For some years I have been advising accountants of the benefits of being better Remembered, Referred and Recommended (“The 3 Rs”). After all, Referrals are often identified as being the most valuable route to securing good new clients.
Despite how often this topic has featured in my talks about standing out from the competition and securing more business, it seems I have not explicitly addressed the first of the 3 Rs on my blog previously.
I have written much about how to secure more Referrals and Recommendations but not about the key first stage of being better Remembered. The only post that really addressed this concerned my appearance on the BBC programme Newsnight in 1995.
Clearly you want the people who ‘meet’ you at events, online or through your promotional activities to Remember you. If they don’t Remember you they are hardly likely to Refer you or Recommend you to anyone. Failing to address this key point means you are not increasing the sources of your Referrals.
Perhaps you already have some great sources of Referrals and Recommendations. If you are like most accountants though you are largely reliant on happy clients passing on your details. Or maybe you are highly regarded by a small number of key influencers who regularly Refer good new clients to you.
In the remainder of this blog post I outline why you want to be Remembered, what about you needs to be Remembered, the crucial difference between Referrals and Recommendations, and what you can do to better Remembered.
Why do you want to be Remembered?
To maximise the prospect of securing more referrals and recommendations to good new clients.
What about you needs to be Remembered?
You want to be Remembered as a person, for what you do well and for the type of clients you can best help. This is a better way of thinking about things than when you talk in terms of the type of clients you want.
I often mention that I have frequently been Remembered as being a magician as well as an accountant or tax adviser. That works well with journalists and with conference organisers who want a speaker with something special. But my hobby has only ever been a starting point. It makes me memorable. But I also need to work to be Remembered as a good source of insights for journalists, and as an effective conference speaker, mentor and guide for everyone else.
What is the difference between a Referral and a Recommendation?
A Referral is simply a signpost for finding help or information. I make many Referrals each week – when I offer advice and tips. I might refer you to a good trainer, a website that has useful content or an app that I have heard others praising as a way to address specific problems.
We all make referrals – often to people we like and who sound as if they know what they are talking about. But unless we have direct experience of their service or have heard about it from others we cannot really Recommend them.
This is one of the reasons why having testimonials on your website and ‘Recommendations’ on your Linkedin profile can be so valuable. They can increase the confidence of people you know Referring you when the time seems right.
A Recommendation, as distinct from a Referral, is an endorsement. The best ‘Recommendations’ on Linkedin make this quite explicit. I am both touched and proud to have over 100 Recommendations there. People who may not know me well may well feel more confident about Referring me because of the quality and quantity of these Recommendations.
I feel I can only Recommend services, suppliers and software that I have used and rate highly. Occasionally I may have heard so many endorsements from others that I can be confident to Recommend someone or something I haven’t tried personally. But that will be rare and I will make clear I am have not tried or experienced things personally.
It should be clear that a positive Recommendation is much more powerful than a simple Referral. But such Recommendations tend to come only from very happy clients or from regular introducers who have been repeatedly thanked by the people they referred to you.
What can you do to be better Remembered?
This is the big question. For the purpose of this blog post I will simply say that we tend to remember what stands out from the norm. You may not recall everything in this blog post but I’ll bet you remember the name of the TV programme I mentioned earlier. That name stands out as distinct from the rest of the post.
Over the years I have met various people who have taken this to extremes. For example: A marketing lady who always wore a bowler hat at networking events. She stood out but I don’t recall her name or expertise. On the other hand there used to be a magician who always dressed in purple (and could be found by searching online for the purple magician).
One accountant used to be well known at networking events for shoving two of his business cards into the hands of everyone he met: “One for you and one for a friend.” He never expressed interest in anyone else and was well Remembered alright….and shunned, as his reputation started to precede him.
I recall bumping into ‘Double Business Card Charlie’ at a conference a couple of years later. “I stopped going to networking events after a year” he told me. “They’re a waste of time. I must have given out over 2,000 business cards but never got any referrals from them.” He had ensured that people remembered him alright but not for the right reasons. And his overall approach to networking left a lot to be desired too.
Can you think of anyone you have met whilst Networking or at social events who you Remember positively? Chances are that they did or said something that helped them to stand out (positively) from their competitors, from the crowd and from the pack.
What can you do to stand out and ensure that you are better Remembered than other accountants? It’s easier than you might think. All accountants are NOT the same. The work you produce may be very similar but you are distinct from every other accountant. And there are many ways you can evidence this so as to be more memorable.
If you want some easy and positive ideas on what you can do to be better Remembered, take a look at my free 7 point framework for accountants who want to stand out. You can get it here, with my compliments>>>