According to Nielson, it turns out that people are four times more likely to buy from your firm if recommended by a friend, than if they Googled an accountant to help them.
Why is this?
Well, quite simply it’s because of trust. We trust our friends and family to have our best interest in mind. We naturally question a business that we have not previously done business with. This is why websites like TripAdvisor and Google Reviews thrive. We read other people’s reviews and believe what they say. It’s why every accounting firm needs to get case studies and testimonials.
Which leads me on to the crux of the matter. At the heart of every transaction there needs to be a relationship. Relationships lead to trust. And trust leads to people investing in your services without fear or worry.
Why firms get this wrong
The changes in technology means firms are doing more to generate A-grade referrals, new leads and enquiries. Accounting services are becoming more and more commoditised which means niche/specialist marketing is needed to show differentiation between firms.
That’s why the businesses that thrive are the ones that build relationships first, and sell second.
What Does This Look Like?
There are three relationships that all firms need to build.
Prospect relationships: These are relationships with people who have never done business with your firm. They are following you on social media, have downloaded your lead magnet and shown an interest in what you do.
As the relationship develops you will bring them into your community, they will either come for a meeting, have a call, or come to one of your events.
Client relationships: This is the relationship you are nurturing with your existing clients. These people know, like and trust you already.
Network relationships – I am not talking about BNI or 4Networking. I am talking about building a network of people who know your ideal client and you can build trust with. They will then refer you, and you can approach them with joint venture opportunities.
The Power of marketing to grow relationships
The reason why many firms forget to build relationships first, and sell second, is because it takes time (and effort) to build relationships.
This is where digital marketing activities can really help to leverage your time. For example, writing a weekly blog with helpful tips and strategies for your ideal client will save you time by not having to explain the same concept over and over.
Writing blogs/articles to answer questions you are asked on a regular basis will save you time and position you as an expert.
Sending out a monthly newsletter with a helpful article will keep you front of mind and build/grow relationships. Consistent newsletters and sharing of advice installs trust.
Posting regularly on LinkedIn will build trust with prospects and attract networking and joint venture opportunities.
Being consistent and personable on social media will show you are human and will attract leads and referrals.
Follow prospects, clients and influencers on Twitter and LinkedIn. Comment regularly and share their information, they will be thankful and return the favour.
Use video. Seven out of 10 buyers watch a video sometime during their buying process. Video builds trust faster than any other online marketing.
Why are relationships so important?
Only 3% of people are looking to buy your services immediately…
7% in the next three months
40% in the next two years
50% will never buy but may refer you.
These statistics alone show that if you don’t build relationships you are missing out on a huge percentage of opportunities.
About Amanda C Watts
Co-Founder of TwentyTwo Agency where we help accounting firms use marketing to build relationships with prospects & clients and generate more leads and sales. Our ethos is Relationships First, Sales Second. Relationships help you get remembered, recommended and referred.