In the last 2 posts (here and here) I talked about the true meaning of branding and marketing in accounting firms. To clue you in, no they are not the same thing. Today, I look at sales and hopefully to no one’s surprise, sales is not marketing and it’s not branding.
Branding is learning about your accounting firm and industry and then speaking about these things in a way that draws in the interest of others. Learn, speak, attract. Marketing is rallying your service offerings around your brand. So what is sales?
Accounting Firm Sales
To me, sales is all about closing. Think about it – you have established your brand. You’ve interacted with potential clients. They’ve visited your website and they know you offer services they need. Now it’s time to pounce. How do you do this?
- You’ve already established a rapport with a prospect. You run in their circles and have connected at networking events. You’ve given them your business card and they follow the content you put out via Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. They’ve visited your website and have needs you can fulfill. As you converse with them, an opportunity presents itself. CLOSE THE DEAL!
- You have no rapport with someone, yet they know who you are via Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Your branding has worked. They visited your website because they were intrigued. They reach out to you or respond to a connection link on your website. CLOSE THE DEAL!
- You have great relationships with referral sources who believe in your brand and understand the services you offer. You engage them in social media no differently than you engage possible prospects. They will refer business to you. When they do, CLOSE THE DEAL!
- You have built-in tools on your website that can help you draw links between the IP address of computers hitting your site and Twitter, LinkedIn or other social media sites. These people are clearly interested. Call them. Talk to them. CLOSE THE DEAL!
Networking is not just about sitting in a corner and boozing. It’s about schmoozing for the sole purpose of getting to know someone better. Don’t put on a full-court sales press. Just build a relationship. Make sure they know how and where to find you on social media. The relationship you developed will lead them to following you on social media. They will like and trust the content you put out. Again, they’ll interact with your accounting firm website and every time you talk to them in the future, they’ll begin asking you questions about specific items in the content you produce. The door has been open. CLOSE THE DEAL!
I know this all sounds pretty simple, but I promise you it works. It’s how I buy today. It’s how others buy today. Your success will build on itself. The new clients you landed will talk to others and encourage them to follow you on social media. They will and you will go through the same process with them.
In summary – you establish a brand personally and for your accounting firm. You put out meaningful, interesting, timely content. Readers become interested in you and your firm. They know what you do and begin searching your well created website (which uses lots of digital strategy) for more information on services. They either approach you or you find out who they are and you approach them. Once you begin interacting about a potential opportunity, you CLOSE THE DEAL!