You want to grow your accounting practice. The object is to move it upmarket. Adding senior executives makes sense because people with complicated compensation plans need serious tax advice. If you are in a major metro market, there’s a steady flow moving into the area. How do you get started?
It starts with Identifying Them. Your local business journal will have a “People on the Move” section. The major daily newspaper with a decent business section has a similar section. These publications should be available online. The information should be fresh.
Understand what’s going on in their head. As a senior executive, they have been relocated by their firm. They might be a competitive hire. They need to make lots of decisions very quickly. These include where to live, the best private schools for their children and the right country club. They need advice, yet will be cautious. They want to make these decisions quickly, putting this behind them. They need to hit the ground running in their new role at the company.
The next step is Contacting Them. The best strategy I found originated in the financial services industry. Every major city has a magazine bearing its name. Once a year they usually publish a “Best of” edition listing top ten neighborhoods, private schools, country clubs, etc. The advisor would buy a stack.
He would prepare a cover letter welcoming the executive to the city and explaining the magazine should be useful. He indicates he will be calling in the future.
He sends the package by Overnight Mail to the executive’s office.
Here’s why the strategy works:
- The executive needs impartial data on where to live, quality of schools, etc. The people he might ask either don’t have the full picture. Realtors might have an interest in selling their own listings. The magazine is more impartial.
- Overnight Mail still conveys a sense of urgency. The screener and executive should remember it.
- Having the data enables them to decide what they want, saving them an enormous amount of time. The magazine is of tremendous value.
- Many competitors don’t want to spend money. E-mail has virtually no cost. Letters are cheap. Theirs gets lost in the volume. The overnight mail approach is unique.
After about a week, the sender calls the executive’s office and encounters their screener or assistant. They explain they were the sender of the magazine by overnight mail. It’s highly likely the screener remembers. Mentioning the same two details, they explain to the executive you are calling. Since you have provided something of value, it greatly increases the chances they will agree to a scheduled call or meeting.
Another approach is to utilize LinkedIn to scan your 1st level contacts for contacts working at that firm. Ask each one individually, ideally on the phone if they would provide an introduction: “This is the type of person I would like to meet” or “the type of person I may be able to help.”
If they have a high professional opinion of you, they may see the value of providing the introduction.
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, Captivating the Wealthy Investor, can be found on Amazon.com.