- What Is Dream Firms?
- Dream Client Acquisition
- Building Trust
What Isn’t Working & What’s Crushing It
- What’s the Time Investment for Good Marketing?
- Dream Firms
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator
- Free CPE Credits—CPA Academy
- Dream Firms’ Facebook Group: Proactive Accountants
- Dream Firms’ Youtube Channel
Meet Tyler S. Clark
Tyler S. Clark is the co-founder of Dream Firms, where they create generational wealth and impact for entrepreneurial accountants by systemizing how they attract, win, and retain the business of their dream clients. This is accomplished by delivering cutting-edge online training material coupled with dynamic coaching experiences while providing an incredibly high degree of accountability. Tyler graduated from Saint Joseph’s University and built and sold his own accounting firm before launching Dream Firms.
What is Dream Firms?
From a high-level, they help entrepreneurial accountants acquire and retain their dream clients. They like to start by helping accounting firm owners identify who or what that is. Most accounting firm owners start their own firm and then begin to generate a bit of revenue – taking any sort of business they can get. Once they create a bit of breathing room, “the game starts to be played in a very different way.”
At the point that you start having a bit of breathing room with some consistent revenue coming into your firm, and this allows you to be more selective about the opportunities you say ‘yes’ to and the ones you say ‘no’ to. This strategic decision is exceptionally beneficial from a client onboarding perspective. “You also have to be very strategic about what you say to the market. Some accounting firm owners will say, ‘I don’t have high-quality clients. How do I get them?’ What is the message that we are communicating and who are you specifically communicating it to?”
Next, you move into the acquisition phase, and that’s all about building trust. “That’s really what we hone in on, and the focus is on how we expedite the trust-building process.”
Dream Client Acquisition
“I’ve conducted well over a thousand one-on-one coaching calls in the last year with entrepreneurial accountants, and the first question I normally ask is who’s your dream client?” Tyler says the most common thing that he hears in these calls is the misconception that a service is a niche.
Saying that you want CFO-level clients isn’t what Tyler is looking for when he asks that question. “Saying CFO isn’t the same thing as having a well-defined dream client that would be in need of CFO-type services.” So, defining a dream client takes more into account that just the type of services that they need.
Tyler says that one of the categories to consider is revenue size. When you begin to think about your dream client, you should ideally be looking at businesses with a revenue size of at least six figures in annual revenue, and for more premium services you’ll need to target companies in the $1M–$5M range or those with at least 10 employees, which can be easily identified using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator.
Another misconception that often crops up in his coaching sessions is the idea that criteria like “they take my advice” equates to a dream client type. “I love that you want to be seen as that advisor, but how do we target someone that’s willing to take advice?” adds Tyler. When it comes to the dream client acquisition, the important thing is being able to focus on a particular client-type that you serve—essentially, finding a niche to serve.
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Building trust can be hard and take a lot of time. Tyler’s key advice in building trust is to start by putting yourself in your prospect’s shoes. They’re trying to make a large value judgment, whether that’s booking a call with you or buying your services. Tyler recommends starting by Googling yourself.
“How sharp are the various social media profiles you’ve created? If you created a Twitter account but have never Tweeted, that may reflect poorly on your reputation with someone that really values a presence on Twitter.” Being consistent, Tyler says, is the easiest way to build, keep, and maintain trust. If you’ve created a social media profile that you have no intention of keeping up, delete it.
Another great way to build trust is to generate reviews. “Online reviews are the digital equivalency of gold!” You can tell people how much of an expert you are in your particular niche, or you can let your existing clients help convince prospects of that fact.
During the conversation, David pitched in saying that when it comes to reviews, the number you need is relevant to your market. “If you have a competitor that has no reviews, then picking up three to seven reviews immediately elevates you to the top. If you have a competitor that has 60, 70, 80, or 100 reviews, even if you pick up half a dozen to a dozen reviews, it’s still elevating your status.”
