Marketing

What's your professional firm's marketing strategy for cultivating referrals?

by Barbara Bix and Melissa Josephson Edwards Chances are your accounting firm gets a lot of its business from referrals:A current or previous client recommends your services.Colleagues in a complementary field recognize a need that you can address for their clients.A marketing consultant calls you because one of her clients heard you speak at a conference or read an article you wrote.
A&A

Seven ways to land new business by leveraging your client relationships

By Bruce Katcher, Ph.D.THE PROBLEM:Most professional service providers will tell you that their first clients were people they had worked with in the past who already had confidence in their skills and abilities. Many will also tell you that trying to sell to people they didn't know was much more difficult.The trick is to use the trust you have achieved with your clients to help you quickly establish credibility with new clients.Here are seven techniques for leveraging the faith that your clients have in you to land new business.
A&A

Five tips for communicating the real value of your services

By John DoerrAre You Different?In the course of my work with all manner of professional service firms, I hear a very common lament. "We are becoming a commodity. The prospects just seem to buy on price. We are really good. How can I possibly separate myself from the crowd?"My usual response is, "What can make you special? Why are you different?"
Technology

The Accounting Aisle expands its network

The Accounting Aisle has announced the addition of the 500th accounting firm to its network. The Accounting Aisle network matches small businesses with local accountants. The goal of the Accounting Aisle is to simplify the search process for the small business owner. The service was launched in 2007. Business owners that use Accounting Aisle to search for an accountant fill out an accounting request form on-line or over the phone. The request is then matched with local accounting firms that specialize in their needs. The matched firms provide the owner with proposals for services.
A&A

Buy before you buy: Getting paid for lead generation

By Mike Schultz and John DoerrFree is fine, but can I pay instead?Marketing is expensive. Especially when you sell complex products and services, your investments in brochures, Web sites, ads, direct mail, and PR can be steep. After all, you need to educate your prospects and seduce them with your solution and its benefits. This is a bit more involved than grabbing people's attention with a free sample for an impulse product like a cube of bubble gum with a gooey surprise in the middle.
A&A

Marketing core services and niche practices after Sarbanes-Oxley

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 turned six years old on July 30. One result of the many far-reaching effects of the legislation has been the growth of specialized practices in small and mid-sized accounting firms that auditors are prohibited from providing by the Securities and Exchange Commission's post-Sarbanes rules. The specialized services, called the niche practices, are designed to meet the needs of clients audited by larger firms, and have become an important focus for marketing in the smaller firms, in addition to their ongoing marketing of core audit and tax services.
A&A

Ramp up your brand - sledgehammers and service brand preference

By Mike Schultz and John DoerrSwing the HammerImagine the strongman game at the carnival. You lift the sledgehammer over your head and swing it down onto the platform. When it strikes the target, a metal cylinder rises up and up - 20 feet up the pole until it rings the bell. On its way down the pole the cylinder passes the same words it passed on the way up: strongman, tough guy, athlete, junior, and weakling.In a way, establishing a services brand follows a similar process.

Marketers Unite!

By Rob Nance, AccountingWEB PublisherThe first Association for Accounting Marketing (AAM) annual conference I attended was in 2001 in Toronto. Last week's gathering in San Diego was a stark contrast. Oh, sure, some things haven't changed, such as few CPAs in the mix. These conferences are outstanding opportunities for a firm's managing partner to accompany the marketing director they are sending. Hopefully, someday that will be the norm rather than the exception.Just as marketing, business development, and public relations have grown within our industry, AAM has grown too.
Practice

Managing the sales negotiation process

By, Michael SchatzkiHow many times have you heard:
Practice Management

Business Development: Resources to Use, Part 4: Hiring a Telemarketing Firm

For most accountants and CPAs, selling is often not a favorite part of the job. In order to develop and maintain a solid book of business, however, selling is a must whether you are a sole practioner, seasoned partner in a large firm, or a new associate.
A&A

Use online press releases to get prospects

Online press releases offer the ability to speak directly to a large audience that includes your best prospects and the media. The days of solely reaching the media alone via press release are over - press releases now have an extensive reach worldwide. Our featured guest in this episode of Small Business Trends Radio is Joe Beaulaurier, Interactive Marketing Manager, PRWeb. Joe discusses the benefits of using press releases to reach your best prospects. For instance, did you know that:Bloggers are - the new media.
Practice Management

Useful Resources for Business Development: Part 2: Public Relations Counsel

Public Relations' role in a CPA firm is larger than dealing with a crisis and media relations. For a CPA firm, effective Public Relations counsel provides proactive and measurable communication objectives to propel the firm forward and assist in business development.

Marketing to women takes center stage

Marti Barletta has been studying women as consumers since 1999, when she started the Trendsight Group, a consulting firm specializing in gender and marketing. She's a leader in articulating the importance of women as customers. In her book, "PrimeTime Women: How to Win the Hearts, Minds and Business of Boomer Big Spenders," Marti takes it a step farther.

It all boils down to marketing

By Allan S. Boress, CPA, CFEWhat are the biggest problems or concerns you have with your accounting practice?

The Friendship Strategy, by David Maister

Many firms claim that what distinguishes their organization is that their people are client centric and act like trusted advisors. However, few of these organizations, when they hire, have programs to select for these attitudes and skills and few have systematic programs to help their people develop them. An organization where everybody did have a consistently high level of friendship skills would truly achieve a differentiated strategy! David Maister uses the lessons of our personal lives to explore how the habits and skills of friendliness can be applied in a business setting.

Stand and deliver: Tips for exhibiting

Exhibitions are a great way for businesses to showcase their products and get up close and personal with potential clients. But in order to make the experience successful, and ultimately profitable, firms need to think about the message they are trying to convey. The cost of exhibiting can be a considerable sum for small businesses, so you want to make the most out of your investment.

AICPA Study: Online marketers miss more than half of e-ad responses

U.S. spending on online advertising is growing at more than 20 percent per year and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 15 percent through 2010. However, marketers are missing more than half of all responses.

Marketing yourself…Developing a personal brand

It is not only accounting firms that need to build a brand in order to be successful, but the individuals within the firm also need to commit to personal marketing. That means that you must market yourself - and you should realize how significant this is for you and your firm. Your brand is your promise, your image, your good name, and a way to distinguish yourself from others in your market. It is useful for you to have a personal brand that can work on your behalf, building your own career and reputation as a leader - at the same time as you are building loyalty for your firm.

Sales secrets: How to cherry pick your prospects

Many of us spend our time painstakingly researching who to ring in the cold calling process, only to 'filter' through them just as we're about to make the crucial call. Sales performance expert Andy Preston explains the underlying causes of this 'cherry picking' behavior, suggesting that sometimes the most unlikely call could be the one which results in big business.It is not unusual to find people beginning the cold calling process by trawling through their list of prospects, evaluating who to call and who to avoid.
Practice

Tips for that first call to a prospective client

Making that good first impression on a prospective client usually begins with a phone call, when in a few minutes you must identify yourself, show interest in the prospect's business and make an effort to establish rapport. Thank the potential client for taking the call and identify yourself, briefly, telling him or her whether you are making a call through a referral or as a follow up to an introduction at a business or social event.

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