James Ashford helps progressive accountancy firms to become more profitable and to systemize their firms so they can deliver maximum value and incredible experiences to their clients.
James is the founder of GoProposal, bestselling author of “Selling to Serve” and Director within a thriving firm of accountants called My Accountancy Place.
He is a sales, marketing and systems expert, helping firms to scale their practice by giving more value to existing clients and converting new prospects at a higher rate for higher fees.
QuickBooks Connect is a multi-day event that brings entrepreneurs, small business owners, accountants & developers together to grow, learn & connect with each other. Learn more and join us 27-28 February in London. Please enjoy the article…
Everything within an accountancy firm is connected and nothing can be considered in isolation.
You might think you have a sales problem when in actual fact you have a delivery problem. This is because the first sale you have to make is to yourself and so if you don’t fully believe in the value of what you’re selling, you’ll never make the sale.
So it might be that introducing a practice management system or outsourcing some of your work would in fact improve sales.
I recently worked with a large firm who had a staffing challenge in that their morale was very low, they had a high sickness record and struggled to recruit new staff. When I looked into it, it was because the Partner managing this team wasn’t using the same pricing methodology to agree fees with clients. Therefore, the clients that his team was serving were paying far too little for the service they were getting. It meant that the team were being overworked, not meeting deadlines and not profitable. Clients were getting frustrated with them and because they weren’t profitable, the rest of the firm looked down on this department.
Raising their prices solved the problem of low staff morale.
However, there’s one area in particular, which most problems are connected to.
This is your marketing.
A firm’s inability to attract a constant stream of their ideal clients means that they are forced to take anyone who comes through the door, whether they are a good fit or not. It also means that they are unable to exit clients who they’re not aligned with, and who will never pay them enough.
But imagine if you just had a queue of your dream clients stood outside your offices, asking when YOU are able to accept them as a client.
Then imagine if those clients were turning up ready to buy your highest value services in the quality and quantity you want to sell them in. Wouldn’t this start to change everything?
I’m not going to pretend that getting to this point is easy, because it’s not. Solving this problem of creating a constant flow of dream customers is tough and anyone who tells you differently is lying.
There is no magic wand; no Google algorithm you need to be aware of, no new social media site you need to be a master of. It all comes down to the fundamentals.
At the end of the day, marketing is just helping people to take the next step towards starting a relationship with you by buying from you or buying more from you. And the way you start ANY relationship is the way you start EVERY relationship.
There is no difference in how you begin and nurture a relationship with a life partner than you would with a client.
These are fundamental, timeless principles that never change, which if you don’t have in place, will cause anything you build on top to crumble.
No website, rebrand, networking event, magazine advert, Google ad campaign or SEO strategy is ever going to work if it’s not underpinned with fundamental, long-term relationship developmental thinking.
But the magazine selling you the advertising space isn’t going to talk to you about this, because they don’t understand it themselves. Instead they’re going to sell you an advert and convince you that it takes somebody 7 times to see something before they start reacting to it. You’re then 7 months in, a few thousand pounds down and have no more clients to show for it.
Get the fundamentals right, and the right client will only need to see that advert once and they’ll get in touch.
In our firm, we place marketing at the core of everything we do and it is built on these fundamental principles.
On the 27th February at QuickBooks Connect, I’m going to be sharing these principles with you.
I will be showing you the exact results we’ve been achieving with these principles in place and how we now have clients turning up to buy from us.
And these aren’t small clients. These are £1,000+ a month clients.
I’m going to reveal 3 key foundational principles, which deep down, you will already know to be true.
This is going to be a high energy, high impact workshop where you will leave with a very simple plan to start putting in place.
“Clients love us when they find us” is what most accountancy firms say.
But it’s that one word which kills them…”When.”
If you can start to take control of the “when”, you will start to take control the chaos which is affecting all aspects of your firm.