Building a business is tough. Building a business without focus, processes and the right audience makes it even tougher.
The following are some ideas that are meant to help you fill your pipeline with prospects and eventually clients. If you need assistance with any of these items, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Start by having a well-defined image of the ideal client you are seeking. Sit down and think who you LIKE to work with. Think about what types of clients are most profitable but mostly think about what types of clients you have been the most benefit to in the past.
- Be strategic with networking activities so that you invest your time in groups where you are likely to meet quality prospects who fit your ideal client profile.
- Commit to being present at targeted events in the business community with enough consistency to develop a strong reputation and gain traction with prospects. Just joining the organization is not enough. You have to show up and be involved.
- Be precise with centers of influence (COI) as to the type of clients you can serve best and describe the businesses you can work with most effectively.
- Get comfortable asking for referrals. Sometimes the word “referral” just seems off-putting. If you think this is the case, ask for an "introduction" instead.
- When introducing yourself and the firm, make the distinction about what differentiates you. Make it crystal-clear how the firm adds value for clients beyond the services you deliver. You have one chance to make a first impression. Make it a good one. Practice your introduction in the mirror.
- When connecting with prospects, do your best to get to know decision makers and influencers in the company.
- When you are at a fact-finding meeting with a prospect, always be prepared. Conduct research about the organization; develop a list of important and relevant questions before you walk through the door. Do not go to any prospect meeting without doing at least 2 hours of homework about the prospect, their business, their history, other companies you have worked with and make a detailed plan.
- The first and most important thing you can do in a meeting with a prospect is listen to their needs. If you prepare a written agenda, schedule time to listen. Once you have heard what really matters most, read between the lines before you respond. This will be what sets you apart from the other accountants this prospect will interview. If you can identify your prospect’s pain points and offer a plan to alleviate that “pain”, you are invaluable.
- When you leave the meeting, agree on the next steps; write down everything you are going to research or provide to the prospect at the next meeting - do not leave without scheduling a date (accepted by all) to reconnect.
Focus and Accountability - The two key ingredients for successful business development for any CPA or accounting business.
- Trent A. Grinkmeyer, AIF®, CRPC® / Financial Consultant
All through November, all of the advisors at our office are doing a series of articles, tips and tools and geared toward the “Anatomy of a Happy Office”. Follow all of our blogs to read it all.
Northside of Average by Valerie Leonard
TAG-Living Loud by Trent Grinkmeyer
Motivated Monday by Caleb Bagwell
401kBizResource by Jamie Kertis