One of the partners at our firm was hunting around in his attic for some documents and discovered some marketing forms from his prior life, dated 1989. Well, you would think a lot has happened since then, right? We have new technology, websites with flash, e-mail blasts, interactive electronic newsletters, and glitzy, clever ad campaigns - all designed to help our firms build their brand.
What I found fascinating was that the really important emphasis - on building meaningful and relevant relationships - remains unchanged. In a memo dated December 5, 1989 sent from the Management Group regarding "Year - End Tax Planing" it reminded the CPAs that they would be expected to use the opportunity to talk to clients about year-end planning and other services of the firm. While the word "cross-selling" didn't appear anywhere, the message was clear. And in another memo dated August 14, 1989, partners were asked to supply names of lost clients and unsuccessful proposals for follow up. Still another memo askedeveryone to sign up for a committee at a local Chamber or nonprofit to increase their exposure in the community.
The innovative, cutting-edge ideas that we still use today in order to remain in contact with lost clients and lost opportunites were the same as we used twenty years ago. And the client retention and cross-selling ideas that we use today were just as popular twenty years ago as well. And the idea of joining groups and getting involved that we practice today are the same as we did twnety years ago.
It is a humbling lesson to be reminded that while much changes - and we need to take advantage of all the newest initiatives - what has remained the same throughout the generations is the core of our approach: a focus on listening to clients and serving them well by addressing their needs and not promoting our own agenda.
Relationships are the heart of every sucessful marketing plan. Good luck during tax season!