Sell Yourself As If Nobody Else Will

Referrals are critical to the success of your accounting service.

However, it’s important that, when you’re talking to a prospective client either face-to-face or on the telephone that you don’t rely on the flattering comments made by the person that referred you but instead sell yourself along with your services.

As accountants, we are often conservative by nature and as a result of this, selling ourselves seems awkward to most. It doesn’t have to be that way – we are all natural sales people when it comes to things we are interested in.

There are some basic rules to follow to simplify this daunting task. If mastered, you can achieve a fast track to success.

Well known broadcaster, Larry King, in his Nightingale-Conant audiotape series, indicates that everybody is always selling something – yourself, your education and your experience and expertise. You want to be most proficient at selling yourself as you’ll never sell any product as important.

He has the following advice to help us all become more proficient in selling ourselves:

1. Show the prospective client what you can do for them. Don’t sell the features rather sell the benefits (see the article on our website “Sell the Sizzle, not the Steak”). You can achieve this by listing the improvements you will make to their business and how it will bring them greater profits. It’s also beneficial to bring details of the prospective client’s business into the conversation so they can relate better to the improvements.

2. Be your best self. It’s essential that you maintain an open attitude and illustrate your enthusiasm.

3. Preparation is always the key to success. There’s a lot to be gained from listing all the points that you want to raise and to rehearse your answers to all the perceived questions you feel the prospective client will ask – especially the difficult ones.

4. Intelligent questions about the client’s business are welcome. They show two things – that you’re prepared and that you care.

To be successful we need to be able to master the art of conversation and being comfortable in conversation is a vital ingredient for success in this pursuit.

You don’t often get a second chance to impress therefore it’s important that you make each meeting a winner in selling yourself without going over the top.

Learn to ‘Sell the Sizzle, Not the Steak’

Learn More Ways to Market Your Accounting and Bookkeeping Skills

Use Local Newspapers to Market Your Business

In many instances the Letters to the Editor component of a local newspaper represents the most-read section of the publication and yet it is often overlooked as an opportunity for business promotion.

Why are the letters to the editor so well read? They provide solutions to problems, take a stand and enlist support for a new concept or merely allow a reader to get something off his or her chest.

Letters to the editor are not restricted to newspapers. There are similar opportunities for you also in consumer and accounting magazines.

The advantages to your business in the form of a letter to the editor include:

  • It represents an inexpensive way to reach your target market.
  • It isn’t difficult to prepare a brief comment which has some relevance to your business.
  • The letter is more likely to be published in a more timely manner than any press release which you prepare because it becomes dated rather quickly.
  • It achieves visibility because the letters to the editor are well-read.
  • You have an opportunity to promote your services as part of your commentary.

I recommend that you follow some basic rules regarding the preparation of letters to the editor:

  • Be brief – the K.I.S.S. concept applies here. This is no time to be long-winded.
  • Follow the publication guidelines for letters to the editor. There is no point in failing to achieve publication because your letter was too long or outside the publication’s guidelines for some other reason.
  • Ensure the subject is one of interest to the readers otherwise it won’t be published.
  • Avoid the hard sell – be as subtle as possible when referring to your business.
  • Your point of view must appear reasonable and be based on accurate facts which if questioned will stand up to scrutiny.
  • Use the same writing style that you would use for your normal business correspondence

Now is an opportune time to begin scanning your local newspaper or favorite magazine to discover any articles or remarks on which you can state your opinion in a letter to the editor which will focus attention on your business.

More Marketing Tips

Module 4 of the Professional Bookkeeper™ program teaches a step-by-step approach to learning how to market your own successful Accounting and Bookkeeping service.

Learn How Professional Bookkeeper™ Training Teaches You to Market Your Skills and Get Top Dollar

You Can Do This!

So what are you waiting for? Your financial future is in your own hands. When you start your own successful Accounting service, your success is your own. If you can find the courage to take the first step, we will give you the tools, support, and training you need to start your own profitable accounting and bookkeeping service.

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Learn Why Starting an Accounting Service May Prove to Be the Best Financial Decision of Your Lifetime

Self-Promote Your Accounting Service

Whenever the term ‘self promotion’ is mentioned we tend to think of someone with a megaphone announcing to the world just how good he or she is. Self promotion does not need to be so blatant – subtlety is really the order of the day here.

Your Confidence IS Your Message

If you are nervous about what some would call "shameless promotion", ask yourself this question: "Is my client getting more than they are paying for?" In other words, is the money they are giving up more valuable to them than the service you provide?

Picture in your mind’s eye the amount of time that it would take your client to do their own books and financial analysis. Would it take them longer to do it than it would for you to? Almost certainly it would.

Then ask yourself, "In the time that my client takes to do their own books, could they have used that time to earn more money than they paid me?" If your client is in any kind of profitable business, the answer to that question is a resounding YES! Your service is worth more than the amount that your client pays for that service because they are then free to have more time to do what they went into business for in the first place … earning money and growing their business. By freeing your client of additional time to promote themselves, you make your clients more profitable. If you have even one client, you can be certain that client feels that you are worth what they pay you and more for one simple reason – they continue to pay for your services. If they ever felt they would rather have the money you get paid over the service, they wouldn’t have retained your services up to this point.

Each and every client tells you in no uncertain terms that you are worth it every time they pay you. So have confidence in yourself, the same confidence that your clients have in you. This confidence in yourself and the knowledge that your service is worth it is the most important step in finding new clients. If you don’t believe in yourself, you will have an uphill battle making someone else believe in you.

