build a freedom practice, you need the kind of client who shops in Harrods.
In fact, the biggest struggle I see accountants, consultants and advisors face is getting clients to reach out and say “you are the one I want to work with!”
When this happens, you don’t have to go in for the hard sell and you certainly don’t get questioned on price. Instead, it’s “how much is it and what can we do together?
To get to this point, you need to learn how to position yourself as Harrods, rather than Poundland, in your ideal clients’ minds – and you can achieve this through Hollywood branding.
After all, branding is the biggest difference between the three pens I discussed above.
Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Who – who is an ideal client for you, who do you want to serve?
- Experience – your brand promise. Poundland are cheap, John Lewis are known for affordable quality and Harrods is high end, promising the best service and premium products.
- Feel – your brand personality. You need to be exclusive. If you take on fifty clients per month, you’re on the Poundland end of the scale. If you only have one slot per month, people will see you as aspirational and want to work with you all the more.
- Trust – your brand story. Share social proof and examples of how you have helped other people.
- Value – what do your clients get from working with you? Of course, in order to articulate value you need to be relentless about showing up and proving time and time again that you know what you’re talking about.
Summary: Be Seen As Elite
Ultimately, the secret to attracting a steady lead of high value clients who you just love to work with is positioning yourself as elite.
As an accountant, consultant or advisor you have valuable expertise to share. You’re capable of doing so much more than delivering compliance. You can create transformations and change lives – so start acting like it.
When you understand who your ideal client is and what their problems are you can create a transformational offer to relieve their pain. Beyond that, you need to make them feel good about working with you and deliver a premium experience from start-to-finish.
Avoid stack ‘em high and sell it cheap. It might work for Poundland, but it won’t work for you.