Too many accountants struggle to distinguish themselves from their competition. This is a shame as it is what makes each of us different that makes us memorable and the reason why we are referred and recommended. And then why we are engaged by clients.
Challenge this if you must. Tell me that no one cares about anything other than price.
If that’s what you believe then I’m sorry for you. It’s a fallacy promoted by those who choose to sell stuff at low prices. It’s not true for Apple, for the makers of quality cars, handbags or designer clothes. Nor is it true for EVERYONE seeking a new accountant, tax advice, day to day compliance service or strategic business advice.
Of course price is all that matters to SOME people. Personally though I’m happy for those people to choose someone other than me to provide the service they seek. Typically those who only want to pay a low fee do not become valued clients; they are often more trouble to deal with and getting paid is rarely easy either.
So, let’s get back to the point. Do you really feel that you are no different from hundreds of other accountants? If that’s what YOU feel then it’s no wonder that prospective clients think the same and may choose to go elsewhere.
When you talk about what you do for clients, do you sound the same as everyone else? If so, you are missing a trick. The same goes for your website, online profiles and any physical marketing materials you use.
What makes YOU stand out from the competition? Your style and approach. Your systems and processes. All of these stem, at least in part, from your background, training, experiences, other clients and so on.
What do you add beyond the basics? It’s the differences that matter and that make it worth while someone choosing to engage you rather than the accountant down the road.
What’s your angle?
Often it’s your point of view that makes you unique and can help you to STAND OUT from your competitors. If you haven’t formulated any strong opinions on work related topics you may struggle to convince prospective clients why they will get a better service from you than from others. Just be careful to ensure that your views are based on informed facts rather than a naive acceptance of biased comment in the media.
Think back to the most common questions you are asked by prospective clients. Do you have a unique take that might resonate with them and help them to recognise that you’re the sort of professional they want to engage?
What’s your angle?
I practice what I preach.
My angle is a quite distinct approach to other coaches and mentors for accountants. The headline I suppose is that I work to my clients’ agendas. Rather than ask their objectives in a conventional way, I get them to think about things differently using my Mentoring Objectives Setting Template (MOST). We have to be agreed as to what they want to be different after we have worked together.
Yes, many accountants come to me because they want help in securing more profitable business. But often they stay and our conversations range across many other aspects of their practice. The range of topics in respect of which they seek my advice and insights is always growing. This is driven by their needs and plans. Not by some standard approach I insist on following. I offer a template agenda for meetings, at least at the start. We rarely keep to this. Much better to let my clients set the agenda for our meetings to ensure we focus on their immediate needs as they know their practice and priorities better than me.
Then there is the type of people who seem to relate best to me. Most of my clients are over 50. They’ve been around. They don’t need handholding but do want specific advice to help them achieve more success. They know there are no quick wins. No magic solutions that will make real lasting changes to their fees, practices or lives.
They don’t to hear tired and generic advice. They don’t want to lectured at or forced to adopt someone else’s standard systems and processes. They don’t want someone with a fixed agenda arguing that changes to their marketing, social media, Linkedin or branding is the solution to their problems.
They want to continue doing what they do but to learn what they need to tweak to achieve more success, to reduce their stresses and strains, to adapt for the future and so on. They want strategic guidance, insights and advice from an experienced practitioner with some grey hair and gravitas.
That’s my style and my angle. What’s yours?
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