There’s a simple equation: More leads = more clients = more fees = more profits.
At least that’s the theory.

For the equation to work the leads we generate need to be those we want. Typically that means people who need our services, can afford to pay for them and who we would be happy to have as clients.

Generating the wrong type of leads can simply absorb a lot of time and end up being rather frustrating. For example, if these people only want a simple compliance service at the lowest possible price. (Unless of course those are the leads you really want).

The additional profits we seek are dependent on having more of the clients who want the services we want to deliver and who are willing to pay the fees we want to charge for those services. If we know who these clients are we can focus our attention on generating leads of the right kind.

Three examples help demonstrate why this is important:

  1. Many accountants tell me that they have too many clients who only want to pay low fees. Invariably this is because those are the clients they attracted when they started their practice. Their lead generation efforts were quite simple and weren’t focused on who they really wanted as clients. Indeed, that’s also why they are still attracting only the wrong type of new clients too.
  2. Ever since I started the Tax Advice Network in 2007 I have been clear on the website and in all marketing and promotional messages that it is not a resource for FREE tax advice. The leads we seek are from those people and accountants who want tax advice worth paying for. I could easily have generated thousands more leads for members of the Network if I hadn’t made this distinction. But no one would have thanked me for doing so. Those aren’t the leads that tax advisers want from the Network.
  3. Often accountants’ websites fail to make clear who they really want as clients. The messages on the websites are pretty interchangeable with other accountants’ and appeal only to people who think all accountants are pretty much the same. If this applies to your website and promotional messages it means your leads are probably going to seek out the cheapest possible service. And that’s probably NOT what you really want.

Let’s use an analogy to look at what we could be doing differently.

It’s a long time since I was looking for a date and it may be the same for you. But I have friends who are still dating. Either way I’m sure you are familiar with the concept of someone looking for a partner – whether for a one-off ‘occasion’ or with a longer term relationship in mind.

Imagine you have a friend who asks you for help in getting a date. You could start talking about dating apps, clubs, groups and other places where they might meet someone of their dreams.

But what if your friend looks a complete mess? Their hair is greasy and unkempt? Their clothes old, dirty and more unfashionable?

Would you ignore all this and still about the clubs and apps they could use. Or might you first suggest that their current look is likely to limit the number and type of people who will be interested in them. One way or another, if you’re a good friend you will probably help to manage their expectations. The bottom line being that until they clean themselves up they won’t be able to attract the sort of person they are really hoping to meet.

You might simply suggest that their success in finding a suitable date depends, in part, on thinking about what their dream date might be looking for, where those people go to find dates and what they enjoy doing. At its simplest these days that means choosing the ‘right’ online dating app. I’m no expert but I understand that the sort of people looking for dates on Match.com are probably quite different from those on Tinder, Bumble or Grinder.

Pretty much the same points apply to our marketing and lead generation. When an accountant asks me for help here, I will rarely start by suggesting which apps, media and messages to use. People who do this tend to have a vested interest. You’ve probably heard the old expression: To someone with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. In the same way, if you seek advice from someone who offers a specific service, chances are they will try to convince you that you need the very service they offer!

I only offer strategic advice when it comes to advising on lead generation. And I use my 5Ms model.

Your first M is your Motive. And that is get more (good) clients.

Your second M is your Market. WHO do you want to reach? Who would make a good lead (in same way as you might think about who would make a for a good date)?

Your third M is your Message. What do you need to say or do to appeal to your ideal new leads? (In the same way as you might think about what would you need to say or do to attract your ideal date?)

The remaining Ms – prompt us to THEN consider what Media to use to help get our Message to our Market. And then what Methods to use to get the best results from the Media we are using.

Returning to the equation I offered at the start of this piece. If you want to generate more leads, you need to start by being a tad more specific than you have been before as regards what a good ‘lead’ looks like. And, by the way, If your real ambition is ‘more profits’ please remember that this doesn’t always mean you need to focus on lead generation!

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