When you are looking for new ways to distinguish your firm, no matter what size you are, keep in mind that one of the keys to opening the door with prospects is to present them with competitive information. Every business owner, CEO or CFO is looking for the insider's perspective that will help them remain as leaders in their industry. When talking to Russ Molinar at E&Y, he always reminds me that one of their best marrketing tools are the "thought leadership" surveys they conduct. Often teaming up with a strategic partner who has a well-known name in a particular area, they will talk to business owners on topics of relevance - and then share the results with clients and nonclients. Nothing gets them into the "C" Suite as quickly as a call that says, "We'd like to come out and benchmark your company against the industry standards regarding some key performance indicators" (or something along those lines). May we take thirty minutes of your time to share some timely data that may help you be more profitable?"
You don't have to be a Big Four firm to conduct a survey - and even without a survey you have critical information at your fngertips, gathered from interactions with existing clients, reading industry publications, running First Research reports and reviewing other data that you have accessed to help you remain current with your clients' situation. Using that information, and your insights, to open the conversation enables you to add value immediately - you don't have to "sell" anything. The budding relationship, built on trust and value, will sell itself over time.