|The results of marketing Accounting services DIFFER greatly depending on how well the message reflects the business owners' viewpoints on Accountancy and finance. Learn how you can reach a high certainty of results by surveying the....|
Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course
Researching the wishes of clients on Accounting services
|The Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course is used by CPAs, Chartered Accountants and Accounting firms in 45 states in US and 30 countries worldwide to get a constant flow of year-round Accounting clients inexpensively and predictably.|
LACK OF RESEARCH: The single most costly mistake in marketing Accounting services
The most vital of all aspects in achieving functional and effective marketing for Accounting services is the VIEWPOINT from which it is planned.
Let me start off by asking something:
Whose wishes should the marketing of your services fulfill?
It sounds like a silly question, really. You PAY for your marketing, you BUY marketing services or products - so, obviously, they should fulfill YOUR wishes and requirements.
But is it really that obvious?
Isn't the purpose of marketing is to achieve new clients? Shouldn't it be the means to an end, the tool to effect a desired end result?
Shouldn't it be wholly composed to reflect the wishes of your TARGET AUDIENCE?
In purchasing things, the buyer naturally looks at the item of sale from his OWN viewpoint. While that is the only correct viewpoint when acquiring products and services that will "serve" you DIRECTLY, it isn't necessarily the best viewpoint to take when considering a service or set of tools for marketing your Accounting services.
To create a message that appeals to the intended BUYER, one needs to create it from a REVERSED viewpoint - that of the target audience.
Answering the question "Do I like this?" won't tell you if your TARGET AUDIENCE will like it.
"This is a great idea" does not guarantee the average business owner in your region will see it as something spectacular.
"This makes so much sense to me" will not necessarily mean that it will compute to entrepreneur Joe Blow in your area.
"This is explained very clearly" won't insure the majority of those business owners even understands it!
Opposite ends of knowledge in matters of Accounting & Finance - the difference in how things are viewed
An Accounting professional and his client often view things from opposite viewpoints in terms of what they see and understand.
Any open exchange of views with most clients soon shows how differently the necessity and/or logic of some action are viewed by the two persons.
What you know to be in his best interests is often seen by him as something totally negative and unwanted. When you try to explain something (he doesn't want to understand) the same phenomenon occurs.
If you've ever had a disagreement with a client, you'll know how opposite the view really can be.
Society works this way and we can find many examples of similar (seemingly) totally opposite positions in viewpoints.
A teenager's view of things is often very dissimilar to that of his or her parents.
The "battle of the sexes" derives its persistence from CERTAINTY on opposite facts, depending on whose viewpoint you take.
Employers and employees, service providers and their clients, buyer and seller, political parties and ideologies, religions... the list is almost endless.
In search of support for his beliefs, Man is prone to join GROUPS that hold common ideas. The most visible of these are groups with established structure and administration (unions, associations, political parties, etc.) and lots of registered members.
Apart from organised societies, we belong to a HUGE number of groups based on our views.
We have similar interest, existence, location, beliefs, experiences, and whatnot with other people. And, while there's no visible organisation or body to align the efforts of these groups, they nevertheless exist... and they also ACT as groups in that their views, needs, wishes, fears, likes and dislikes are very similar.
In the course of daily life, we meet a kindred spirit' and recognise the similarity of views.
For example, if you were to meet another Accounting professional in public practice, you'd have much more similar interest and experiences than you might share with an in-house Accountant or one employed within the government.
And while there might well be several associations or formal groups for practising Accounting professionals, the common viewpoints between two practitioners would derive from their mutual EXPERIENCE in the SAME SUBJECT... viewed from the SAME VIEWPOINT.
One could say that you belong to a group of "Accounting professionals with experience in servicing businesses in the field of compliance services," if you like.
It wouldn't be a FORMAL group. But it would, most definitely, be a TARGET GROUP for anyone selling something to Accounting professionals, don't you agree?
Any target group will be found to share the same opinions and views in any subject that touches their daily lives.
If one interviewed a hundred practising Accounting professionals, asking each the same questions on subjects within their field of experience as practitioners, one would get amazingly SIMILAR responses.
