President Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.
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4 Ways to Let More People Know You're an Accountant

You know a lot of people, and many of them are potential new clients. But does everyone know what you do? Here are four simple ways to increase your visibility and advertise yourself.

Jan 6th 2020
President Perceptive Business Solutions Inc.
Columnist
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Years ago, we threw a party that attracted a large crowd. The living room was packed! Sitting alone in the center of the room on a three-cushion sofa was one lone guest. I said to my wife, “Apparently she mentioned to someone she works for the IRS.”

Accountants are not typically the lampshade-on-the-head, “look at me” type of people. It’s an analytical, numbers-based profession. It’s serious. It’s also a profession where you need a steady flow of new business. You can go after it yourself, but it’s a lot nicer when people come to you and say: “Can I become your client?”

According to the New York Times, the average American knows 600 people. You probably know more, because you have a client base. Let’s count them out. They already know what you do.

The people you know are in silos. Neighbors. Family. Extended family. Sunday services. Kid’s school. Neighborhood association. The gym. Businesses you patronize. College alumni. Commuters on the train. A fellow at the HQ of a major financial services firm had an interesting way of proving it: How many people attended your wedding? How many contacts in your phone? The challenge is getting the word out.

You are an accountant. You might have chosen the profession because you want to be as far away from sales as you can possibly get. Being faced with selling yourself is scary, demeaning or both.

Strategy #1: Try Talking

You need an elevator pitch, which is a short description of what you do. Who you help and how you help them sets the right tone. Asking about someone's profession is a natural part of most conversations. Prepare yourself with something succinct to say, and don't be afraid to bring the topic up yourself. You aren’t being pushy.

Strategy #2: Get Close to the Money

Are you a member of any non-profit organizations? Get connected to the finance committee and see if they need a new treasurer or the assistant. This way, more people will associate you with handling money. They will also credit you with honesty, because the organization is trusting you. This is an easy way to be showcased in front of an audience on a regular basis.

Strategy #3: Advertise Yourself 

You see people wearing clothing with a company logo all the time. If your firm doesn’t have a logo, get one! Make up polo shirts, tee shirts, umbrellas and ball caps. Think of yourself as a sort of walking billboard.

Strategy #4: Remeber You're a Client Too

You want local businesses as clients. Remember: You support local businesses yourself. Do all these business owners know you are an accountant? Once they know, they will probably start asking questions. Lawyers and doctors are often asked for free advice. Questions get the ball rolling.

You got into the accounting profession because you preferred working with numbers over selling to people. You don’t want to come across as desperate. These four strategies get your point across to a lot of people in a low-key way. 

One final thought on that party I mentioned earlier: A guest approached me and said: “You know such nice people. They all get along. How do you get that to happen?” I had a few drinks by this time, made an expansive gesture with arm and said: “Look around. Not a lawyer among them!”

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