Tips For Promoting Yourself

Here are some suggestions on strategies you can employ to promote both yourself and your business:

1. Send a copy to your clients and prospective clients of items of interest which you have discovered in newspapers or magazines. This demonstrates that you are interested in them and their businesses.

2. Become involved in your local chamber of commerce or service club and join the groups’ committees.

3. Speak up at meetings – don’t be a part of the silent minority.

4. Participate in some public speaking training and become a confident presenter. You will find that there are many groups in the community who are looking for speakers. The perception that you create as a speaker is that of an expert on the topic which you have selected which, obviously, will tie in with your accounting service.

5. Write articles for your local newspaper and business and trade magazines. Again your image as an expert will be boosted.

6. Always be on the lookout for any public relations opportunities such as the chance to add a local flavor to a national story.

7. Block off your diary for at least 1 luncheon meeting each week. This informal get-together is a terrific networking strategy as everyone enjoys relaxing over an inexpensive meal.

8. Give consideration to establishing an e-mail newsletter. Not only will you keep your clients informed of business news but it will also attract prospective clients to your accounting service.

Implementing Your Marketing Plan

All of these strategies are inexpensive ones to implement. Why not start the ball rolling today with an implementation plan. The effect on your business will be significant and profitable!

Master Marketing Skills

In the course of a week, you run into potentially hundreds of small business owners that struggle to do their own books. They need the kind of service taught in the Professional Bookkeeper™ program. With its emphasis upon real-world small business accounting and bookkeeping, you will have an incredible edge when it comes to servicing their business that is taught nowhere else. The Professional Bookkeeper™ program teaches you how to find paying clients and to service their accounts efficiently, all while keeping your clients pleased with your unique talents.

Learn How the Marketing Method Taught in the Professional Bookkeeper™ Program Gets You Clients Fast!

Save time and money by finding clients near home

This article explains an ingenious marketing strategy for finding new clients close to your home that can be used for starting your new accounting service, or growing an existing bookkeeping business.

Local businesses

If you are seeking clients, you will want to approach businesses in your community. Most people living within city boundaries will have virtually an unlimited number of businesses within a mile of their home.

Don’t believe it? Test it. Get a map of your community. Draw a circle encompassing the area within one mile of your home. Now, with pen and paper in hand, drive around within that circle and write down all the businesses you pass, including their addresses. Most people are amazed at how many companies are so close, and almost everyone of them are small businesses needing accounting services. You may want to reeview the top reasons your services are needed by businesses.

With this list, you will want to go to the library or city/county clerk’s office and obtain the owner’s name, mailing address, and type of business. This information is available to the public from the Business License records.

Now you are ready to mail out letters. This letter will look very similar to the letter you sent to your business contacts. It’s main difference is that it should emphasize the local community advantage.

By the way, don’t disregard franchise type businesses, mistakenly thinking they already have an accounting system. Only a few franchisers, provide accounting for their franchisees. Most franchisees are required to find accounting help in their area.

You will want to send out only ten letters per week; no more, — and no less. Initially, this might seem like a small number. That’s alright, because at first you will want to spend more time rehearsing and reviewing your presentations. Later, as you start setting up new clients, and follow up on past visits, ten letters will seem like a lot.

There are other articles showing easy methods of marketing your own accounting and bookkeeping service. For information on the other articles, you can link to them here:

The best way to market an accounting and bookkeeping service

How to get a new client every week

For complete information on marketing an accounting and bookkeeping service, see our section on Building a Successful Accounting Service at our Accounting Made Easy site.

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Other Articles about starting your business:

Selling:

Selling the benefits of your bookkeeping service

Make your first impression count

Five Tips to Strengthen Your Client Presentations

Outsourcing your bookkeeping

Marketing:

Finding Clients near home

Find leads at networking events

Promote your website

The best marketing strategy: word of mouth

Get a new client every week

Trade shows can be a gold mine!

Seven website promotion tips

Establishing your web site is merely the beginning of your e-marketing project — you need visitors and to achieve visitors you will need to promote the site.

As search engine listings are not likely to produce clients, it’s prudent to explore other more basic and inexpensive offline methods of promoting your web address.

Here are seven web site promotion strategies — most of which you should be able to easily implement:

  • Treat your web address as you would treat any other component of your address — it should appear on all business stationery, promotional material and advertising.
  • Include your web address in your e-mail signature message. This will encourage your e-mail recipients to check out your web site. As a result they may discover some of your business activities of which they were previously unaware.
  • Include your web address in your “30 second networking commercial” when you meet people and you have an opportunity to talk about your business.
  • Publish an e-mail newsletter regularly regarding business aspects they might find interesting and valuable such as payroll deadlines, financial statement tips, events in the news, etc. Where appropriate point them back to your web site. Send this email letter to clients, and contacts/prospects at least once a month.
  • Feature your web address along with the corporate logo on corporate apparel — e.g. shirts or caps.
  • If you don’t mind the possibility of being described as “crass”, promote your web address on your car — this will give other drivers in traffic something to focus on, while in traffic.
  • Incorporate your web address in your on hold telephone message.

Other Articles about starting your business:

Selling:

Selling the benefits of your bookkeeping service

Make your first impression count

Five Tips to Strengthen Your Client Presentations

Outsourcing your bookkeeping

Marketing:

Finding Clients near home

Find leads at networking events

Promote your website

The best marketing strategy: word of mouth

Get a new client every week

Trade shows can be a gold mine!

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