Home – New Forums Marketing mastery How does one go about getting clients?

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  • #998905
    Aaron F
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    So i’m in the tax agent industry and primarily i’ve been marketing via Facebook through friends and various buy sell groups. I’ve also told my family and they have spread the word as well.

    I seem to notice that I don’t get many hits and i’ve listed the potential reasons why:

    1/ It’s a seasonal thing (though it should be the right season now)
    2/ It’s a saturated market (from what i’ve seen already posted in groups)
    3/ My pricing isn’t the lowest and it isn’t the highest either
    4/ Advertising is better through word of mouth rather than actual ads

    My question would be how does one go about getting clients when just starting out? My friend has suggested pricing myself right at the bottom to attract initial customers though if there are other methods I would like to try that first.

    I’ve never had to find clients myself so any advice would be great.

    #1216661
    Dave Gillen – Former FS Concierge
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    Hi [USER=111912]@Aaron F[/USER],

    As a starting point you need to offer the customer a clear advantage by choosing you.

    The problem is that any new business starts off with some clear disadvantages (less experience, no reputation, no track record, lack of testimonials, etc).
    So when advertising you need to be offering something substantial to overcome these negatives.

    Some ways you can stand out, may include:

    • Low price.
    • Highly specialised (for a small part of the market it immediately puts you ahead of any generic accountant).
    • An unusually good deal/offer (guarantee, package deal, intro offer, bonus, free gift, …). It may be worth breaking even or even losing money in the short term to get those first few clients on board.
    • Target extremely local businesses to where you are. Proximity is an important advantage. Start in your building/street/suburb.

    Hope that gives you some ideas. :)
    Dave

    #1216662
    bb1
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    Aaron F, post: 261229, member: 111912 wrote:
    My friend has suggested pricing myself right at the bottom to attract initial customers though if there are other methods I would like to try that first.

    The one problem I have seen with your friends approach, is if you go for low price strategy, you get the low quality clients, who want a high quality job, at the lowest price possible. They are the ones that will give you headaches year after year, bad reviews, etc, etc. Whereas you want to aim for high quality clients, who recognise they need to pay a decent price for a decent job

    #1216663
    3amideas
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    I agree with bb1. Don’t cut pricing for the sake of getting clients. You want to be working on increasing your pricing.

    If you’re desperate for clients and need the money (we’ve all been there) you can try placing free ads on Gumtree. Refresh them daily and you’ll stay on top. That will get you exactly the clients bb1 is talking about, taking the fun out of business. But they are paying clients and sometimes we need just that.

    As you’ve already said yourself, word of mouth is going to be very effective for you. So you probably need to get out there and get to meeting people. If your target audience is business owners, then put yourself in front of them at social events, networking events, reach out on Linkedin etc.

    I imagine there are two types of customers out there for you, the ones chasing the cheapest price who just want their tax return done and those who are happy to pay an accountant to be properly looked after, as they appreciate the value and necessity of the service.

    To get the latter kind you need to build trust with them. Offer me value and a good reason to switch, or to start using somebody other than that $99 pop up accountant at the shopping centre.

    I noticed in your signature that you’re using a @gmail.com address. I hope you’re not using that to do business because to me that doesn’t signal credibility or trustworthiness. Especially when it comes to choosing a service provider to look at my finances.

    Do you know who your ultimate client would be? I know it’s a vague thing to say but if you can really clearly identify that persona or avatar, it makes your direction for marketing a bit more obvious, and our ability to give advice easier.

    #1216664
    Aaron F
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    Thanks everyone

    Currently yes using gmail only because I have not created a website yet or bought a domain. My initial costs have already been quite high with the software and registrations, though I guess when advertising I should remove the email.

    For now my target market is towards the lower end with simple taxes, though as I get new clients I hope to move into maybe the lower mid tier.

    #1216665
    elissa.doxey
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    If you want to move beyond friends and family as clients, you’re going to have to get that website up & running, plus a Google My Business listing and invest some time into a marketing plan.
    Word of mouth has been the most effective for you so far because there’s no other way for potential clients to find out who you are & what you offer (besides price) – your facebook page is very limited on detail.

    Elissa

    #1216666
    JamesVP
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    I’m in a similar industry as a bas agent. I found that there’s value in talking to bigger players to get the work they don’t want- say small individual returns. Might be worth talking to a larger firm to see if they can refer the small stuff on for a referral fee?

