On one of the business networks I follow a member recently asked for a recommendation to a down-to-earth, friendly, non-judgemental, accountant. He explained his requirements in a little more detail – but not much, although he did state:
“To be ABSOLUTELY clear, I am NOT looking for someone who has intentions of turning me into a major annual revenue stream. I am looking for someone who is good at remedial work and charges a fair fee for the very limited amount of work that is involved.
My affairs are VERY SIMPLE. I need support, encouragement and creativity!”
I have seen many such requests in the past.
Four names came up in recommendations on the forum. Each of the accountants then posted a message in reply. Surprisingly none of them appear to have made direct contact with the prospect. Leaving that to one side, just compare these four different approaches:
I am indeed an accountant with a personality! I look at accountants as being people who should feel like a part of your business, not a faceless person you send your paperwork to once a year. My firm look after owner managed businesses only, so we know what you are going through each year.
I’d be very happy to have a chat to you at your convenience if it would be of interest to you.
My number is ….
Hope you’re all enjoying the snow!
I can cover anything from a small tax return to also help with a creative solution to ensure your best interests are looked after.
Take a look at my profile and let me know if I can support you.
If you are looking for sole trader advice, then it is something I can help you with.
We specialise in self employed sole traders, and are based not too far away in [county] so a meeting half way would be easy.
There is no charge for an initial meeting, and we can discuss your requirements.
Also, we find that many of our clients achieve savings of up to 50% on what they would normally expect to pay for accountancy services.
The company website ……has more details of our services, as well as video interviews.
Recommendations within [this was a link to recommendations he has received from a variety of people on the forum]
Four very different approaches.
Given that, in each case, the accountants had been recommended by existing clients, their comments are not what you might call ‘pro-active’. None of them appear to have made direct contact with the prospect whose contact details are easily accessible on the site.
Only accountant one has provided a phone number.
Maybe they were concerned they’d seem desperate if they contacted the prospect directly. I presume they don’t use direct mail or telemarketing – which seeks to do the same things with complete strangers.
Or maybe they were consciously just going through the motions after having been recommended. In practice perhaps this isn’t the sort of client they want to take on. And there is a key lesson here. Do your clients, business contacts, friends and family know what sort of referrals you would like to receive? Do you know?
What do YOU think of these four responses?