|A useful article for practising Accounting Professionals on how to best survive recession and utilise the potential the downtrend offers when businesses start scrutinising services and changing Accountants. Obtaining these clients..|
|HDK Consultants USA Inc.|
How to maintain and expand your Accounting firm market share in times of recession
In a recession, the services and knowhow of an Accounting Professional are needed more than ever.
Yet, in terms of marketing, the demand for Accounting services is very low. Business owners don't easily respond to advertising and marketing.
Thus, it appears that marketing has little or no effect. In reality, it is only the response lag that gets lengthened when money is tight.
It's a psychological thing, really.
When the general confidence in economic growth diminishes, the risk-factor in decision-making increases. With receding income, any mistake can be fatal.
This added risk SLOWS DOWN decision-making markedly.
Whatever the decision, it takes much longer to make.
This leads to a situation where there's a "backlog" of kinds and only the most important decisions are made. With the initial shock of bad news, everything is stopped - including paying bills! - until the situation has been reevaluated.
With the future uncertain, everything is thrown into confusion. The constant flow of news about impeding recession makes us all just WAIT so we could see where it all leads.
Anything that isn't within that top priority classification gets postponed. The only decisions that get made are those that cannot be put aside any longer. Anything that doesn't directly threaten the survival of the company is left pending.
Everyone tries to get receivables in while delaying the payment of bills owed. It's a worldwide phenomenon leading to an apparent full stop of cash flow.
Among other things, marketing becomes a seemingly useless activity, of course. And so it might be - but only for a very short while.
It's a fatal mistake to assume that marketing should be stopped for the duration of recession.
For if you do, you will predispose your firm to the full effects of recession and leave it exposed to one of the most destructive "natural phenomena" of economy...
First Phase of Recession
Unlike commonly realised, recession is not just "one thing" but has distinguishable separate PARTS to it, during which the behaviour of the market is quite different.
For instance, before the economic downturn even starts, there's a longer period of time when more and more people (and institutions, media) PREDICT the recession.
Warning signs such as household debt ratio and overheating of economy make for great headlines. This coverage starts to gnaw at the confidence people feel for the continuous improvement of their buying power.
When the recession finally BEGINS, its first phase is a very depressing time for most business owners. Relinquishing all those dreams about success and expansion and, in their stead, having to take steps to ensure the SURVIVAL of one's company... it's no easy task mentally for any business owner.
Very typically, the first few months of recession are also characterised by this confusing "waiting game" wherein we hold off all payments where possible and await to hear what the future brings.
Is it just a momentary hiccup in the economy... or a full-blooded recession for years to come?
Attention is drawn away from creating the future into surviving the day. Instead of putting more energy into selling, we shift our concentration into collecting monies due.
All decisions & investments get postponed.
For a short while, marketing brings no immediate results.
Also, it takes some very special skill to deliver the RIGHT message when the economy swings downwards.
The priorities of the target audience have changed drastically and, to get results, your marketing must also be altered to conform with those new priorities.
The mood has changed from one extreme to another.
Where our decisions were previously governed by a strong confidence in future success, an increasing certainty of impeding doom now regulates our judgment.
If you continue your marketing as before, it won't work.
Luckily, this first phase of recession is relatively short.
After a while, people accept the reality - recession is here and we're in for the long haul. Economy stabilises on a lower level of basic consumption and life settles in on its normal routines.
Once the first phase has ended - people don't doubt the recession but accept it's here - is the time when clever marketing can again get results.
In fact, recession is the time where the correct approach can bring much more results...
Only... very few people KNOW this. And that ignorance is the primary reason why recession offers such an opportunity!
Most practising Accounting Professionals will CONTINUE with their no-marketing policy, mistakenly assuming marketing remains ineffective until the economy swings up again and recession ends.
Thus, they won't even bother trying to compete.
Instead, they dig their heels in to weather out the storm and outlast the next months or years... however long the recession will last this time.
The first phase of recession has taught them - but they've learned the wrong lesson.
Why most Accounting Professionals will lose market shares during recession
The fact is that when a recession starts, most Accounting Professionals more or less stop marketing altogether.
And who can blame them? With so many insufficient, untested, untried or wrongly targeted marketing systems around, speaking of marketing as an "investment" becomes mainly lip service.
Marketing isn't REALLY seen as an investment in the true sense of the word. Marketing cannot safeguard the invested capital and yield a guaranteed profit - more clients that bring more income and profit.
Yet, a small minority of practices do get results far beyond what they invest into marketing in form of money and time.
