There are a lot of ways to get (and stay) ahead of the pack when you’re building a successful CPA practice.
This month I’ve decided to shine a spotlight on three in particular, and I’m going to challenge you to ask yourself which of these you’ve given the least amount of attention to in recent months.
Might it be time to give one or all of these areas a little extra love?
It doesn’t take much to lose a client. In fact, I’m thinking of one of my team members who recently took her dog to a new groomer that opened in her neighborhood.
After just one visit she said she wouldn’t return, just based on the fact that the groomer was not particularly warm and friendly with her pet.
She said, “If the groomer had smiled just once and maybe given my dog a pat on the head and said, ‘Hello, cutie’, I would have gone back. But she was really cold and business-like. It didn’t make me feel good about leaving my beloved pet in her care. Especially when there are so many other groomers out there to try.”
So while striving for first-class service and treating our clients like royalty is definitely a worthy goal, sometimes we let the little things slip – and little things can matter a lot.
Has your staff gotten lazy about greeting visitors with a smile? Or even smiling when they answer the phone? Have you grown lazy about enforcing a consistent standard?
Evaluate every aspect of the service you provide and ask yourself how you could step it up. Some of the answers you get may be things you used to do and let slip.
Start an office-wide campaign to revive those niceties, alongside some new initiatives to improve the client’s experience and make them say, “Wow!”
There’s more than enough to keep an eye on from within your practice, but still, it’s important to devote some time to watching the competition.
Who’s catering to the same slice of the population as you? How are they reaching new clientele? Do they show signs of growth?
Stay aware of what’s going on in the community to which you hope to appeal. Read local newspapers and magazines, listen to local radio and watch regional TV programming. Who’s advertising and where?
Are they buying bigger ads, more frequently? And in what medium?
If they’re stepping it up in radio, it may mean they’re finding success there. Perhaps you might, too.
Pay attention to their messaging. What about it seems to work, and how could you make it even better?
Are your competitors involved in the community? Are they sponsoring or participating in events that appeal to your ideal client?
If you’re going after clients in a certain industry, subscribe to their industry publications. Are your competitors addressing them in a language they understand, offering solutions to the problems that uniquely concern them?
If not, perhaps you should. If they are, maybe you should be addressing similar issues.
Ultimately, the goal of marketing is to sell your services. The goal of advertising is the same. But we’re bombarded with these kinds of communications every day – on our phones, on billboards, on TV and radio, even on the inside doors of public bathroom stalls.
Someone is always trying to sell us something -- and your prospects are as weary of it as you are.
But there’s a better way to stand out, get attention and win business than shouting at people to give you their money. Instead, be the giver.
Market in ways that give your target client something they can use with no strings attached.
What does that look like? It could be sending free, actionable business tips to everyone on your mailing list. It could also be offering a free eBook or special report on your website. (When the prospect shares their email address in order to get the free information, you will be able to stay in touch and continue to market to them over time.)
It might be a free informational tax seminar in a local coffee house or library especially now with the sweeping new tax reform. Tactics like these not only help you gain attention for your practice, but at the same time, they build your credibility and highlight your expertise.
When was the last time you made the choice to offer something of value with your marketing?
When did you last raise your head and take a good look around at your competition?
Do you remember the last time you evaluated the level of service you provide and challenged yourself and your team to kick it up a notch?
If it’s been a while, it may be time to devote attention to one or more of these areas if you want to pull ahead of the pack and make a notable success of your practice.
A quote that I really like because I’ve seen it come true in own practice is this: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
What this means for you is that your competitors are not paying much attention to this or just never seem to find the time to working on them. If you spend a few hours on a consistent basis to these areas, in a few short months, you will be far ahead of the rest.