by Liz Farr, CPA
Selling accounting services isn’t an impulse purchase, and your prospect may not be ready to say yes to your offer the first time you meet. It may take several touches from you before they’re ready. The key is to stay top of mind with that person so that when they’re ready, you’re the first and most obvious choice that comes to mind.
Most accountants don’t do this, and I freely admit that I’m also guilty of this. When you don’t follow up with prospects, you might be leaving lots of money on the table.
So how do you follow up in ways that feel genuine and friendly? The key is to be different, and to always add value.
Here are some ways to do just that.
1. Send a friendly email one to three days later. If you went to a large event and have a stack of business cards, it’s tempting to just send out a mass email with the same message for everyone. Doing that is better than doing nothing, but a personalized message with a reminder of your conversation is much more effective.
2. If your prospect is local, see if you can set up a quick meeting for coffee or lunch. Approach this as an opportunity to develop a relationship, and to see how you and your prospect can help each other’s businesses.
3. Keep your eyes open for relevant news articles, surveys or reports, and send an email with the link. Say something simple like “I came across this, and I thought of you. Hope you’re doing well.” Try doing this about every eight weeks or so.
4. Better yet, print out that article and drop it in the mail with a sticky note attached. Don’t just send technical tax and accounting articles. If they own a business, tax and accounting are the least of their worries. They also need help with long-term planning, goal setting. leadership, human resources, team development, and wealth management.
5. Send a business book you recently read. You can either send it via Amazon with gift wrapping and a card, or (better) send the book yourself, gift wrapped and with a note that points out any sections you think would be helpful to your prospect.
6. The receipt trick — this is an idea from Casey Stanton, a marketing coach for multi-million-dollar companies. If you go to a bar or coffee house, get a copy of the receipt and write a short note on the back: “Hi Joe — I was thinking of you, and had a beer/burger/coffee. Hope you are doing well!.” Sign it and mail it to them.
As the late Jim Rohn said, “The fortune is in the follow up.” Try out some of these ideas, and see it you can avoid leaving that fortune on the table.
About Liz Farr
Liz Farr spent 15 years working in tax and accounting at small public accounting firms in Albuquerque, NM, USA. She has been a CPA since 2005. Since 2015, she has also been a freelance writer, helping accountants and bookkeepers around the world with content. She is a regular contributor to Intuit’s Firm of the Future blog, AccountingWEB and the Journal of Accountancy. When she’s not writing, she’s out hiking or skiing (yes, it does snow in the high desert mountains of New Mexico!)
A version of this article appeared previously in the ePlus newsletter of the New Mexico Society of CPAs.
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