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

A Low-Cost Way to Leave a Lasting Legacy

With tax season behind us, it’s time to assist clients in their tax planning. For that reason, I felt it timely to discuss the IRD — I had one of my largest tax clients, and a good friend, surprised by this when his father passed away last year.

When an individual passes away, it’s almost certain that there’ll be a piece of his or her estate that can be taxed at a rate of almost 100%. It’s a little thing known as “income in respect of a decedent,” better known as IRD. It’s almost certain that you will have it in your estate — but your heirs may not see one thin dime of it. But the good news is that IRD can be used to make a charitable gift that can leave a lasting legacy.

What’s IRD? Basically, IRD is income that was owed to an individual upon death. It can include unpaid salary, most deferred-compensation arrangements (e.g., IRAs, employer-provided retirement and pension plans), accrued interest on bonds, previously untaxed appreciation in Series E savings bonds and similar government bonds.

The income is not included on the individual’s pre-death income tax return. But it gets hit with a multiple-tax whammy. How? IRD is subject to estate tax and income tax when it’s in the hands of the heirs (however, an income tax deduction for the federal estate tax paid is allowed to the taxpayer who has to include the IRD in gross income). With a top state and federal estate tax rate of 55% and a top income tax rate of 39.6%, the effective rate of overall taxation on IRD is around 80%. But when you pile on other possible taxes — extra death taxes in certain states, generation-skipping transfer taxes, state and local income taxes — the tax rate on IRD could approach 100%.

What to do:  Consider giving the IRD items that will wind up in an estate to charity instead of having it all go to the tax man. A gift to charity of IRD items will generally avoid the tough estate and income tax treatment these amounts receive. This can be structured as an outright bequest.

Important: Charitable gifts that involve IRD items must be structured just right to achieve the desired tax benefits. If it’s a large amount you may want to suggest that the client see an attorney.

First steps for marketing your service

This article examines essential marketing and identity elements for your startup homebased business- your business cards, letterhead, and envelopes.

Business Cards and Letterhead are important to all business professionals. To many, your business card might be the only thing with which they have to judge you. For that reason, it’s a good idea to spend a little bit more and get something that favorably represents you. On the other hand, the costly, foiled, raised print might be all right for the lawyer and real estate agent, but it isn’t necessary for the accountant. Something in the middle will be suitable.

Today, you can purchase business cards from the corner copy store, or from professional print shops. Or, if you have the right equipment you could even make them with a computer and printer.

At the copy store, you can view books of card samples. Most cards start at $15 for five hundred cards, and go up. Again the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best. Pick out the best sample that fits you. The printer will then help you place your information into the format of the card.

If you want to be more creative, a print shop will help you design the card. They also have samples.

One more thing: Don’t clutter your cards with too much information or gimmicky graphics. Put the most critical items on the face of the card. If you feel there is still more you would like to say on the card, then have it printed on the backside.

Letterhead and envelopes should be attractive and professional. Use a high-quality bond paper, not standard weight copy paper. Again, a few extra dollars can usually go a long way in impressing your clients.

If money isn’t an issue, and you don’t mind spending a few extra hundred dollars for just the right image, you can contract a graphics artist to design a unique card and letterhead just for you. Most people don’t take this step, nor do they need to.

For more infomation about getting started successfully with your own accounting and bookkeeping service, check out our courses.

Other articles: Identity Theft

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!

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