If you don’t drive your business, you will be driven out of business.
– B C Forbes
I’ve undergone a bit of a transformation in my thinking over the past six months.
When I was directing the marketing for the big tax firm, and coaching tax professionals across the country, it was important to maintain a certain distance from clients and Members…really, well–because it was easier that way. Give an inch, clients take a mile, right?
Well, it also kept my clients at arm’s length. This, though, was how I was trained in consulting and coaching–and it’s how I operated my business at first.
But for professional service firms (like mine, mind you), you’d think that would be appropriate, right? After all, you get paid by the hour…
Just the other day, I was getting coffee at my little local shop, and the owner was putting a sign up chastising anyone who would come and NOT purchase something (and “steal the wifi”). Can you see how limited this thinking is?
Truly…if someone were to come into that coffee shop, “steal” the wifi–don’t you think that person would be a good candidate to come BACK at some point?
The answer, of course, is yes.
I’m in San Diego right now, meeting personally with Mari Smith, the director of the International Social Media Association, and she’s a marketing vet. What she (and many others) are reminding me to see is that the MORE you give away…the more, indeed, that you receive.
It’s a spiritual principle I’ve grown up with since Sunday School…and it’s becoming even more pertinent for professionals in the age of Social Media.
Of course, you’ve gotta be smart about how and what you give away. It’s about delivering your specialized knowledge–and it should *feel* like it’s really from you (thought it’s not a bad idea to share 3rd-party wisdom that your clients care about).
And to do that–well, you’ve gotta build your herd. Your list.
The BEST news? As a tax professional, you have all the contact information from your clients–as long as you use intake forms, you can contact them to your heart’s delight…and you should.
These days–the most secure businesses are ones with secure relationships with their clients. It’s the main USP (Unique Selling Proposition) you have in your local market. So don’t neglect your list.
Since I’m writing this real quick, on a break from working with Mari, I reached out to my friend Dave Dee, and had him write a guest article. You can check out more from him at www.DaveDee.com.
How To Keep Your Client Pipeline Full
By Dave Dee
There is a very successful chiropractor who was asked what the “secret” was that allowed him to attract so many great clients to his practice.
“I don’t know one way to get 40 clients, but I know 40 ways to get one client and I use them all.”
You’re not going to find “just one” way to keep your pipeline full, at least not in the beginning when a referral only business isn’t an option.
The good news is there are many things you can do to bring in groups of high-quality, high-paying clients.
So what do you do?
1. Chasing the client is the wrong way to go about this.
Cold calling raises all kinds of ugly thoughts in the prospect’s mind: If he is so good, why is he cold calling? Why isn’t he busy enough already?
Your marketing needs to be designed to get the client to chase you. To be pre-sold before you ever meet with them.
2. Focus your marketing attention on high-leverage activities that you can automate. A high-leverage marketing activity is something that will continue to steadily pump out great clients long after you stop putting “manual labor” into it.
When you get a client by knocking on their door cold, you can’t automate it to get another client without physically doing the activity again. On the other hand…
When you develop a sales letter or website that reliably and predictably brings in new clients, it can be run automatically over time. This is also true of advertisements that work, response-driven business cards that work (not a traditional business card!) and dozens of other strategies.
3. Once you develop a strategy that works, document it and keep running it consistently over time.
Remember: No matter how busy your business gets, keep the marketing machine rolling.
Wise words for you to keep in mind, as tax season comes around the corner.