Do You Personally Connect to Clients Enough? Maybe Not??

As a marketing professional, I am typically focused on helping my firm with our global marketing efforts. These include using the website,blogs and Twitter, while also creating print materials, scheduling events and publishing articles, newsletters and white papers. These are all good things to do.

But I want to be sure that as you, too, consider all the exciting marketing communication tools at your disposal, you don't overlook the most critical of all: personal attention.

Clients who come to us from other firms usually say they are making a change because they are not being well-treated. They are not made to feel special, there is no proactive outreach, no consistent show of concern.

While your marketing initiatives are important for building recognition and enhancing your reputation as a go-to firm, developing a positive brand in key niches or markets, the most important way to drive business owners and CFOs to seek you out and to remain with your firm over time is through the relationship you build together. If you are going to proudly become their "most trusted advisor," you have to earn that title by delivering excellent technical skills along with investing personal time and attention to their needs.

They require business and financial solutions - and they expect that advice to come from you. When you are seriously "absent" from a relationship, your newsletters, e-alerts, and relevant articles cannot suffice. They are terrific add-ons; they are great reminders that you are leaders in your profession; they are an efficient platform for sharing meaningful information and educating clients - but at the end of the day, they want to hear from you. They want a phone call. They want a personal email. They want to know you are thinking about them, about their situation, and you are considering options that will help them maximize their opportunities.

I am delighted - as a marketing professional and a growth strategist - to see firms of all sizes embrace formal marketing programs but I caution you all that while your clients appreciate access to resources and information, they also appreciate access to YOU. You don't have to always wait for them to call with a question; sometimes you can try calling them with an idea! If you think you don't have time to do this consistently, be aware that your competitors do! Good luck.

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Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, will lead a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

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