Door knocking - commercial businesses | AccountingWEB

Door knocking - commercial businesses


Just thought I would ask if anyone has any experiences to share of a door-knocking type exercise. Perhaps to drop off literature or just to have a chat with business owners face to face.

An accountant I am working with is starting to do this in the next couple of weeks and has some nice brochures with some relevant messages.

I think he is quite brave as I'm pretty sure a lot of business people (accountants included) wouldn't much relish the idea of door knocking.

Has anyone in the group done it?  Any tips to pass on?



David Winch's picture

Go for it!    1 thanks

David Winch | | Permalink

Being different, especially outrageously different, will set him apart from his competitors.  Having a value-packed (see below) one-liner to get him past gate-keepers and persuade business owners to spend a little time with him will be vital.

I'd be interested to know what 'nice' and 'relevant' mean in relation to his brochures.  They'll be most effective if they address the "What's in it for me?" question that will be in the mind of every business owner he talks to.  They can best address this by offering 'relief' for 'pains' these people already know are hurting, worded in 'value outcome' language, and written largely in the second person.

Another key to effectiveness will be to sell just one thing at a time, and not a list of all the things he could possibly do.  So this may entail having several brochures, one for each principal area of his expertise, and only leaving the relevant brochure once he's established which is needed.

And of course, following up with these people over time - having gained their permission to do so - will enable him to acquire both the 'buy now' and the 'not now, but later' folk.

I hope this is helpful.

David Winch

Make Sales Without Selling and Get Paid What You're Worth

Tried it once    1 thanks

HudsonCo | | Permalink

Dropped off letters when I first started to save on postage. I got 2/100 enquiries but also saw one receptionist put it into the bin as I left.

karenreyburn's picture


karenreyburn | | Permalink

I haven't seen great successes that route, especially lately - I'm a huge fan of online marketing since that's where buyers are going these days.  That being said I always tell people to mix both online and offline, so would be interested to hear how he gets on!  There's a great research study done recently re online marketing for the accounting industry , you can access it here

Only if it's helpful - wouldn't want to discourage someone from trying something brave like that!  Just conscious that he may get more results from running webinars, making his website more engaging, etc. 

Karen Reyburn

Profitable Firm


MarkAOrr's picture

Great idea as long as he is as good as his brochure and.......    1 thanks

MarkAOrr | | Permalink

....his brochure is as good as him.

I was very interested in the statement "I'm a huge fan of online marketing since that's where buyers are going these days".  I think that is an incredible assumption and probably not true...yet.

I think your customers are where they are based and therefore this direct approach has several benefits that online and offline networking and other forms of marketing cannot give you.  For example, by going into the business you can see what they look like and how they operate and decide whether they may be good for you as well as you being good for them.  They can see that you are proactive and prepared to come out to them which is a great message in itself.

However, you could integrate face to face with online as an engagement tool.  So, you don't have a big flashy brochure.  You have a small easy to handle four page A6 or A5 printed on thick card.  You say a few good things about why you are different to all the other accountants locally and you offer them a series of more in depth fact sheets on an ongoing basis if they sign up to your Facebook or linked in page.  You will have to also cater for the non social media people because, believe it or not, there are loads of people who are risk averse who don't engage that way.  Of course that could be qualifier for you.  You may only want social media friendly clients or alternatively you may only want the ones who aren't.

Marketing is a dating game so you have to be very clear about what "type" you fancy before you go out on the pull.  Good luck


karenreyburn's picture

online marketing

karenreyburn | | Permalink

Thanks for your comment Mark!  No intention to turn this post into one about online marketing, but just wanted to say I definitely stand by the principle that buyers are much more using online options to learn about/connect with professional service firms.  The research study mentioned above discusses the fact that firms who generated more leads online had four times greater growth rates (and profitability) than those who didn't generate leads online.  From our own research with accounting firms, we find that most of them are missing out here, and I hate to see that happen!  

Still agree that a mix is needed, and that you want to be (either online or offline) where your potential customers are, as Mark notes.  If you want to go after the agriculture industry, running webinars will probably not be the way!!

All the best


MarkAOrr's picture

Assumptions can be dangerous

MarkAOrr | | Permalink

That is an interesting take.  I am often up far to early in the morning listening to Farming Today on Radio 4.  Interestingly many farmers have fully embraced the web because they can be isolated and time poor.  I expect the sensible ones with money to spend may well be interested in webinars.

I don't know how many accountants take part in social media.  I do know it is overhyped and although loads of people "have a profile" they do nothing at all with it.  So, they are not really there.  It is like people who are members of Gyms.  They may have joined the gym but you won't often find them there.

maxxy's picture

Great comments ... thanks :)

maxxy | | Permalink

@David - superb advice as ever :)  Nice and relevant means good quality print materials and relevant means semi-personalised content inside.  The content is being written at the moment for an insert into a wallet so I'll certainly refer to your post again to make sure it is on the right track with relief for pains and value outcome language (or at least try to!) and I'm sure it will get tweaked as things progress. I'm intending on making calls to book time slots in advance for him to drop the literature off with the owners direct agreement but I think we will split test this with cold door knocking too (just to see if the telemarketing cost and effort is worth it).  

Again with the follow ups we will try between us to make this as personalised as possible. But will keep an open mind too and just see how it pans out. 

Really good point about selling one thing at a time. There is so much conflicting advice out there currently along the lines of "stuffing the envelope" so that's certainly something to watch out for after considering your comments.   Thanks :)


@Hudsonco ... how irritating! I think I may have had to turn around and ask her to get it out of the bin!


@Mark Absolutely agree with your point about demonstrating that he is proactive and prepared to go out and make an effort to meet them and also your comment of what type of client you fancy before going out on the pull 


@Karen the audience he is targeting with this particular campaign are not the sort to hang out online although we do have things up our sleeve on the social media side of things for a later date and I agree that online is really important but all part of a mix.


I just hope he isn't going to hate me for this ... but he is up for it and knows it may be a bit tough so I think good on him and fingers crossed it will be OK for him.  If not I shall be back on here to eat humble pie. And let's hope it doesn't rain!


Any more comments greatly appreciated and thanks again :)



halessteve's picture

In my experience getting in early is important

halessteve | | Permalink

Talking from the other side of the fence. Whenever I have selected accountants in my businesses it has been at the start and in all cases we have not changed accountants since. 

At the time I was looking I would have read any literature or talked to anyone. After that, there are too many other activities and I would have been too busy.

For this reason, one of my businesses created a service which tells you which firms are registering on Companies House near your office every week. Initially we built it for several accountants to trial and we are delighted with the feedback. Now it would be great if others sign up for a free trial. No commitment, no credit card required - just a free four week trial telling you which firms are registering on Companies House near your office every week. 

Incredibly about 2,500 new firms register on Companies House each week- and from the work we've down about 80% register before selecting an accountant. 

So please sign-up for a free trial. Hopefully there'll be some firms opening up near you without a an accountant wanting to hear from you. And please let me know how you get get on.

Many thanks.








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