I received the following message recently. (Edited to remove identifying information):
I feel this will to be of interest to you.
My 3 most recent clients told me their reasons for now doing business with [ABC Accountants].
1 – They only ever had communication with their previous accountant once a year at year end.
2 – I was the only accountant who was promoting himself and looking to grow his business.
3 – They had to pay an audit bill once a year which normally proved to be a big headache and difficult on their cash flow (as opposed to a payment plan from €29 per week).
Since May 2010 in particular, I have met some great companies, from sole practitioners to SME’s.
I have spoken to at least 30 business owners and given them some good information that they can use as a “bargaining tool” with their accountants.
As I started to read this I thought it was an interesting example of someone trying to be more innovative – as I recommend in many of my blog posts, talks and seminars for accountants. I thought he was proudly telling me about the success of his efforts.
Then I read the final line:
Mark, as a contact of mine on Linkedin.com, if you wish to have a conversation, about options to help you overcome any challenges you are having, I am more than happy to have a chat.
That’s when I realised this is simply a round robin and that the sender has taken a big risk in spamming all of his linkedin contacts. That’s really NOT a good idea. It’s likely to alienate many of the recipients who may look for a way to disconnect or blacklist the offender.
Then I went back and reread the earlier parts of the email more critically. Interestingly the sender starts by referencing 3 new clients but later mentions he has “spoken to at least 30 business owners”. Is it unfair to assume that he has only converted 1 in 10 of those into clients? That’s not a hit rate I’d want to shout about.
And if I were being picky I’d also suggest that the three opening points are all rather weak.
- This says nothing about the accountant in question – just what other accountants do.
- How many other people would move their affairs to an accountant “who was promoting himself and looking to grow his business”. Even assuming it’s true, it’s barely worth mentioning as promotional messages should instead focus on prospective benefits to clients/prospects.
- Given that only companies with turnovers above £6.5m are audited I found it really odd to see reference to the difficulties with paying audit fees contrasted with “a payment plan from €29 per week”. It doesn’t really make sense to me. Would it impress prospective clients? I think not.
My conclusion. A poor attempt by someone who hasn’t thought through the impact his message would have. Or tested it out on some friendly contacts (or on any experts) before sending it out willy-nilly.