Unfortunately, when times get hard, obtaining results from marketing gets even more difficult.
The approach has to be exactly right. You need to know the mood of your target audience and you need to know WHY they would change Accountants - and what they're looking for in the new Accountant.
But for the average Accounting Professional, these possibilities vanish with the first phase of recession simply because he will be convinced there's nothing he could do about it.
Not knowing the anatomy of the psychological phases of recession, he believes marketing could perhaps be worthwhile only during good times.
After all, to most it's questionable whether marketing is worthwhile AT ALL.
So, if it's that difficult when confidence is the economy is GROWING... what's it going to be like during RECESSION?
The unavoidable conclusion becomes that it's no good wasting money in marketing BEFORE the economy turns into an upswing.
But is it really the TIME that governs the efficiency of marketing?
The killing fields of recession
Has the need for Accounting services and financial knowhow ended now?
Do companies NOT need Accounting services, tax consulting and financial advice during a recession?
Will shortness of money make business owners automatically MORE satisfied with their current service providers and result in longer client-relationships?
Of course not.
It takes a very special system to actually GET clients, no matter what the state of the economy.
And when the going gets tough, business owners will need MORE financial consulting... and, once the initial shock of the downturn is over (with the first phase of recession), they will definitely give very close attention to what they really get for their money.
With the frightening blow the starting of recession has dealt to their confidence, business owners will be VERY critical of anything THEY pay for. After all, that's what THEY are getting when they try to collect monies owed to them, isn't it?
What goes around, comes around.
And that's what the survival game of recession is all about.
It a game of musical chairs just like the Weakest Link on television. Only there'll be a lot of chairs left and a lot of strongest links.
There'll be those who won't make it.
But as those will be a minority, that's not where the real danger of downward economic development actually lies.
See, apart from that short first phase, recession has very little effect for an ACTIVE marketing system. If anything, there'll be MORE results and a higher success ratio, believe it or not!
But only if you have an ACTIVE marketing system.
That's not the same as "being active while marketing," though. An active marketing system means that instead of sending out messages and then waiting for results, you do something to actively INDUCE results.
Instead of relying on the growing demand brought on by a booming economy, you CREATE the demand for your services.
If you do that now or start it soon, recession cannot touch you.
Once you have sufficiently workable tools and a tested system to ACTIVATE the demand, you get results regardless of which direction the economic barometer is swinging at the time.
In fact, during recession, you can get TEN TIMES THE RESULTS simply because 99% of competitors aren't marketing at all... all while the target audience grows increasingly discriminating in their reevaluation on what they GET in exchange for their money from their Accounting firm.
There'll be a lot of businesses searching for an Accounting firm that can offer a better service more according to what CLIENTS want.
To anyone using the PASSIVE marketing approach recession very bad news indeed.
Passive marketing means that one relies mostly on the "forces of the marketplace" for expansion. In other words, one rides to high wave of confidence and gets one's share of the added business.
In good times it was fine. All of us received our share of the positive gain - growth, more clients, more services bought, and so on.
But to be on this bandwagon when it's RECESSION dealing the cards... it's a no-win situation.
All you get is bad news. Keeping the existing clientele becomes a major challenge and getting new clients is a distant possibility indeed. Clients get more and more critical of what they get in exchange for their money... and all the forces of recession work AGAINST you.
The killing field of recession is, in reality, that area in between those two alternatives.
The majority of Accounting firms will remain inactive all through the recession. Thus, they'll be vulnerable to the destructive forces of recession.
They're the ones losing clients.
And then there are those Accounting firms that will be ACTIVE during recession.
They will change their operating basis, utilising the void created by absence of competing alternatives (colleagues refraining from marketing) and adjust their service concept to meet the new needs of the target audience.
They're the ones keeping their clients and taking over clients leaving other firms.
The difference in results between the two alternatives is quite huge when continued all through recession.
It becomes even bigger when economy swings upward.
The active firms are ready to make the most out of the expansion while passive firms will take quite some time to wake up from their hibernation.
Similarly, those that can keep their clients and get new ones during recession will have the financial resources to ride the growth in many ways... while the passive ones won't.
What it takes to succeed during recession
During recession, you need very accurate systems that take your firm CLEARLY above competitors, as viewed by the majority of business owners. Being "just as good as anyone else" just isn't good enough.
In fact, it doesn't even come close.
Now, you need a way to absolutely convince the business owner that what YOU deliver, is by far better than what he currently receives.
Now, you need to show how you can HELP to keep his company on the track and survive the recession.
Now you need exact and correct information on what factors govern the thinking of clients - yours and those of competitors.
