As promised in last week’s tip, I’d like to share some thoughts from the Hinge Research “Visible Expert Research Study – Accounting Edition” study.
Hint – if you make being a visible expert your primary goal, you will get more and better clients, and attract higher fees. Read on!
1. If your top two issues are attracting new business and finding and keeping good people, becoming a ‘visible expert’ is the best way to do that.
“By creating and promoting educational content online — content that demonstrates the nature and breadth of firms’ and individuals’ expertise — accounting firms encourage referrals based on expertise and reputation as well as build visibility among potential recruits.”
2. There are 5 levels of visible expert – which are you?
- Resident Expert (known in your firm)
- Local Hero (known in your market)
- Rising Star (moving to regional or national market, getting higher fees)
- Industry Rock Star (nationally recognised in your niche)
- Superstar (broken out of a niche and recognised as an all round expert in one area)
When it comes to marketing, you’ll at least need to be at the Local Hero level – and showcasing your expertise at a national or regional level will always increase your fees.
3. The number one way that buyers find visible experts in the accounting arena is by online search.
This is why we’re so passionate at the Profitable Firm about helping you increase your visibility online in relation to a particular area or niche. Your buyers are going to online search even over and above personal recommendation. This is a major shift. If you’re not aware of it or acting on it, you will absolutely be left behind. You may already be missing out on business because of it.
4. The number one way prospective buyers check out potential visible accounting experts is by looking at your website.
If your website does not:
- Mention your expertise immediately
- Address the potential buyer’s issue or problem directly
- Provide an easy way to get in touch
- Offer a ‘secondary call to action’ (such as an ebook, webinar registration, video, etc) for those who aren’t ready to buy today
….then you could be missing out on business. Because if those potential buyers who are looking for a visible expert go to another site and it does all those things, which one will they choose?
5. LinkedIn and Twitter are the top two social media engines your prospective buyers use when looking for a visible accounting expert.
This encourages me to see in black and white (okay, also in colour) in this research study, because it’s what I’ve been saying to accountants for several years:
- You need to use social media.
- LinkedIn and Twitter are the top two to focus on.
- You need to share useful, relevant, helpful information for your target market (those looking for your area of expertise
6. Recommendation and success stories are the top two factors that convince your prospective buyers that you’re a visible accounting expert.
Accountants are aware that recommendation is often the number one reason someone goes with your firm over another – but do you realise that ‘recommendation’ includes far more than one of your clients telling their friends they should talk to you? It includes your team members, your clients, prospects, everyone you’ve ever been in touch with – if they’re always talking about you, saying you know what you’re doing, then you’re more likely to get the work.A close third was ‘understanding’ – your ability to explain complex terminology and concepts in a way that people can understand. “They make a complicated subject seem understandable and just talking with them inspires confidence”, the Hinge study says.
Is that you?
7. The higher the level of visible expert, the higher your fees. A level 5 visible expert commands 14 times the rate of the average professional.
Next week we’ll look at how visible experts market themselves.