Yes, even accounting firms need strong salespeople, and solo practitioners needs viable sales skills. Accountants can't just rely on word-of-mouth advertising. They need a go-to-market strategy to develop sales prospects into an income pipeline. Take a look at these four steps for growing your practice with prospect targeting.
1. Know Your Target Markets
For accountants, your go-to-market strategy begins with knowing your target markets. You can't find your best sales prospects if you don't narrow your focus to areas that are likely to generate more clients. You can go about this in two ways.
The first method is to examine any markets that are underserved by accountants, perhaps in your geographic region. Are there any startups that could use some basic accounting services? What about local retail shops or restaurants run by a sole proprietor? Examine these markets to determine if there is a need for your business.
Another option is to think about the types of problems you want to solve and then target sales prospects with those problems. Do you want to help high-overhead firms save money? How about adding value to your services with cloud-based accounting programs? Market these types of services to potential clients that would benefit.
2. Create a Profile
Once you get a broad idea of your target market, create a profile of organizations that fit within your target markets. Identify which market segments could use your services, and remember that businesses with less than 10 employees have different needs than a company with 50 staffers.
3. Narrow Your Focus
The next step is to narrow your focus even further. Any of the companies that fit your profile are your targets. Consider the size of this market. Check for market saturation to get an idea of the number of sales prospects in your potential market.
4. Research These Sales Prospects
Now it's time to get into even more detailed research. These businesses have specific problems that you, as an accountant, must solve if you want their business. Determine the specific problem facing each business. Prepare a pitch that explains how your services can help. Share data from previous or current clients to back up your claims, as this shows that you are an expert in your field.
Once you pique the interest of potential clients, develop an accounting bid that outlines how much your services cost. Accountants love details, so be as thorough as possible with the bid.
Landing new sales prospects can be tough, especially if all you want to do is work as an accountant. However, a solid strategy can win you more clients. Marketing might become easier once you become established, as happy customers are likely to spread the word about your business.
Photo courtesy of Joe the Goat Farmer at Flickr.com