And above all, you need to DISAGREE with the majority of Accounting Professionals if you ever hope to differentiate your future development from the inevitable downward curve that the industry will take!
The industry, as whole, WILL lose income. Lots.
But it will do so in light of statistics. Average figures calculated from tens of thousands of firms - of which MOST go down... but some UP.
Those statistics totally hide the fact that some firms INCREASE their turnover and profits. And the huge DEGREE to which they do this is definitely not shown by any averages!
To analyse the situation very accurately you need to be LOOKING for the solution that allows you to utilise this extraordinary opportunity.
The general opinion within Accounting industry is that one cannot DO anything to avoid the consequences of recession. If you believe that, if you join the majority, then you won't be able to do anything about it.
See, Accounting Professionals are human too. They are also affected by the hopelessness of the moment. They feel disheartened and, as a result, tend to do nothing but wait and hope that it will all go away.
Only, it won't. Not for quite a while.
Once the "collective mind" of a whole nation - the world - has been convinced to accept that recession now EXISTS, it takes some time (and lots of positive news) before that conviction can be changed around again.
There are two elements at play here. At one side, there are the actual economic facts. Those hard figures of economy will NOT allow the world of commerce to collapse.
That horrifying possibility of total disaster only exists in our MINDS.
The basic consumption and its production are there, just like the basic needs of businesses will continue. Logically and by figures, we can only go so far down until the economy stabilises. After that has continued long enough, the inevitable upswing start once more.
But I'm not talking about the real situation here. I'm talking about the OTHER element of recession - that which takes place in the minds of people. Hundreds of millions of people.
It took months and months to convince those people that recession is here. And it'll take at least as much time to again convince them it's over.
There'll be a considerable LAG between the FIGURES turning and the GENERAL OPINION following suit.
Recession is here for a while. It will work its ways regardless of what we THINK or BELIEVE.
That's the real-life scene of it.
Most firms will recede and lose clients. But not all.
Some will GAIN - and gain a lot.
And whether you'll be among those fortunate ones, depends wholly on what you do now.
For, during this period, you have an opportunity that's greater than any booming economic trend could ever offer.
Your competitors will not even TRY to get new clients.
And, while their clients will be reevaluating the exchange they get for their monies, the majority of Accounting Professionals will be prone to NOT CHANGE ANYTHING.
And therein is your opportunity.
Do the math and you'll see how this time provides a few practitioners with a truly overwhelming competitive advantage in their area.
Why not be that practitioner in your area?
Accounting firm recession strategy - keeping your existing clients and offering an appealing alternative to disappointed clients of others
an Accounting Professional in public practice obviously cannot
spend lavishly for marketing or take any sort of financial risk
when countermanding the effects of recession.
Not just "compared to the results" - as you don't KNOW whether or not it will produce results - but actually CHEAP in terms of money. It should cost very little.
The second vital thing is that you take inventory of your potentials and resources. Any resource that you have should now be utilised to the fullest.
Now is the time to concentrate on increasing the clients' awareness of what they really get from your services.
Now is the time to add small touches here and there to ensure the service is exactly according to the clients' wishes.
And now is the time to make use of all that hard work that you've already put in with your existing clients - and don't think you've utilised it even half way yet!
To help you to create the best practice management strategy for these changing times, we are publishing a special manual called the Accounting Professional's Recession Survival Strategy Guide.
In this guide, you get a full briefing on all the factors governing client-relationships, marketing, practice management, and the vital safeguarding actions in times of recession - all tailored for practising Accounting Professionals.
It will help you to map out your resources and utilise every single potential that you have without any expenses. You'll get several tools to use in helping your clients to improve their survival. You'll get tools and interviews to use to unlock any problem your clients have - and to get them to want to solve their problems.
The Accounting Professional's Recession Survival Strategy Guide will later become available for purchase separately.
But for right now, you can only get it as an extra bonus with the Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course - the perfect low-cost, highly effective marketing method that countless practitioners already use to actively create demand for their Accounting services regardless of economic trends.
The Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course gives you a marketing system ideal for economic downturns when there's no money to gamble on any marketing system that won't be CERTAIN to produce more than it costs.
In fact, it's the perfect system for right now.
That's the way to get more services sold to each client during recession. That's how you create a heightened awareness of your unique service when others gloomily await what the future will bring.
And, if you buy it now, you will get the Accounting Professional's Recession Survival Strategy Guide totally free of charge as a bonus!
I have seen my clients DOUBLE their turnover (and I'm talking up to £500,000 here) during the worst times of last recession.
