Ever hear this? Or worse, tell yourself this? It's normal. It's because we've grown up with the idea that 'sales is sleazy.' Well, that's not true. Sales is helping someone find what they need and you have it. In the past, to get clients, you'd have to attend networking events, then pray for referrals from friends and family. However, with the dawn of the internet, it's easier than ever to find your ideal client. Partners should be spending more than 50% of their time landing new clients, and you're about to find out how. Relying on referrals is not driving growth in your firm. It's a prayer you survive for the next few years and don't lose any clients. That's a recipe for disaster. To start landing clients, let's take a step back from strategies.
How to Find YOUR Ideal Client:
First, think about: Who is my market? You can't say everyone... We recommend here at Jetpack to specialize. That means becoming an expert in an industry. When you do that, you're able to:
Craft specific services to that niche
Craft specific messages to that niche that help you stand out from other firms
Know where your ideal client hangs out and spend your marketing dollars wisely
To begin narrowing your niche, think about:
Which of my clients is most happy to pay for my services?
Who do I enjoy the most working with?
Who am I in a position to serve the best?
Which client or niche is under or poorly served today?
Answering these questions helps you sniper the right niche. Once you do that, you're able to get into the head of one specific type of client and not dozens. Plus, you have more specific answers where you will find them hanging out (what media). Next, think about your messaging. When you understand your ideal client, you can craft a message that they are drawn to. Compare: We help small businesses lower their tax bills and stay compliant. vs. We help top construction companies increase cash flow by 154% in under 30 days, guaranteed. This second one is more specific. But, if you know the construction industry, you know they struggle with cashflow problems regularly. That's their big pain point you can tap into. Tapping into your customer's pain is the key to killer marketing.
Actual Strategies to Bring in New Clients:
Marketing has two sides to it. Inbound marketing is meant to 'pull' clients in. Outbound marketing is more of an aggressive 'push' on clients. Outbound can produce faster results but is grueling at times. Let's look at inbound strategies first. Your niche will determine what kind of inbound strategies to use. Looking at the construction industry again, based on research they might be interested in:
A weekly 15-minute podcast for construction workers
A blog that targets financial regulations for construction firm owners
Content on top construction sites
An e-book targeting top issues construction companies face
Here are my best tips on creating compelling content for your audience
Include compelling stories that evoke emotion and make the client say 'that's me'
Avoid business jargon. It doesn't make you look smarter but more boring
Use an editor to make sure you're putting out good content and to get a fresh set of eyes on it
Use Linkedin to Target the Right People for Driving Growth:
Let's start talking about outbound because this is where most accountants need help. No, you don't have to start cold-calling per se. We will use a special Linkedin strategy we've used effectively for years. Does it still work? Like magic. First, set up your profile. The most important pieces are your headline, summary and current position. Everything after that gets buried anyway.
Include your position at the top
Make sure your firm's name is correct and link to the Company's Linkedin page.
In your headline have: We help [Niche], do [core benefit for niche] so that they can get [ideal result].
Check your summary include notable clients and results you've got
In your position and summary have 5-10 sentences that talk directly to your clients.
If you want a good example of a Linkedin page, look at my co-author's Linkedin - Joe Cassandra. Second, find your ideal clients. The best place to look is Linkedin groups. Don't join where your competitors are but where your ideal clients are. For construction industries, join "construction owners group" type groups. I wouldn't spend much time posting or commenting. You mostly want to look in the "members" section and find those who fit your ideal client profile. Third, start reaching out to 10-15 people each week. All you need to do is request an invite to connect with them. You don't want to just hit 'connect.' You need to add some personalization. For example: "Hi Jack, I saw we shared a few connections and groups. Your background running [NAME] company really interested me as I'm in the same industry. I would love to hear more. Let's connect if you're open to it. David. " You should get a 40-60% acceptance rate when you personalize the message. Some will connect and immediately reach out. Others you need to push a bit. That leads us to step four Follow up with your prospects/connections. I like to send four messages through email to my new connections. You don't want to be interacting through Linkedin. These four messages are simple requests to jump on the phone and discuss any issues they have in their business. Most sales take 7-10 touchpoints. You can't give up if they don't answer your initial message. You can find what scripts to use inside the audiobook chapter.
Revisit your market and message. Is it concrete and easy for clients and prospects to understand?
Determine the medium that is best for your ideal client. Have you created content for them?
Have a dedicated staff member to build your inbound strategies and create content.
Check your Linkedin profile and have all your staff and team dedicate 30 minutes per day to connect with ideal clients.
Stop going to networking events that are sucking up time and not helping with driving growth