The best marketing starts with you standing (as much as possible) in your clients’ shoes.
How do they feel? What frustrates them? What are they hoping to get out of your meeting or your services?
For accountants, this can be particularly difficult to do when it comes to management accounts, budgets, cash flow forecasting, what-if analyses, tax calculations…I could go on.
I am regularly amazed by how many accountants do not grasp that this does not come naturally to business owners. It’s not that your clients can’t understand it, or don’t want to – but they just want to get to how it affects them and their business (and, hopefully, their bank balance).
And because this is something you literally breathe in and out every day, the danger is that you begin to devalue the incredible power of your expert advice. They want your help. They need your help. And it’s not a small thing when you provide it to them.
Today’s tip is going to help you understand a little bit better how they feel.
Your site is on WordPress because….that’s what “they” say to use.
Most of the accountants we work with have a website built on a WordPress platform. It’s still by far the number one website platform, and many of you have chosen it with no real idea what it does, but because you’ve heard enough people (who seem to be experts and know what they’re doing) tell you so.
(For the record, although I wouldn’t give you a blanket yes for every single accountant or accountancy firm, in general we still recommend it. Even our fully customised Customer Journey website design & build projects use WordPress – we just happen to custom-create a template that no one else has. If you’re not sure, just talk to us about it.)
But beyond posting a blog now and then, or having someone on your team to make a few edits here and there, you don’t really use it.
You could sign up to WordPress training courses, or watch YouTube videos on Using WordPress To Your Advantage…but you don’t.
Here’s why – and how this can help you understand your clients a little better.
3 reasons your clients need your expert advice on cash flow forecasting (and other accounting areas)
Reason 1: It’s not the best use of your time.
The single best reason to get someone else to make WordPress updates or changes to your website is that even though you absolutely could learn it, use it, and log in every morning, that wouldn’t be the best use of your valuable time.
Some of you have tried it. You’ve decided to save a bit of money and keep it in-house, and then a few weeks or a few months or a few years have gone by and you realise that your website hasn’t been updated since 2011.
That’s because your expert time is valuable. (Read the Hinge Marketing Visible Expert study in our free stuff, here.) If your options are to spend four hours to write, post, and share a blog, or to meet with two clients and prepare a cash flow forecast, the client work wins every time – and that’s the right decision.
Because being an expert in those areas comes easy to you, and it’s profitable. Learning WordPress doesn’t, and it isn’t.
I’m often having this conversation with accountants who are considering outsourcing some of their marketing to us. It’s important to us that we aren’t about pressure. You are welcome to work with us, work with someone else, or do it yourself. But almost every time the accountant says to us, “But I know I won’t do it.”
This is all true of your clients when it comes to their accounts, bookkeeping, budgeting, preparing business plans for funding. They could do it. They’ve even tried it before. It doesn’t come easy to them. And most of all, they know they won’t do it (or they’ll try, and it will go badly).
I could walk you through all the plugins and integration capabilities within your WordPress website – or our team could take care of it for you, and you begin to see new additions to your database dropping into your email inbox every day as a result. Which one would you choose?
Reason 2: Much of the terminology is foreign to you.
What’s the difference between a post and a page? How will you best use tags and categories? What are plugins and which is the best SEO plugin to use? How do you determine the best keyword for your blog post? Which form builder will integrate best with your site? How do you integrate Mailchimp and allow for segmentation?
Perhaps much of that sounds vaguely familiar – but most likely, how you feel reading that paragraph is how your clients feel with accounting terminology.
What’s even more dangerous is that the basic accounting terminology is vaguely familiar to the business owner.
They know what a cash flow forecast is…or they think they do. But then you walk them through the Crunchboards forecasting tool and their eyes light up, and they see more than they ever saw before.
Part of the incredible value you bring to your business owner clients is the ability to take complicated subjects and make them understandable. Relevant. Even interesting and fascinating. They need you for that.
Reason 3: It’s not part of your day to day work.
Unfortunately for accountants, marketing is still something that is tacked on now and then, rather than comprising an integral part of your day to day business. That is starting to change somewhat, which is exciting to me, but for most accountants anything related to marketing is something you look at now and then.
WordPress isn’t something you log into the second you turn on the computer in the morning. Even if you do have a username and password, it’s extremely rare that you use it, and certainly not on a daily basis.
The same applies to your clients – although for many of you, helping them with cloud accounting software is beginning to change all that.
Your best clients are logging into Xero and snapping receipts into Receipt Bank and turning on Chaser and trying FarmFlo and Vend and whatever else applies to their business.
But for everyone else – those who aren’t using cloud accounting yet, or haven’t integrated the add-on apps, or those who think they’re modern because they finally got an email address – these business owners desperately need you to advise them on the accounting elements that are not yet part of their day to day work.
Value your own accounting expertise, and your prospects will too
When you realise how these business owners feel, and how much they need you, it will help you to truly value your own accounting services better.
And when you value yourself and your own expert advice, your marketing improves, because you know what they need – and how to get it across to them in a way that truly does save them time, and make their business better.
We did the same when it came to WordPress. Our monthly outsourced marketing packages used to include ‘fair use’ WordPress website maintenance, for changes now and then. We’ve had so many clients needing more that we expanded our website team and we now give unlimited WordPress updates as a bolt-on to our content and design packages.
It’s not that you couldn’t figure it out: but you have better things to do with your time, and we’d like to let you get on with those.
Get access to free Crunchboards marketing resources
We’re working with Crunchboards to provide you with free marketing resources that you can use to show your clients just how easy cash flow forecasting is (and budgeting and profit and loss accounts and so much more). Best of all, it gives you the opportunity to be who you are: the expert. The one they need.
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