Tyler says that they’ve done a study on what would be the most competitive landscape in the United States for accounting, bookkeeping, and tax services, and they found that it was New York City. “What we found is that one 5-star review puts you ahead of 70% of all other accounting firms in the most competitive market in the US. Seven 5-star reviews puts you in the top 10% of accounting firms in that market.”
Lastly, what are your credentials? “Not just your CPA, but what are the other publications and thought leaders that are willing to host you?” shared Tyler. That builds credibility and trust quickly in the online era.
Tyler has a saying that he’s fond of: “You only get one reputation in this life.”
What Isn’t Working & What’s Crushing It
Paid advertising has been lauded as the golden child of marketing. It has been described as the number one way to grow your business over the last decade. “The proverbial silver bullet of Facebook ads and Google ads” have quickly lost relevance and have decreased in efficacy. One of Tyler’s mentors has stated that “the days of putting a dollar into Facebook ads and getting two dollars out are gone and never coming back.” Traffic & Funnels stated that if you’re not generating $100k per month in revenue, you shouldn’t even begin with paid advertising.
The cost of paid advertising has risen dramatically over the last two years. “In my honest opinion, you have to be very careful in choosing to go down that rabbit hole, because it’s a large commitment of time and capital.” David jumped in and said that Facebook, or Meta as it’s now called, will continue to buy up digital properties like Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus in order to get in front of as many people as possible. He believes that the digital advertising industries are making a shift to figure out the paid advertising bit and that once they figure it out they will either come back to paid advertising or pivot to something new.
Tyler said the thing that is working is a concept presented by Gary Vaynerchuk, or GaryVee. “He said that everybody thinks that social media is for kids, and really, what you should be thinking about it as is the current state of the Internet.” Tyler likes to help his clients understand that social media is the current state of the Internet. He isn’t saying to go do dances on TikTok, but he is advocating for using social media the right way. When you’re specifically engaging the thought leaders and business owners of your selected niche, you’re doing it right. “People are hungry for niche-specific content. They’re looking for experts to help them.” If you stay focused on and really engage with your niche, Tyler believes that “social media is still the bluest ocean for accounting professionals.”
If you are aware of where the attention is and engage your dream clients, those people will begin to notice you and think to themselves, “…wait, is this accountant niched in my area of expertise? My accountant isn’t. I wonder if they know something that they don’t.” You’re looking to create space for yourself, to differentiate yourself. One way that you can start doing this is through commenting on the existing content that others have created that you find useful.
“Sometimes people overemphasize the need to have really high-brow, intellectual comments. And don’t get me wrong, I’m always a quality over quantity person. But this is a paralysis by analysis. Just saying, ‘Hey this is a great piece of content. Thanks for sharing!’ Boom, you’re top of mind,” said Tyler.
There are so many different tactics that can be used to engage and attract your dream clients, but the important thing is to put yourself in their shoes. “What would get you excited if you were in their shoes? That is the fundamental lesson to me of all marketing.”
What’s the Time Investment for Good Marketing?
“Every single business owner should have three hours of deep focus, uninterrupted, working on their business every single day.” You have to build systems that generate a predictable result by following a repeatable process. So, setting aside time to work on something that will continuously provide results, you can see how important that would be. Tyler clarified that you aren’t perpetually trapped in commenting on people’s content and focusing on marketing. Carve out the time and reap the benefits.
Tyler noted that 99% of accounting firms have no outbound marketing. None. “Even if you dedicate just one hour per day to something related to marketing, you will accelerate yourself to your goals so much faster.” Even just having a very basic content marketing strategy in which you create a little bit of content, then you elevate it on social media, and then you delegate that task to someone else, you will see compounding benefits from that.
We covered a ton of great information in the podcast, so if you’re after more detailed information, be sure to check out the full episode! If you want to learn more about Tyler and how his company is helping entrepreneurial accountants build generational wealth and impact, you can connect with him via his website, Facebook group, or Youtube channel!