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Once you have created a website with a blog platform upon it, it’s time to start generating blogs/articles. One of the common misconceptions is that you need to be an amazing writer.

Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if you can write blogs that connect with your reader, you will already be 20 steps ahead of your competition. Connection is the key to relationship building.

You are told to write blogs for many reasons: Search engine optimisation, expert positioning, information to share on social media, client generating marketing etc. Whilst all of these reasons are pertinent, the best way to approach blogging/article writing is from a “Relationship First” approach.

This Relationship First approach will affect the kind of information you share with your prospects/clients. It will affect how you write. It will also affect the success of your blog/article writing. When you approach your content marketing (blogging/article writing) from a Relationship First approach, you start to understand that it isn’t a quick fix answer to client generation, but a longer game.

Will You Marry Me?

Imagine you walk into a bar, and in that bar, there is an attractive looking woman (or man) and you get a vibe that she is your kind of person.

You are looking for a wife/husband so that you can grow your family, and decide that as they look like the right fit you will ask them to marry you.

How do you see this scenario panning out?

They are likely to throw a glass of something over you. It is the wrong way to start a relationship.

Will you buy my services?

Imagine you walk into a networking event, and over by the breakfast buffet is a person who looks like they will be an excellent client for you. They work at the right kind of company, and you have heard that they have a good turnover and are an ideal client.

You are looking for more clients so that you can grow your firm, and decide as they look like the right fit, you will ask them to buy your services.

How do you see this scenario panning out?

They are likely to tell you to go scratch.

It is the wrong way to start a business relationship. Whilst many accounting firms understand this, their online marketing reeks of this “buy from me” approach.

So how do we move away from the “buy from me” approach and move into the “Relationship First” approach?

Just like when you meet someone face to face for the first time, you have to get to know the person you are talking to. This means asking questions, understanding who they are, what they like/dislike. Your time is spent listening (one hopes) and remembering what you hear for the future.

The Middle Name Test

I remember watching a film last week and in it, the girl (Louise), knew that the boy (Karl) she was dating wasn’t right for her. She used what I have now coined as “The Middle Name Test”.

Karl was very selfish and didn’t really care about her. They had been together for a long time, but still he didn’t know her middle name.

He didn’t really know her fears and frustrations, and what kept her up at night. He was only interested in what he could get from the relationship. Then along came boy number two (Andy). Straight away he spent time listening to her, and understanding who she was and the pain she was going through.

Within a few days he knew more about her than Karl, purely because he had listened. And he even remembered her middle name. This scenario is exactly the same as marketing.

Many of your potential clients are already with another accountant. They are ok, they feel a niggle, it’s not perfect, but they are so used to being with their current accountant that they just plod along.

But then your firm comes along.

You understand the power of listening when building relationships. In fact, you have been listening to companies just like this one and totally know their pains and fears. If you were tested you would know their middle name. Because you care.

When Andy saw Louise he knew he had to play the long game to court her and get her to leave Karl and become her boyfriend. However, he started the relationship before this moment.

Andy had quick passing conversations with Louise that was a little like chit-chat. Andy was there if she wanted consoling and a cup of tea. Andy would listen to what her problems were. Andy would offer words of encouragement and solutions to her pain. Andy was there no matter what and was in it for the long game.

He cared. He showed he cared.

When Lousie had her “aha” moment Andy was ready to move the relationship to the next level.

Let’s compare this to a scenario for your firm.

Humphrey Plumbing has an accountant.

Mark, the owner of Humphrey Plumbing is a very busy and stressed out man. He spends his life providing quotes for clients, and running his small team and balancing his business with his family.

His biggest pain is cash flow, purely because of the big outlay he has to part with when purchasing materials and paying wages. His current accounting firm speaks to him at year end and completes the forms necessary for corporation tax.

Mark wishes he could get to grips with his books and make his profit and cashflow more stable. Mark was sitting in bed on a Saturday morning enjoying his cup of tea and scrolling social media.

Whilst on social media he comes across a blog “How to improve cashflow in your plumbing company”. It was written by AccountingForPlumbers.com Mark enjoyed this blog so started to read some others he found on the website of this new accounting firm.

It was literally full of great advice to help him grow his plumbing company. This was the start of his new relationship with his future accountants. Mark was very impressed with this new accounting firm.

He grew to trust them and downloaded more information from their website, he followed their social media accountants, and set up a meeting. 3 months later Mark had left his original accountants and moved his business over to Accounting For Plumbers.

So what is the moral of this story? All good relationships start with listening.

Just like Andy cared for Louise, you need to care for your prospects. Plumbing For Accountants helped Mark overcome his pains through providing helpful and useful information. This is the approach you need to take to help your ideal client.

This starts with understanding who your ideal client is. And then creating content for them.

To take the first step you need to create a client persona so you can understand the fears, frustrations, wants and aspirations of the ideal potential client. This process is covered in the article here.

P.S. When you’re ready… here are 3 ways we can help you with marketing and growing your accounting practice:

1. Grab free copy of my book
It’s the roadmap to attracting better prospects, signing higher value clients and scaling your accounting firm. – Click Here

2. Take the test.
It will benchmark your firms ability to effortlessly attract, connect  with & convert high value clients using the Pioneering Practice Scorecard. – Click here

3. Join the tribe and connect with firms who are growing too.
It’s our new Facebook community where ambitious founders, owners, and partners learn to attract better prospects, sign higher value clients and scale their accounting firm. – Click here