Stick “proactive accountant” into Google and about 650,000 results are returned.
A popular subject. But what does it mean, and more importantly, what impact could it have on the growth of your business?
Let’s start with some definitions.
While the word control might seem a little aggressive out of context, let’s stick with it.
There’s a theory around B2B selling called the challenger sale model, originally put together by the folks at the think tank CEB (now part of Gartner) and based upon a piece of research that interviewed 6,000 buyers. If you want to see more about it, have a look here.
One of the ideas with the challenger sale is the idea of the ‘three T’s’, which are teach, tailor and take control.
What’s all that about? I found this 2017 blog over on the Aussie Marketing Mag which pretty much nails it.
“Teach for differentiation
First things first, there needs to be agreement across the entire organisation of the company’s unique benefits, and an understanding of why customers choose your brand over others.“
“Tailor for resonance
According to CEB, more than half of loyalty to your brand is achieved through how you sell. It’s fostered by providing unique and valuable perspectives, navigating alternatives, delivering ongoing advice, highlighting potential pitfalls, educating on new issues, being easy to buy from, and generating widespread support for your solution from the entire business.”
“Take control of the sale
Content … empowers you to choreograph the message, or the journey, you want to convey to customers…
To do this effectively businesses need to place customers at the centre of the industry stories they are telling. Showing them you understand their business challenges and market, reframing these in ways encouraging them to think differently and building a compelling case around them. This forces action, making it personal, before presenting a new solution – your solution – to the problem faced.
Integral to this tactic is leading to your solution, rather than leading with it.”
That last sentence – that’s the good stuff right there, but what does this mean to you as an accountant?
Well let us now attack this from a different direction.
In the second half of 2017, here at PracticeWEB we did some research of our own, interviewing a range of small and medium-sized accountants in the UK.
What we found was that the SME clients of accountants were typically concerned about issues including cashflow, Brexit, market uncertainty, changing rules and tax.
These are just some of the typical challenges facing the business owner. And where do they go for advice? The answers ranged from their network, to friends, to Google, to some … asking their accountant.
And yet the research also found that SME owners heard from their accountant “once a year”… “read about something in the news” before phoning their accountant” and their accountant sends out content “not tailored to me”.
What if their accountant was doing the teach, tailor and take control?
What if my accountant was coming to me and heading off problems before I was even aware of them? Would that make me happy? Keep me as client? Make me recommend my accountant to my friends?
Made me think, I’ll also ask my accountant about other ways to help my business, my personal finances? Make me put my hand in my pocket?
Where to start? Think about some of the recent longer conversations you have had with clients and help you have given them. A first step could be getting some of those conversations down into a new post or article for your newsletter.
For a bit more of a nudge, check out this post I wrote last year ‘write drunk, edit sober’.
Our editor Alice also put up this piece – 10 blog post ideas for when you are stuck for inspiration.
And for the more technically-savvy accountant, here is a further piece on 5 ways to make blog content SEO friendly.
Of course, you could enlist the professional services of a specialist agency to get involved (hi there!) at both the planning strategy stage and the content execution.
We know you’re busy and we know content marketing can seem a little daunting. But set in the context of the potential gain for you and your business, surely it is worth a try. I bet you all those 650,000 answers are not really getting out there and doing it.
It’s there for the taking.