For instance, most practitioners consider that it is very difficult (or impossible) to obtain new potential clients ACTIVELY (whenever you want) at an AFFORDABLE cost. They also agree that NO COMFORTABLE way exists for prospecting.
Actually, both of these preconceptions are based on experiences of many practitioners having TRIED and failed they now believe it isn't possible to achieve.
Note that it's based on what practitioners believe to be true.
Whether or not it actually IS the objective truth, has nothing to do with the subject.
The truth itself is irrelevant because the majority of practitioners BELIEVE in these preconceptions and, consequently, stop looking for "the impossible."
Thus, it will act as a truth for them and bring the expected consequences regardless of its degree of truthfulness.
With this I mean that even if someone HAD found a comfortable and affordable way of prospecting, it wouldn't in any way change the BELIEF of the majority of practitioners.
And, just as evidently, if YOU would find such client-acquisition system, you would keep quiet about it.
It would not give YOU sleepless nights if competitors kept on believing that it's impossible... so they won't ever TRY... so that YOU get the full advantage of having a functional client acquisition system!
The views that we hold sit usually quite tight simply because they are very TRUE to us. It's simply the way human thinking works. And to publish any such successful experiment of prospecting and CONVINCE a huge number of practitioners that it IS true and it HAS happened would, of course, be an educational task of gargantuan proportion.
The problem in marketing to ANY target group is that its members fully trust only their colleagues... the majority of which will always lose out because they hold onto those preconceptions.
Those that HAVE found workable methods will keep very quiet and therefore their knowledge never shakes the status quo of the group. Obviously, those that had found the successful way wouldn't have any interest to disseminate their success or teach competitors how it is done...
But let's get back to YOUR target group.
Just like YOU can be seen to belong to a target group, the businesses in your area belong to a target group. It could be called "those business owners with experience in using Accounting firms' services."
As a target group, business owners will be found to possess very similar needs, wishes, viewpoints, fears, likes and dislikes as the majority of their colleagues.
The similarity of viewpoints within Accounting firms' target audience the business owners
Upon research, these business owners and executives will be found to have very SIMILAR viewpoints on Accounting services, Accountants, and Accounting firms.
They will have formed several identical "truths" about the usefulness of Accounting services, the price of service, and so on.
Having surveyed more than 10,000 business owners on this subject, I can tell you that THEIR "truths" will not be as positive as what Accounting professionals may believe.
One can also determine the average level of satisfaction toward Accounting services and find whether or not business owners feel the service fulfills the expectations they had (and have) for the service.
Again, here's a point where you may be surprised once you read the survey report in Part 1 of your Modern Accountancy Marketing Course... for even though most clients seem so apparently indifferent about accounting, you'll be amazed how detailed opinions (subjective truths) they hold about what you SHOULD deliver!
Business owners will also have very similar ideas on how RISKY changing Accountants feels and what would minimise that risk.
Similarly, they'd be found to have definite views on how easy or hard the business owners find EVALUATING and COMPARING various firms... and so on.
Additionally, one could also find out what the majority of business owners MOST WANT from their Accounting service. This would include knowledge of which information and / or services they consider EXTREMELY VALUABLE and what they want more information on (and even clarifications)... and so on.
Further, one can also determine the most prevalent (and the second, third, fourth -etc. most prevailing) NEGATIVE generalisations on Accounting services that this target group holds in common.
Things like that. An amazingly LONG list of factors has to be known just to reach certainty on how to find POTENTIAL clients with prediction. To reach a high success ration in signing these prospect on as new clients requires even MORE.
Researching these things is, of course, quite an undertaking.
But once it's done, we would then KNOW without any doubt what the MAJORITY of business owners considers true, what their VIEWPOINT on Accounting services (and firms) is and what they like and dislike, believe and disbelieve.
In fact, we would even know the words, concepts and wordings the majority of them use for VALUABLE and WORTHLESS parts of service - viewed solely from THEIR viewpoint, of course.
