Mark Lee explains why you need to work hard to make your firm stand out
I’m often struck by the difficulty many accountants have when trying to identify what’s special about them or their firm. When asked, almost everyone uses the same adjectives, the same aspirational service levels and the same so-called distinguishing features. What’s really special? What really makes you stand out and memorable?
Not a lot, it would seem.
Do you use variations on any of the following to describe how your firm stands out?
- We provide a partner-led service.
- We don’t just prepare your accounts and tax returns.
- We aim to be your long-term business partners.
- We avoid surprise fees.
- We specialise in helping SME businesses.
- We keep in touch with you throughout the year.
Good. But what’s really memorable, special and different about you or your firm? Why should a prospective client who is comparing you with another accountant choose you? In what ways do you or your firm stand out as different to the other options? It’s important to recognise what ‘different’ means in his context. Simply, in what ways will a client benefit more from working with you than with any of the other accountants out there?
If you haven’t thought about this you should do – assuming you want to win more clients. And you can only do this if you know what the competition are claiming make them memorable, special and different. Do you?
This is also a critical issue when networking. How easy do you make it for the people you meet to act as your advocate? Even if they like you and want to help you, what do you expect them to say? “I know this ‘great’ accountant” or “I know this ‘great’ employment lawyer” or whatever. What can they say to evidence what makes you ‘great’? What makes you stand out or remarkable? What would you want them to say about you? How do they know this?
You’re not alone. Few accountants or other professionals have thought about HOW they market themselves, WHAT messages they project and WHY anyone else should recommend them. Too many focus simply on an ‘elevator’ type statement that simply sets out what they do and who they do it for. It’s a start, but it’s not enough.
ICPA members are welcome to book a time with me for a no-obligation chat and help – go to www.calendly.com/bookmarklee/icpahotline
- Mark Lee works with sole practitioner accountants who want more out of their practice. See: bookmarklee.co.uk/savvy
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