Cultivating A Relationship With Your Accounting Prospect List
Jassen: That is awesome. Next thing I want to talk about is how to take your – this list that you’ve been talking about building this whole time. You’ve got this list and so what are some ways that you can cultivate new business specifically from that list?
James Orr: Yes. I think most people are under the false illusion that they’re going to convert a very large number of people directly from their website into clients. While it does happen, it is much easier to get someone to come on your website, order a free special report or a free download and join your mailing list and over a period of several contacts, begin to know, like and trust you and then when they’re ready they’ll actually contact you about your service and actually become a client. So what you want to do is you want to have regular contacts with your internal list, people who have requested information from you, people that are existing clients and reaffirm that they’ve made a good decision being with you, reestablish yourself as an expert. Do all those things and there are four ways that you could use that to cultivate new and repeat business and referrals actually from your internal list.
Number one is the monthly newsletter. I personally would prefer if you’d physically mailed it – I’m not getting a kickback from the post office. I’ll tell you why you should actually mail it. It’s because people discount e-mail. So if you actually take the time to go print out 8 ½ x 11 two-sided newsletter once a month, you can upload your newsletter to the U.S. postal service, you can upload your mailing list to the postal service. They’ll do all the printing and mailing for you and it’s dirt cheap so you can definitely go and do that. But you should mail it out because it’s going to give more value. People are going to notice it. Even if they throw it away, you’ve now gotten the hits on your name and your information where someone else the next day or two days later says, “Hey, I need an accountant.” Guess what? They just saw your name and they’ve been seeing it every month for the last six months and they’re going to think of you. More so than someone else who’s just sending them an e-mail once in a while. You definitely want to have some type of physical mailing and get it in their hand. So that’s number one.
Number two is occasional e-mails with updates, promotional offers and special reports and important announcements. I think you should e-mail your client base regularly and just let them know what’s going on. Maybe you’ll tell them, “Look, I’m about to take vacation here in the next two weeks. So I just want to make sure that if you have any needs that I’m available for you over the next two weeks or if you’re going to miss that then I’ll be back in a month, a month from today in order to handle anything you need. So let me know if you need that and by the way, we have a new client discounts where it’s free hour consultation and 10% off your first tax return,” whatever it is you’re going to offer. So you could go ahead and do that. Put out any special reports you put out there so you could get occasional e-mails where you do that. I think that’s really important too.
The third thing out here is to give them access to you via social networking sites. I told you before that social networking is really about getting to know the person. These are things you like outside of business. They want to feel like they know you more so than you’re just an accountant. So give them access to you. I mean, create a Twitter account and share with them when you do certain fun things or vacations you take or restaurants you go to or sporting event, share whatever your hobbies are. Then people will know, like and trust you and be more likely to do business with you by becoming involved in those things. You can use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, all those different social media type websites in order to do that.
The final way that you can actually use your internal list to cultivate and get new business and repeat business and referrals is there are definitely applications out there on the web where you can take all the new blog articles and contacts you’ve added to your blog over the last week. You can have it automatically sent out once a week to your entire client base where it says, “Here are the new articles I wrote with like a one sense description of what’s included,” and they can click on the link in order to read those. You can set that up so that it automatically happens. If you’re adding contents to your blog there’s going to be an e-mail sent out that lists all the different content that that was added and you don’t need to do anything extra. It just gets taken care for you. So I think that’s a good way to do e-mails more so than the newsletter you know.
Jassen: Okay. The purpose of the RSS e-mail feed is to get people coming back to your website, right?
James Orr: Right. They just keep your name up there so that when they finally do need you, you’ve established yourself as an expert. They know you. They trust you because you’re constantly there, you’re reliable. They’re willing to do business with you. So they’ll do referrals to you especially if you ask. If you put down there, “By the way, I love your referrals,” or if you highlight people that have given you referrals – yes, you want to go and do that type of e-mails so it’s consistent and top of mind awareness.
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