Knowing these, we could then devise a service that would include exactly the services and parts that the majority of business owners consider VERY valuable - and not even mention (let alone OFFER) any parts of service or services that they DON'T consider valuable (or believe to be of no use at all).
We could formulate an approach that would use the exact "code words" - the wording THEY use for what's truly valuable in Accounting - and position these as OUR views. We could use their wordings on NEGATIVE things and position ourselves AWAY from those.
Using this type of researched approach, we could create a whole SET of communication tools, one following the other, and be CERTAIN that the MAJORITY of the target audience would find our communication "intriguing, different, make-sense and highly truthful" (from THEIR viewpoint, that is) and, thus, maximise the chances of obtaining PROSPECTS and getting these signed onto our services.
And that's what you receive in Part 1 of your Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course: Certainty on the viewpoint of business owners on the various aspects of accountancy services and firms.
I know you think you already know. And, with the benefit of experience from serving more than two thousand accounting firm clients, I know that once you read the survey report in Part 1, you will find SO much more than you thought possible and at a level of detail much higher than you thought possible.
Achieving FULL certainty on the viewpoints and wishes of your target audience
Part 1 of your Modern Accountancy Marketing Course takes out the element of chance or guessing from your marketing. That's why it's so invaluable even if you then decide not to continue your subscription you will benefit from this data no matter which direction you choose for your firm.
And I'm not talking about one or two things but a CHAIN of certainty on consecutive issues of Accounting service marketing and delivery.
I've personally research target groups in more than one hundred industries. And with this experience, I can tell you one thing for certain:
There are practically MILLIONS of different possible COMBINATIONS of various views, opinions, key words and valuables to be found in any ONE target group.
What I mean is that, in marketing, you don't only need ONE viewpoint but DOZENS of CONSECUTIVE viewpoints that all represent the MAJORITY OPINION of the target group.
There aren't just one or two opinions about Accounting out there.
There is LOTS of reservation in LOTS of areas of the service, its marketing, the communication to and from Accountants, the delivery of service, billing, and whatnot.
And there are LOTS of absolute certainties on HOW you should offer your services, WHAT kinds of services are perceived valuable, how business owners deduct the trustworthiness of an Accountant, how they determine the level of your technical knowhow (without having any technical expertise themselves)... and things like that.
You don't "ONLY" need to find out these things - and know which ones are the views that the MAJORITY of the target group believes to be true - but also the ORDER in which they should be taken up and the WAY you should use the information.
Successful marketing is really a CHAIN of actions - a staircase, if you wish - leading from first contact to final sign-on. The start of this chain is where a business owner doesn't even know your firm EXISTS. It ends when he signs onto your services.
It's a chain of actions and communication.
Each step needs to be MORE right than wrong, as viewed solely from the business owner's viewpoint.
The chain needs to progress in a correct sequence, each step just right so that it leads to the next and isn't too steep.
Now, what are the chances of GUESSING these things?
How easy will it be to GUESS the right majority viewpoints?
Well, as there are about 80 subjects to know, you might get lucky and guess a few of them.
But ALL of them? And what about the CORRECT SEQUENCE?
You're the professional. You do the math. My calculator goes crazy every time I try the equation...
But it is really academic. Whether the probability is millions or billions (or trillions or quadrillions) to one, I'm sure we can safely agree that you'll have a MUCH better chance winning the national lottery than guessing the correct 80 points and ending up with the correct sequence.
Part 1 will also teach you to recognise the feasibility of ANY campaign instantly
Let me put this in no uncertain terms:
For a marketing expert, it is extremely difficult to create a marketing campaign that would WORK WELL with YOUR target audience.
The hardest thing in it is to KNOW WHAT YOUR CLIENTS WANT.
It is much easier to know what YOU want.
For a pro, it's child-play to create something that'll impress YOU greatly because it portrays you in such formidable light.
Selling to you involves only ONE target group - Accounting professionals in public practice - while selling your services to your target audience requires experience / research / testing / piloting for TWO groups, see?
It takes YEARS of work to do it this way. It's a lot of work - I know, I've done it. It took us three years to work with 50 practices to test it with each of them for a minimum of 12 months!
