Most accountancy practices eventually reach a stage where even though they wish to acquire new business, the demands of their present workload prevent them from actively seeking it.
In other words, practice development gets pushed off the shelf by the volume of routine work. In the early years of practice, an accountant can afford to spend between 600 and 1,000 hours a year on practice development. This is because:
1. There are comparatively few clients.
2. The clients’ need are relatively simple.
3. Practice administration does not take up much time.
As the practice matures, the accountant will spend more time on client work because the number of clients has increased, the clients’ needs have become more complex and demanding, and there are more administrative duties, social obligations and so forth.
A strange irony develops because as the practice reaches maturity, the supply of new business diminishes. Different accountants will respond to this situation in different ways. For some it will herald a change of direction and they may seek a position in private industry; for others it will spur an aggressive marketing drive to breathe new life into the practice.
When a practice reaches maturity and the flow of new business begins to slow down, the realistic response is not to ease off and attempt to live off the modest success achieved so far, but to strengthen the practice development work by devising and implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy.
Consider the following when crafting your marketing strategy:
Beating the competition; industry specialisation; taking on partners; mergers and acquisitions etc.
Marketing Your Firm
Generating publicity; internet and social media marketing; personal skills and practical marketing tricks.
Identity, Image and Branding
Creating first impressions; building a brand; your reception; public relations strategies and more.
How to find new clients; how to turn contacts into prospects; how to get an appointment; telemarketing etc.
The Sales Process
Face-to-face meetings; closing the deal; dealing with objections and so forth.
Managing Your Firm
Managing a marketing budget; your staff; hiring a marketing director etc.
Excellent client service; cross-selling; dealing with difficult clients and so on.