3 questions you must answer before spending time and money seeking out new clients

Nov 7, 2023 | Business development

l am regularly approached by accountants who want to know how they can get more clients. And many more accountants are asking each other similar questions in groups on facebook.

Invariably they want to know if social media is worthwhile, where to advertise, what marketing activities to pursue, what networking activities might be worthwhile, how to get more traffic to their website and much more – all in a similar vein.

They want short cuts, they want to know what works and what would be a waste of time and money.

Today I’m going to outline how I address such questions.

First things first

Let me start by pointing out that almost ALL marketing activities – including those involving social media – will result in people looking you up online.

If the profiles they find (eg: on Linkedin or facebook) and your website do not present you well enough, all of your efforts will have been wasted.

That is why it so key to sort these out asap. You don’t have to spend a fortune, but your profiles and website do need to reinforce the messages that you and your marketing efforts convey.   You’ll find my advice re Linkedin profiles here >>> And my advice re websites here >>>

The questions

I have explained on this blog before, standard generic answers to the common questions accountants ask me are not much help in real life.

And whilst they are all valid questions, the answers of most relevance to YOU will only be clear after YOU have answered some KEY questions about you and your practice.

In my 5 Ms model I set these out as follows:

Motive – What do you want?
‘More clients’ is too vague.

Market– Who are you targeting?
‘Anyone who needs a new accountant’ is too vague.

Message – What do you need to say to get your target market to become clients?
‘We’re open for business’ is too vague.

Only when you have more specific replies to those 3 questions can we move on to consider the other 2 Ms

Media – Choosing which Media to use is a decision best made only after you are clear about your target Market, where you might best expect to reach them and the Message you want to get through to them.

Method –  Having determined your preferred Media to help get your Message to your Market, you then need to consider which tactics to adopt and how best to use that Media to get your Message to your target Market.

The 3 key questions

Here are the 3 key questions I typically ask before I can help accountants clarify their Motive, Market and Message:

  1. What sort of new clients do you really want?
  2. What services do you want to provide to those clients?
  3. What level of fees do you want these clients to pay?

The purpose of these questions is help move you away from attracting the wrong sort of clients, the wrong sort of work and the wrong sort of fees.

What else?

Invariably we have to dig down further into the answers to the 3 questions to get to answers that we can work with. And only THEN does a practical answer become clear as regards the question: How can I get more clients?

Simply stated then, the more precise you can be when replying to each of those 3 questions, the easier it can be to determine what you can do to get more of the clients you want and to get them paying the fees you want to earn.  And the greater the prospect of such tactics being successful.

I should stress that ‘wanting’ good clients who will pay high fees is rarely enough.

And, regardless of the promises, assurances and stories you hear from snake-oil sales people, social media experts and marketing gurus, there is next to NOTHING you can do that will get you instant results. Unless you are prepared to take on low value clients wanting simple compliance services for low fees.

If you want more than this you have to know who you want to reach, to be able to inspire in them the belief that you can provide the services you want to deliver (and which they need) and that your fees for those services will represent good value for money.

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