In the last whitepaper “Why Accountancy Firms STOP Growing” we learnt that the three key components of any firm are…
1. Process: What the firm does to earn fees.
2. Marketing: How the firm wins and retains the right clients and maximises fee income from existing clients.
3. Management: How the firm operates to generate maximum profit and wealth.
So let’s take a closer look at what this looks like…
So let’s focus on the marketing function and what is required in order for you to grow your practice. Here’s what your system should look like (the diagram on the next page shows the marketing element of the Accountants Growth Programme)…
As you can see there are actually just two ‘levels’ to a powerful marketing system and when they’re combined you create a practice that keeps growing and growing. Let’s take a closer look at each level…
1. ‘The 4 Practice Multipliers’ (4 Ways To Grow Your Firm): Other than acquisition, there are just 4 ways to grow your accountancy firm…
- Referral: We all know that generating enquiries by referral is THE single best way to get clients. However virtually every accountancy firm has what I call a ‘reactive referral process’ in place. This ISN’T a system. This ‘ad hoc’ approach will only get you so far, but when you want to achieve growth targets you cannot hope to grow your firm on this basis. The key word in all of this (which you’ll hear a lot from us) is SYSTEM. Systemising your referrals from clients and other third party referral sources such as IFAs and solicitors is key to your success.
- General Marketing: Rigorous testing has provided us with a number of proven marketing approaches which enable accountancy firms to generate many enquiries at will. The reason why most firms believe that general marketing is often ineffective is explained in (2) below.
However, a critical piece of the success jigsaw is to use a number of marketing approaches, not just one or two (another key reason why most firms don’t grow at the rate they should).
We have a saying; “other than zero, the worst number in business sis ‘1’; 1 key client, 1 key supplier, one key employee and 1 marketing approach”. You are seriously harming your firm if you only use one or two marketing approaches.
- Sales Conversion: When your referral and general marketing systems are operating effectively, they will generate a healthy supply of enquiries every month. As soon as an enquiry is generated your ‘sales conversion system ‘should kick in.
In other words, you should have a system in place that helps the prospective client through your sales process ensuring they become a client.
You need to build in a number of stages, whereby each one moves the prospective client closer to the sale. Once again this is a BIG weakness we see in most firms – there isn’t usually any kind of sales conversion system in place.
We have come across firms who were only converting 1 in 10 enquiries (non referral enquiries) prior to implementing a sales conversion system. Once the system was in place they improved their conversion to between 7 and 9 out of 10 a.
This makes a huge difference to your new client acquisitions – and is achieved with absolutely ZERO extra cost.
- Maximising Fee Income: Much has been written and spoken about selling more services to existing clients. In reality many firms find this one of their most challenging tasks. But it needn’t be so. The reality is that most firms just miss so many golden opportunities to up-sell and cross-sell their services, again because no formal system is in place for actually doing it.
You know as well as I do that little thought is ever given to putting in place a solid system that identifies the opportunities for selling more services to clients and what exactly has to be done when these opportunities arise.
As you can see, just small improvements across each of the 4 Practice Multipliers will result in big increases in growth. That’s the power of the practice multipliers.
2. The 5 M’s Of Marketing Your Accountancy Firm: So you know that there are 4 ways to grow your firm. However this still isn’t enough. Each of these methods must be underpinned by a set of time-tested rules which ensure their success. We call these the ‘5 M’s of Marketing Your Accountancy Firm’ (Market, Message, Media, Moment and Method)…
- Market: Who you are targeting.
- Message: Why someone should use your firm rather than anyone else (your competitors) and what you need to convey in your message to get people to respond.
- Media: The marketing channels you will use to deliver your message to the market (i.e. website, adverts, direct mail, articles, etc.).
- Moment: Timing is everything!
- Method: What ‘marketing piece’ will you use for each media to rise above the clutter and get noticed over EVERY other business that’s marketing to your target market (notice this is other accountants AND every other firm trying to get your potential clients to buy from them).
So there you have it. That’s what it takes to grow any accountancy firm – no matter where you are in your evolution. No matter how long you’ve been established. No matter what your goals and objectives.
Until next time…