First of all, here’s the answer to the poll on yesterday’s post: Woody Allen.
What’s obvious to one person is not necessarily obvious to another. When one person walks in the dark they go one way free and clear; the other person walks into a solid glass wall. It’s the same with business roadblocks.
For more on those business obstacles that accountants and professional services marketers cannot see, I offer the following wisdom from accounting firm marketer Michelle Class. Formerly of Barnes Dennig in Cincinnati, Michelle is now out on her own helping accountants and firms all over the land under the classy business name Marketing with Class. By golly, where did she over come up with that one!?!
Business Development – Relationship Building with a Prospective Client
- When you are introduced, propose or present to a potential client, the hidden relationships are some of the most powerful and underestimated pieces to the puzzle. Accountants are diligent to locate red flags in financial statements; however, in person this is much more difficult. So, the solution can be simple – spend about 30 minutes researching online the company or decision makers involved in the selection process, you will uncover the “hidden” relationships that may affect the decision the most and special talents (musically, community-based, etc.) of the decision makers, helping everyone feel more comfortable and connected.
Business Development Process Leads to Successful Client Service
- A hidden obstacle for a CPA firm that may be invisible initially is personality differences / conflicts. During the “dating phase” of acquiring a client, most normal behaviors are set aside and true personalities are not revealed. Accountants tend to be very focused on how they will acquire the work and many times miss the obvious differences that may arise. Some red flags may include:
- Is the firm staffed with the “right” types of people to fit into the client’s culture?
- Is the team that proposed the work really part of the engagement team? If not, do not hide this from the client… otherwise, a disastrous outcome may be imminent.
- Will the senior manager on the job be compatible with the company’s
CFO / controller? (Non-verbal communications will tell you a lot; do they initially respect and trust one another? Will they look to one another for advice, guidance and direction or will the responsibility fall on the younger staff member because he/she is a “people-person” and can gain credibility instantly.
- Hidden Obstacle for Marketing Professionals
- Marketers are “people-people,” while accountants are “paper-people”. There is quite a difference when you are working together. Many times during my career, I “thought” I had a partner or senior manager on my side, when in reality, they were not bought into my concept at all. The hidden obstacle – accountants are great at keeping a serious demeanor and staying focused without showing much emotion. So, the advice I’d like to share to all marketers is seek to learn more about each decision maker in your firm to ensure that when you think you have earned respect and have buy-in that you really do.
Put some thought into it and you just might avoid some of those invisible glass walls!
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