How to convert more prospects into warm leads, more of the time

 

My client had had a very successful presentation at a seminar. As always with these things lots of people came up to talk to her afterwards. In fact there was someone who was in a role and position to give her real work who was really interested in her practice and use of online accounting packages such as Xero.

Is this a lead? No.

Is this a prospect? Yes.

So, what do you need to do next to convert them into a client is a challenge which perplexes many accountant. Do you go in and sell hard? Or play the softer waiting game until they are ready to buy from you? Decisions, decisions….

Just because someone is interested in your services and making all the right noises doesn’t make them a lead. But it does mean that there is a strong possibility that they may become a lead and client in the future. If they are a lead they will be actively inviting you to have a further conversation about how they can use your services. Whereas all you know at the moment is they are not yet ready to buy from you. Sadly far too many accountants, at this stage of the sales process, go in too hard on the sales speak and can often frighten potential clients away.

So, the ever present problem of how to turn them into a pre-qualified lead, without scaring them away is still to be solved.

This is where your ‘keeping in touch’ processes and systems need to kick in. Your aim now is to build up the relationship and mutual trust between the two of you, so that when they ARE ready to buy they give you a call first.

Keeping in touch processes could include:
* connecting with them on LinkedIn and Twitter and regularly chatting to them through these mediums
* sending them regular articles of interest to them – particularly if you or someone in your firm has written them
* getting their permission to add them to your mailing list for your department or firm’s regular newsletter
* getting a date in the diary for a phone call or face-to-face meeting to get to know them and their business better
* sending them a handwritten card saying how much you enjoyed meeting them
* inviting them to accompany you to an event or seminar which they will be interested in

How do you convert your prospects into pre-qualified leads?

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I help professionals, mostly accountants and lawyers become the Go-To-Expert. After joining BDO LLP in 2004, I have now almost clocked up ten years working predominantly with accountants helping them achieve their career and business goals. Unusually for someone with an Engineering Degree, I accidentally became a writer and used my knowledge on social media to write the current best-selling and award-winning book on networking, The FT Guide To Business Networking. (over 100 five star reviews on amazon) In 2012, the book I always wanted to write, 'How to make partner and still have a life' was published. In March 2014, my next book, 'The Go-To-Expert: How to build your reputation, differentiate yourself from the competition and win business' is published. People frequently talk about me as someone who really knows her stuff – which may be the reason I have, over the last decade, worked with over 300 partners, coached and trained over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. 

I am honoured to have been asked to judge the British Accountancy Awards in 2011 and 2012. I am a member of the Accountant's Club Global Advisory Panel, and write regularly on practice management issues for CCH.

Myself, and Jon (my co-director) are approved Growth Accelerator Coaches. This means that we can if you are eligible, through the Growth Accelerator scheme, help you get some coaching funded by the scheme. Click here for more details to see whether you are eligible for the scheme.

The types of work I am currently helping my small professional practice clients with, includes:

1) Helping a £2m t/o practice grow to £4m by restructuring the firm and helping the management team step up 

2) Working with a £1m t/o practice to grow to £2m by generating more leads, and getting more work from existing clients

3) Enabling a £300k t/o practice grow to £1m by helping it sort out it's profitability by adding in efficient systems and processes, and increasing the quality of the  lead generation by marketing to a niche

4) Facilitating the growth of a one man band practice into a 3 person practice by helping increase the lead generation and conversion rate of leads, plus keeping the practice owner accountable to his goals.

The Excedia Group was founded by myself and Jon Baker to bring clarity, perspective and knowledge to help our clients achieve their business goals. We specialise in working with highly technical individuals, typically lawyers and accountants, helping them to get out of their comfort zone and build a profitable and sustainable client portfolio whilst handling the challenges of leading a business. 

My work splits into about 50% Executive & Business Coaching with Partners & potential partners, with the rest split between training, consultancy and writing.

My articles & quotes regularly appear in the press, e.g. FT, Guardian, Accountancy Age, Accounting Today, Economia, ACCA's publications. I regularly blog at Partnership Potentialventure-NowJoined up networking and How to make partner.

To book me for a speaking engagement please contact my PR Agency, Meerkat PR, on 020 8563 0182, and ask for David Stoch. For any other work related enquiries, please contact me directly.

My clients have included: Deloitte LLP, KPMG LLP, BDO LLP, Haines Watts, MSI Global Alliance, UK200 group, Macintyre Hudson LLP amongst others.