It is much easier to take a shortcut and avoid all those years of hard work.
So, here's how they do it the easy way:
They create a marketing message that makes sense to YOU.
In other words, they don't even try to appeal to whom they SHOULD your target group.
Instead, they use YOUR viewpoint, explain the benefits of Accounting as YOU would explain them, depict the problems YOU see to be most pertinent... all of which makes you feel quite good, of course, as they so strongly endorse whatever YOU think is right.
But what if it isn't? What's going to happen to the RESULTS that you expect from this campaign?
These top marketing professionals simply take YOUR wishes, opinions, likes and dislikes, hopes... all that YOU hope your target audience would believe and do... and put this into the message to them so that it appeals to YOU.
And it will impress you.
It creates realisations in YOUR mind. It gives a way to explain things in an intelligent way - all those things you've tried SO hard to get people to understand.
You will get excited. You will be absolutely convinced this is the message that works.
Only it won't.
You can be 100% certain that it won't bring you a single new client but only waste thousands and lay your high hopes to ruin.
See, it cannot work, since it is created using YOUR viewpoint exclusively. It will appeal ONLY to you - and not at all to your target audience.
To you, it would be very logical. It would appear very intelligent and extremely effective.
But will it spark similar enthusiasm in the TARGET GROUP? Will the message arouse the same excitement in the minds of average business owners?
Right - it certainly won't.
And here's the thing:
A message that WOULD best appeal to your target audience would definitely NOT appeal all that much to YOU - unless you had SEEN the survey results and received the professional secrets' of how that knowledge is used correctly.
So, we have a mirror effect of kinds at work here.
What appeals to YOU would work best in selling something to YOU.
Your target group won't share these viewpoints and thus, it won't appeal to them.
Reversely, what appeals to your target audience wouldn't necessarily impress you all that much. You'd definitely like that message LESS and, given a choice, would probably choose the one that "feels better."
The message that works for the target group wouldn't be CREATED for you, see?
The communication wouldn't trigger those "finally someone who understands this" - type of realisations in YOU.
But it would trigger those realisations in your target audience!
Researched, targeted marketing communication developed for one specific audience works much like a unique language. It's like a secret code of kinds - the wordings used, the emphasis, the sequence... these will ONLY communicate to the intended target audience.
To others, it means little or nothing.
And here's the good news:
With the knowledge (and certainty) that you receive from Part 1 of your Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course, no one will ever be able to convince you of a dysfunctional message or campaign for your target audience... for you will know exactly what the majority of your target group wants.
That alone is well worth the cost... for you will save thousands in the long run!
Assumptions - the downfall of marketing Accounting services
Lack of research is the MAJOR stumbling block of Accountancy marketing. Man is prone to assume that others think alike and hold the same opinions, view things from the same angle, value the same things, and generally have the same preferences.
"Normal," to each person, is what HE considers to be natural and rational. Yet, each person (and each target audience) has their own set of values that they consider "normal."
This is a mechanism that keeps us going and there's nothing wrong with believing in what you believe.
But in marketing, the most important rule is to "KNOW thy enemy."
The "enemy" is not your target audience or any business owner therein.
The "enemy" is formed from all those viewpoints, opinions, considerations and "truths" that THEY hold true - the ones that keep them from being interested in changing Accountants, keep them ignorant of the true benefits and usage of Accounting services, and keep the deadlock in continuance.
For you to sell to yourself, you need NO research.
You KNOW what you like and want once you see it.
But if you want to sell to your TARGET AUDIENCE, you can safely assume they WON'T think the same way. While as "business owners" you both hold many similar values, their views on Accounting will be very much different.
If they'd think the same way as you do, they'd be your competitors, not potential clients.
Yet, because of the "this makes sense to me" -phenomenon in our thinking, we are prone to utilise any idea that WE think is great and invest money into communicating it to our target audience.
Thus, we get the strange present reality of Accountancy marketing: It appeals to OTHER Accounting professionals in public practice... but gets little or no results from the intended target audience.
