In a recent conversation that I was having at the Association for Accounting Marketing with some members of the Japanese press, the comment was made that the typical CPA firm in Japan is quite small by U.S. standards. They do not currently embrace the concept of marketing quite the way we do, and as small firms, they don’t think our marketing tactics are applicable.
That got me to thinking about how small firms do add value – and how they communicate their attributes to the business community.
Clearly, small firms offer hands-on attentiveness that many large firms cannot manage in a cost effective manner. The smaller firms have technical expertise and business knowledge – but they do not have the deep staff that is more common to regional and national firms. For the client, it is a trade-off, and many middle market business owners prefer the strong relationship that small firms can deliver.
But how do you market the benefits small firms have? Word of mouth referrals – especially from existing clients – go a long way toward generating new leads. How many of you focus on existing clients? We expect our leads to come from bankers and attorneys and perhaps even other CPA firms, but we take for granted the power of our own clients. The next time you have the opportunity, just ask a client if he or she has someone to introduce you to – maybe a customer of theirs, a vendor, or even a good friend. I bet there is someone they know that you should meet!