Why now is the best time to win new businessby
Since the Covid pandemic broke, accountants have seen long held loyalties disrupted and the acceleration of digital transformation, which has made location irrelevant for small businesses looking for an accountant.
At AccountingWEB Live Expo I will be speaking on a new business masterclass, which will be packed with proven business tips, tactics and strategies to revolutionise your client base.
The session made me consider how the way we do business with our clients has changed since the pandemic. The past two years have been a struggle, but with every cloud comes a silver lining, which is an opportunity many firms have taken advantage of.
Our firm, for example, has grown at its fastest rate since the pandemic began. Many firms I know have reported the same.
You have probably done so too without realising that it is down to this monumental societal shift. And this big opportunity will result in an easier path to new business for a switched on practitioner.
A shift in communication
Many cultural changes have taken place in society since the pandemic began including:
- A greater appreciation of our health service
- A greater awareness of the impact of our actions on the climate crisis
- And (importantly for us) a change in the way we are comfortable communicating.
Prior to the pandemic, Zoom calls were barely a thing - reserved mainly for the big corporates. Now even your grandma or aunt knows what a zoom call is and has probably taken part in one.
Reza Hooda will be speaking at AccountingWEB Live Expo on 1-2 December. Register now to attend one of his sessions.
People have become more comfortable with technology and having video calls. ‘Zooming’ even became a verb.
What would have probably taken five to 10 years to happen societally has taken just 12 months as a result of the pandemic
Client expectation has changed
So why is this a big opportunity for the accounting profession? Well the way your clients expect and are able to work with you has changed.
People are more comfortable talking to their accountants now via a Zoom call. At the same time cloud accounting has made it easier for us to service our clients from anywhere in the country.
Clients realise they no longer need to have a local accountant. Lockdown has shown that they don’t need to pop into their accountant’s office to drop off records.
From video calls to cloud software to apps that scan receipts, everything they need from an accountant can be dealt with remotely using the technology they’re comfortable using.
This means that the potential market for any size accounting firm is now very much national rather than local.
And the accountants that are not only tech savvy but those that are crystal clear on who their ideal clients are will reap the rewards.
Online presence is more important than ever
Not only has our clients’ behaviour changed when it comes to communication but also how people find their accountant has changed.
The in-person networking events, social events, BBQs have waned over the pandemic and taken more people online.
Your online presence is therefore more important than ever. What does your website say about you? Are you talking to your ideal client and the problems you solve or does your website look like every other accountant’s website with a long list of services and a boring history of your firm?
What does your Linkedin profile say about you? Or your firm’s Facebook page? Assuming you have these? Because your clients are checking you out online before they get in touch with you.
Even if you have come recommended, prospects are reviewing your online presence before they decide whether to get in touch with you or not.
Know your ideal client
This represents a big opportunity for those firms that really get to know who their ideal clients are. The ones that they can serve better than anyone else. The ones they truly understand at heart. And that can’t be every SME in the country.
If you’re serious about growing your firm and winning new business then you seriously want to consider specialising - or ‘niching down’ as they’d say across the pond.
Because when you try to appeal to everyone, you actually appeal to no one. But when you have a very ideal client in mind, you get to know what keeps them awake at night, what their hopes and desires are and in turn that helps you to position yourself as the solution to their problems and the guide who’s going to help them get there.
And internally you can implement systems which makes it much more profitable to service the same type of clients.
Generalists don’t cut it anymore
Being a generalist just doesn’t cut it anymore. Your clients want more. And they’re willing to pay more to work with specialists over generalists.
Because when you become a specialist, people seek you out. Savvy clients want to work with the expert because they feel you will understand them better and because you deal with people like them. You are the one best positioned to help solve their problems and guide them to their ultimate goals.
And best of all, they’d be happy to pay you a premium when you’re the specialist. Just think of the GP vs brain surgeon.
So whether that be specialising by industry (eg dentists) or by activity (eg tax planning) or by life cycle of a business (eg start ups) you need to be making yourself different in order to become the expert that gets sought out.
Because when you don’t, there is little that differentiates you from other accountants.
And where there is no differentiation then the only thing prospects can compare you on is price - which never ends well. No one wants to be in a race to the bottom.
So embrace the change and use it to your advantage to grow your firm exponentially this year and beyond.
For more content like this connect with Reza on LinkedIn. He will be speaking more on this topic about winning new business at the AccountingWEB Live Expo on 1-2 December - register now if you haven’t already!
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Reza Hooda is a practice owner, coach and mentor to accounting firms worldwide. He can be found sharing weekly video insights on Linkedin and has an active YouTube channel with bite size practice growth tips and strategies. Over the last 13 years he has quadrupled turnover, raised net...