And all because of the omission of one step in the creation of marketing messages.
Surveys - the difference between a sound investment and a high-risk speculation
Marketing is really the task of activating the willingness of people to cooperate with YOU in the attainment of their own goals.
Each business owner has to WANT to get in contact with you. He then has to DO several things before he "graduates" from a mere contact into your newest client.
To do that, HE needs to WANT to take each of those steps.
The task of your marketing activity is to create those steps and, above all, that WILLINGNESS for him to follow the path you've laid out.
Stating the obvious, what HE wants is quite different from what YOU want.
Therefore, the communication you use has to be tailored exactly to HIS opinions, views, level of knowledge, interests, and values.
It's really a bit like communicating in an encrypted code. You have to FIRST find out from your target group how THEY see these things, THEN form your message - and then flow it BACK to the target audience.
And NOW it will have effect.
If your marketing doesn't bring direct results, then too many bits of the communication are not aligned to the viewpoint of the majority of your target audience.
Reversely, if you KNOW what your target audience wants, if you have full certainty on what they value, like and dislike, need and require, then your marketing WILL produce new clients with a much higher success ratio.
But, you say, I DO know what my clients want, like and think!
Well, yes and no.
I've yet to meet an Accounting professional totally unaware of the views of his target audience.
But I've only come across a handful that knows these views with sufficient CERTAINTY to ensure that their marketing is geared up to get a high success ratio in marketing.
Confusion comes from having TOO many pieces of data and not knowing WHICH ONES are of senior importance and pertinent to the task at hand - and which aren't.
What do business owners think about Accounting services and firms?
How should you approach businesses to create instant interest - and what should you avoid so as not to turn them off immediately?
What do THEY consider true, what do they doubt - what to say and what to avoid when speaking to business owners?
What kind of help, service and assistance do the business owners VALUE so highly that simply by offering these exclusively you could increase your marketing pull?
And which services mean little or nothing to them, leaving a hazy picture that cannot but lead to failure for your marketing?
As these few questions show, there are many vital things to know about your target audience.
Their views govern their decisions and the better you know those factors the more you can influence their decision on which Accountant to choose.
And that - knowing these factors - is really what decides whether or not your marketing turns into a sound investment yielding ample results with high certainty... or a high-risk speculation offering worse odds than a one-line entry in the national lottery.
Now... if you've DONE this, don't feel embarrassed.
Everyone does it. We've all done it one time or another.
Marketing is a learning process and not all experts out there know what works.
The wrong lesson to learn from such mistakes is to stop marketing altogether.
Inevitably, that's the choice that will cost you most although the bottom line won't show "the income I could have made but didn't."
All you need is to GET that information and ensure you have a prospecting & presentation system that USES the viewpoints of the majority of your target audience.
There are no magical shortcuts that could replace precisely KNOWING the viewpoints of your target audience.
If you don't KNOW their viewpoints on the main issues concerning Accounting services, there isn't much hope to keep up their interest and willingness to continue.
Sooner or later, that lack of knowledge and certainty will fail you.
In fact, it's sooner than you might think.
Most Accounting firms' attempts at marketing succumb to the FIRST difficult step of marketing - obtaining a constant flow of potential clients. And the cause is simply NOT KNOWING what really INTERESTS business owners.
Given a choice, wouldn't you prefer KNOWING what works before you invest your time and efforts into marketing Accounting services?
The funny thing is that KNOWLEDGE can replace most of the FINANCIAL investment you'd need for effective marketing.
That's because KNOWLEDGE almost totally eliminates the element of chance.
The Accounting professional who knows these factors and has a workable system to use the information correctly, doesn't need luck.
And, while others may THINK he is "lucky," he will know that luck has nothing to do with his success!
The good news is that we have this information for you.
In Part 1 of the Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course, you get the full survey report on the business owners' viewpoint and also how you can USE this knowledge to impress the business owners you get in contact with.
Part 1 also presents a basic Accounting service BUILT on those wishes a service easy to deliver but one that will practically sell it self... It will make you lucky way beyond the law of averages!