And all because THEY were in that small minority that didn't succumb to the hopelessness that the daily "gloom-portion" of newscasts distributed to all of us... AND because they had specific tools to utilise that STRONG shifting of clienteles brought on by necessity of tighter budgets.
It can be done - it is being done as we speak - and it can be done rather easily (and almost without cost) once the hard part is over.
The hard part is the DECISION to do something about it.
The "doing something effective" -part of it is actually much easier!
The worst thing to do in this situation is NOTHING. That will leave you exposed to the most terrible of Murphy's Laws:
"If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong!"
- Monthly Financial Consulting Service: Introducing the proven superior BASIC accounting service that will give you a steady flow of new clients: The MFCS practically sells itself!
IF there was a way to ensure that clients understand and use the information they receive from YOUR basic Accounting service... you would have a mile-long queue of business owners outside your door, all begging for you to accept them as new clients!
CLICK HERE to read how to start delivering a basic Accounting service that 85% of business owners consider so valuable that they would immediately start considering a change of Accountants if they thought it was available...
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As the owner of an Accounting firm, you have many separate tasks and hats. In this article, we examine how easily one can think about marketing "wearing the wrong hat"... and how to avoid the inevitable cost...
Why not offer what businesses want MOST?
51% of small businesses turn to their Accountant for advice...but are we WASTING this natural demand by NOT advising SMEs on the most make-sense and NEEDED areas of enterprising... just because they don't know how to ASK FOR IT?
Packaging Accounting services into highly desirable products
What on earth is PACKAGING? Well, it's the first and most important part of marketing... something without which you will have enormous hardships in getting your services sold effectively because you're not utilizing the PULL that's there. If you read nothing else from our web site, PLEASE read this...
Instead of paying thousands, how about GETTING PAID for marketing your Accounting services?
In your wildest dreams, have you ever imagined that marketing your services could DIRECTLY BRING INCOME instead of costing an arm and leg?
No, you didn't misunderstand and there's no mistake here... and it's not a wild scheme but something a growing number of firms are employing today...
Looking for inexpensive marketing ideas for a small or startup Accounting practice?
A small Accounting firm has some very speficic requisites for any marketing system. Otherwise, you're playing with the very survival of your practice.
There are certain simple basics on how to EVALUATE Accountancy marketing systems on whether these really have what it takes for you to get new clients.
Making use of normal people in selling Accounting services... or are you planning to do it yourself forever?
Read this article to find why it's seemingly impossible to get someone to sell your services successfully. Once you KNOW, you can actually DO IT...
EXPANSION-MINDED OR NOT? Why not take this tongue-in-cheek test to measure your readiness for expansion...
Expansion doesn't just happen like a lightning out of blue skies. It requires favourable circumstances... Here's a test for you if you have what it takes to BITE bite into this hot chilli pepper...????
Ready-to-use tools for finding prospective Accounting clients and to present & sell your services successfully:
What's all the fuss about ready-to-use tools for marketing & selling Accounting services? What's the difference if these are NOT software solutions then WHAT are they?
The biggest trap stopping you from obtaining Accounting clients at will...
There's an insidious, invisible TRAP into which we've all fallen. If allowed to remain unnoticed, this trap mechanism will effectively keep any Accounting professional from ever gaining the ability to obtain clients at will.
Knowing the anatomy of this insidious trap (and knowing how to get out of it) is probably the most vital piece of knowledge for unleashing your true potential in acquiring new clients at will.
Why you can't find anywhere NEAR as many prospectice clients as you want:
If only you could FIND MORE PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS...
Why does it appear impossible? Why do you get SO FEW referrals and prospects? What's causing this?
Well, chances are you've totally overlooked the biggest source of prospective clients in your area!
Pricing Accounting services at value... but what's the value to clients?
Pricing your service by hourly rates will always result in lots of upsets and unnecessary explanations.
Why not adopt the principle of charging for availability of advice and at the value your expertise really represents to clients?
How can you CREATE that value in the minds of your current and future clients? Its not all that hard if you know how to do it...
Do you KNOW what what business owners think about, value in, and want from Accounting... or just THINK you do?
Are you LOSING THOUSANDS by assuming business owners think the same way you do about Accounting services? Could it be that their viewpoint is very much different?
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Accounting service marketing: Getting your message across
Why is it so difficult to get ANY response to marketing letters, ads and sales promotions? What can you do to change it?
Why "hiring a marketing expert" won't cut mustard if you want new clients...
One of the most common misconceptions among mid-sized Accounting firms is to think that all they need for marketing is to hire a marketing expert.
