This week I am diving into selling and marketing again.
First thing – Marketing and selling are very different activities with unique objectives.
However, together selling and marketing share the energy and effort to move a person from a prospect to a lead.
Marketing tees up your prospect to sell them your services. How well you prepare them will determine how easily you can sell them.
Unfortunately, accountants don’t do marketing well AND avoid selling at all costs.
If I could go back to 2017 and tell myself one thing, it would be how important marketing and selling are.
If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:
Your marketing is the main predictor of your selling experience.
Effective marketing will make selling high value services significantly easier.
I am going to unpack an effective marketing and selling process of:
This five-step process is called the AIDA method. It is a fluid process highlighting decision points in a prospect’s mind as they become clients.
Disclaimer: This is for higher-value advisory work and not simple compliance work.
Awareness is the first step to better sales. If prospects don’t know about you, they can’t buy from you.
Marketing is all about awareness. Business owners are busy. Creating awareness in their hectic schedules is getting harder.
I like digital marketing (Paid Ads, social platform content, newsletters) over more traditional methods (networking, referrals) as digital marketing can be automated, reaches niche clients with better results, and can be outsourced.
Most digital accounting marketing is generic and uninspiring and is forgotten quickly.
I saved this post from a few months ago, waiting to share it in a newsletter and tear it apart.
This is a low-value awareness attempt.
Is awareness achieved – Yes.
Is awareness remembered – No.
It does not speak to any specific client or client problem. They are showcasing their credentials. The craziest part is that they paid for this post.
Newsflash: When people are looking for a lawyer, a law degree is the bare minimum requirement.
The same goes for accountants. Being qualified, competent and honest is assumed. That is nobody’s unique selling proposition.
Instead, get specific about who you serve. Make the marketing about them.
I use this framework when coaching my clients:
I help _____________ to ___________ by providing___________ with the _____________ program.
I help [call out your niche and client type] to [solve problem they have] by providing [your unique service offering] with the [name the service].
This will not be verbatim what your advertisement or your content says specifically, but it helps you think differently about how you help your clients.
Here’s an example:
I help real estate agents to stop guessing their margins with real estate focused expenses dashboards with the Sell More, Keep More program.
In this example, we have called out real estate agents and their problem of guessing their profit margins.
This exercise helps us visualize the bridge from awareness to interest.
Is this something that every business owner will identify with? Nope.
Will it grab the attention and interest of real estate professionals? Absolutely.
Awareness is: “Oh hey, they’re accountants.”
Interest is: “Oh hey, they are talking about what I am struggling with.”
Good clients will not buy the first or second interaction with you or your firm. Additional touch points are required before their intent is sufficient to take action.
If you only run ads once or twice a year, the time between touch points will be months if (a big if) they see both ads.
You might spark interest at the moment, but people quickly forget. You will need to maintain their attention long enough to move them to action.
That is why I like newsletters and frequently posting on social media. My target audience hears from me every week, and my followers will see my post every day.
Intentions are the first action to move them from prospect to client.
While I owned my firm, I ran ads which would drive people to my website. I watched the metrics and had many people visiting my site.
The ads created awareness and sparked interest, but nothing like a lead magnet download or newsletter sign-up could capture their intention.
My phone number and a ‘contact us’ form were available on the site, but no new leads were generated.
The cost of marketing was wasted because I couldn’t capture that intent.
Your marketing should have calls to action (CTAs) so a client can take smaller actions when that intention reaches a certain point.
At the end of every newsletter, there are three calls to action which allow you to be more intentional about improving your firm. Check them out below.
This is the first step in the transition from marketing to selling. The prospect has made a decision to book a call. The decision is not final at this point, but the value you offer and their problem to be solved are making sense in their minds.
Clients are more confident you can help them with their problem at this stage.
Make booking a call seamless. Embed a Calendly or other appointment booking link in your website, landing pages, blog pages or newsletter emails. This is in addition to the phone number and ‘contact us’ form on your website.
In the discovery call, you will unearth and clarify their problem and initiate the relationship so you can help them solve their problem.
You will become familiar with the potential objections clients have as you speak to more prospects. Over time you will craft your discovery call to address these concerns before they come up.
In this stage, prospects agree to the proposed solution and become your clients.
The ease with which the prospect takes this final action step will depend on the prior four steps.
Each step in the process should be connected to the next step. You want to reduce the friction between transitioning the prospect to a client. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and test the process.
Creating a good sales process takes time. You’ll improve the process through iterating.
Along the way, you will make mistakes with your messaging, discovery calls and onboarding. Keep in mind that there is no other way to get good at this process.
Energy + Effort
A certain amount of energy and effort goes into converting a prospect into a client. As I mentioned above, that energy is shared between your marketing and selling.
Awareness, interest and intention (marketing) are driven by you and your actions. Decisions and actions (selling) are movements made by the prospect.
The better investment you make with your energy and efforts in your marketing, the less work it will take to move your clients in the selling process.
You can start now on creating awareness. Post on LinkedIn. Post on Facebook. Write a non-compliance related blog post. Start speaking to your clients.
Don’t use the excuse you’re too busy with client work.
Build The Firm You Want!