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Do first impressions count?

A while back I met a chap in a park walking his dog who, after a chat while we were both cleaning up after our dogs, introduced himself as a business growth specialist. Given the environment in which we met neither of us had a business card with us. Since then we have run into each other at least another 3 times. Still no luck – no business card on either side.

Lets call our dog-walking friend Danny as in Danny DeVito. I liked Danny he was friendly, appeared to be enthusiastic and passionate about his discipline and was articulate in the value that he delivered for his clients. He looked (not his dress of course but his manner), sounded and behaved like a real professional.

Just the other day I ran into Danny again and hazzar he had a business card on him. He said he was in a rush, gave me the card and sped off.  As Danny semi-jogged his way with his dog to the other side of the park I look down at the card he gave me. Up to this point I believed Danny was a seasoned professional, well versed in his discipline and ready to add value to his clients. When I looked at his card my heart just sank.  Here is what I saw …

  • The card was printed on some sort of heavy paper (about 120gsm) the type you get printed at those business card vending machines you see at airports.
  • The design/layout was quite up to the standard of what my 13 year old son can do on MS Publisher.
  • Danny didn’t have his own domain. So his email address read “danny@yahoo.com”
  • No website

I could go on but I think you get the idea. Now a lot of you reading this work with big accounting firms, law firms and consultancies – you’re probably ok but there is always room for improvement. Why not ask a friend or contact outside of your market for a frank opinion of your logo, business card & website? You might just get a surprise.

By the way … Danny’s area of special expertise and client service offering? Marketing. Oh brother!

All my best,

James E.

How to get clients (1 of 4)

Do you have trouble getting clients? If so, please read on.

I was speaking at a seminar last week to a bunch of accountants. A young chap approached me during the break and shared some of the concerns he had about his own firm.

“James – how do I get new clients?”, he opened up to me. “I’ve been working with my father in his accounting practice for the last few years and things are going fine with our current client base but I’m finding it really difficult to attract or get new clients. How do I do it?”

This young chap was sincere, enthusiastic and energetic. I could sense that he was frustrated with his efforts to date and I really wanted to help him out. In the little time we had, I wanted to know what his thinking was when he approached potential clients. I asked him how he started off the conversation with these people. “What I usually do James is to tell them about my firm and what we do”

Let’s stop right there. This young guy has fallen into the same trap that the majority of accountants (and other professional advisers for that matter) can’t seem to help falling into.

Does it make sense to tell the person you are meeting with that you are an accountant and you provide the following A, B, C & D services? Is it safe to assume that the person you are meeting with already knows that you’re an accountant? I would think yes. So why oh why do most accountants in meetings with potential clients, in their marketing material and websites spend an inordinate amount of time & effort telling the world who they are and what they do? We’ll unpack this question later in this series of posts.

Let’s go back a step. Why is the person meeting with you in the first place? Is it a referral, a favour to a friend or perhaps the outcome of a successful cold call?

Hmmm – lots of questions. Over the next few posts I’m going to share with you how you can get clients. The strategy & tactics I will outline will help you differentiate your practice from the rest of the market – or at least those who don’t read this blog 🙂

Bye for now,

James E

First impressions … so, so important

Several weeks ago I met a chap in a park walking his dog who, after a chat while we were both cleaning up after our dogs, introduced himself as a marketing specialist. Given the environment in which we met neither of us had a business card with us. Since then we have run into each other at least another 3 times. Still no luck – no business card on either side.

Lets call our dog-walking friend Tommy as in Tommy Lee-Jones. I liked Tommy he was friendly, appeared to be enthusiastic and passionate about his discipline and was articulate in the value that he delivered for his clients. He looked (not his dress of course but his manner), sounded and behaved like a real professional.

Just the other day I ran into Tommy again and hazzar! he had a business card on him. He said he was in a rush, gave me the card and sped off.  As Tommy semi-jogged his way with his dog to the other side of the park I look down at the card he gave me. Up to this point I believed Tommy was a seasoned professional, well versed in his discipline and ready to add value to his clients. When I looked at his card my heart just sank.  Here is what I saw …

  • The card was printed on some sort of heavy paper (about 120gsm) the type you get printed at those business card vending machines you see at airports.
  • The design/layout was quite up to the standard of what my 13 year old son can do on MS Publisher.
  • Tommy didn’t have his own domain. So his email address read “tommy@bigpond.com” For those of you outside Australia bigpond is our largest isp.
  • No website

I could go on but I think you get the idea. Now a lot of you reading this work with big accounting firms, law firms and consultancies – you’re probably ok but there is always room for improvement. Why not ask a friend or contact outside of your market for a frank opinion of your logo, business card & website? You might just get a surprise.

By the way … Tommy’s area of special expertise and client service offering? Marketing. Oh brother!

All my best,

James E.