But that's really like solving a transportation problem by hiring a chauffeur and forgetting that he needs a VEHICLE to drive before any results can be hoped to be obtained...
So you're looking for a faster, easier solution to finding new Accounting clients?
Many Accounting professionals in public practice don't really want to get involved in marketing and sales that much. Instead, they're looking for a fast and easy solution to finding new clients.
But BUYER BEWARE... does such a system EXIST at all? Well, many CLAIM that it does but if it sounds too good to be true...
-Vital necessity of troubleshooting-- When choosing a marketing system for your Accounting firm...
Learn the insider secret on how you can instantly spot a functional marketing system and reject untried and unproven systems. The secret lies in whether or not the system has TROUBLESHOOTING TOOLS...
Risk Management: Controlling the risks in marketing Accounting services
So you HATE cold calling and don't AT ALL believe in telemarketing?
Then JOIN THE CLUB... you're definitely not alone!
But is telemarketing really a waste of time and money... or is it simply that you need a completely DIFFERENT approach (and system) to get lots pf prospective clients for Accounting services by way of telemarketing?
Prospective Accounting clients through direct mailing?
Many Accounting professionals in public practice have tried their hand in creating sales letters. And most of us have had to give up for it's very expensive to find out that the letter doesn't bring results...
To get results, you need to use exactly the right words and concepts in your letter. And while it's not much of a secret, it makes a huge difference in response...
7 factors governing the success of Accountancy prospecting
You're 98% success... but to get a new client you need a hundred!
- FIGHTING BACK: How certain are you that it is impossible to get new clients for your Accounting firm in today's economic situation?
Midst all the bad news, it's easy to forget that an economic slowdown contains both risks and opportunities, just like any other. Doing nothing is the only certain way to ensure that the situation can do maximum damage.
In fact, during recession you can make a HUGE LEAP FORWARD in terms of increasing your clientele and income... simply because most of your competitors do absolutely nothing. All you really need is to have a marketing strategy that aligns with the economic situation.
How to SELL without having to use superlatives about yourself?
If only it was easier to sell...
Selling your own ability - yourself, in essence - is often not too pleasant. Using superlatives can be very embarrassing... and one can also argue that such salesman antcis don't go well with the image of an Accounting professional.
It's a paradox - if you tell the client how great you are, he might get turned off... but if you don't, he just won't know.
New Generation Accounting Service PRESENTATION techniques
The traditional Accounting service presentation has outlived its usefulness. It still works with referrals and some prospects, but if you are serious about getting a lot MORE clients, you'll want this amazing new technique...
Advertising & Marketing of Accounting services - a complete waste of effort and money?
Well, admittedly it often is. Why is it so difficult to get RESULTS from advertising or marketing campaigns? What's the catch?
Are you practical or not when it comes to selecting a marketing system for your Accounting firm?
How can you find out beforehand whether or not a marketing system is practical and easy to use? Is it possible to estimate how fast and easy it is to start using the system and actually OBTAIN the expected results... new clients?
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Traditional Accountancy marketing has a lot of good and perfectly applicable parts and practices. But some parts are ineffective by now. Learn how you can get results by using the MODERN marketing tehniques...
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Sometimes the idea of increasing the number of clients isn't appealing for obvious reasons. Not everyone wants to expand through a vast clientele and take on the hassles of employing many people. A sole practitioner who's been in practice for a while usually has TOO many clients already... and too much hassle. The old 80/20 rule (20% of clients cause 80% of the hassle but not of the income) can be beaten but it takes a bit of cunning.
How to sell advanced added-value Accounting services
Many Accounting Professionals have superb additional services to offer to their clients. But why are those added-value Accounting services, special consulting, valuation and other such excellent services so difficult to sell?
There's a very simple and logical reason for it - and once you know what the barrier is, you can effectively open the door to increase the sale of these additional services.
How to sell Accounting services: Getting your hourly rates accepted by prospective clients
Majority of business owners seek for low-cost Accounting services. Justifying reasonable hourly rates is a constant pain and source of disagreements.
There is a simple way to help your prospects and clients accept your fees...
Do you want to get a lot more REFERRALS for accounting services?
Referrals are the cream of all potential clients for an Accounting firm. They're easy to deal with and you can close almost all of them onto your services.
But why are they so hard to find? And how do you INCREASE the flow of referrals?
from contact to sign-on to follow?
to really GET results?
with TOOLS that require no training to use?
& sales activity of practical nature?
and troubleshoot problems?
independence to obtain new Accounting clients wherever you want?
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