    #1216667
    Aaron F
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    JamesVP, post: 261415, member: 111524 wrote:
    I’m in a similar industry as a bas agent. I found that there’s value in talking to bigger players to get the work they don’t want- say small individual returns. Might be worth talking to a larger firm to see if they can refer the small stuff on for a referral fee?

    How would you go about wording that, as I cannot think of a way that does not sound like I am intruding on someones territory? If the BAS was let’s say $100, what % of that would be the referral fee, or is it a fixed amount?

    #1216668
    Paul – FS Concierge
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    Hi Aaron,

    Let me have a shot.

    Some businesses grow beyond the point where some of their clients are no longer dream clients because on average, other clients are more profitable.

    It doesn’t always make sense for growing businesses to keep these clients but many do due to loyalty and other factors.

    Lets call these, “overflow” clients. You can imagine if big, and lucrative clients become the priority and the overflow clients can make it hard for the practice to maintain their vision and priorities.

    So it make sense for those practices to form alliances with businesses like yours who are fast and nimble and can make sure the client’s needs are looked after.

    Jump on the phone and start having conversations around overflow clients – if you serve them well, you will often be able to negotiate a $0 referral fee.

    Cheers.

    #1216669
    RunicConvenience
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    for a quick and working email service I like Zoho as they let you use your own domain for free *google used to do this* so you can get a professional email while the website/hosting other details are still being worked on without dealing with finding out your brand does not have any domain names available.

    if you want to do something different what about offering remote accounting maybe have an app that can take photos of deductable invoices, PAYG statements and receipts encrypt then send to you.

    allowing you the accountant to have all the details they need. alas would be more a thing for tax year workers vs business as I am assuming you would need more face to face and data than images of invoices

    as I feel its one area that seems to lack with accounting yet the ability to passively build up your records throughout the year by using photos as you buy deductibles so that your client info is already labelled and removes the whole issue of forgotten items

    #1216670
    Hassle Free Website
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    Aaron F, post: 261229, member: 111912 wrote:
    .My question would be how does one go about getting clients when just starting out?

    I’ve tried some Facebook ads, it had good click through but nothing converted into a sale so maybe that is more my sales funnel than anything.

    Next, I’m going to try some Google ads too.

    Another way I have been trying is looking at online small businesses website or lack of a website and then cold calling them with an offer, which has been okay.

    #1216671
    bb1
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    Hassle Free Website, post: 261471, member: 105019 wrote:
    Another way I have been trying is looking at online small businesses website or lack of a website and then cold calling them with an offer, which has been okay.

    I think if you are going to follow this approach if you are selling websites, SEO or Solar roof panels you may need a very thick skin. Just from talking to any off my acquaintance’s, if they get a call from any of these three industries, they get a very short response, rude answers or just hang ups as the majority are just sick of this group of cold callers. Personally I try to sell them goats, haven’t scored a sale as yet,.

    #1216672
    JacquiPryor
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    HI Aaron,

    This is only my opinion/experience but as a professional service provider as well I find social media REALLY difficult in terms of getting word out, gaining traction/interest and sales. Yes, we can tell our friends and families but they’re not necessarily our clients so getting past them can be tricky in my view. I’m only just now, some 7 years into running my biz actually really learning how Social Media could work for me.

    Certainly get a website (a decent one, don’t rush it) as soon as you can – ensure it is clear who you are, what you do, why you’re different etc. I’ve learned that writing articles (for your own blog or others) can help. Forums like this can be useful – both to learn in terms of your own business but also to help others and start getting your name out there and setting yourself up as a trustworthy advisor.

    I don’t currently run any Google PPC advertising but for me it has proven more successful in gaining traffic (and with the right website therefore converting to leads and then to clients etc) than the likes of Facebook.

    I find that in service based business Word of Mouth/Referrals is good – people want to know they’re engaging a trustworthy provider. Buying product is a bit different I think in terms of how you go about getting those customers.

    Connecting with others (e.g. bigger companies etc) for referral work or collaborative work could be really useful for you. I have that same thing in my profession, with a few other firms outsourcing certain parts of work to me- mostly because they don’t want to do it and I can provide it for them at a reasonable cost. It’s not necessarily an intrusion – you just need to research and pitch it around what you can offer them (e.g. better quality? Lower cost? Seamless work with their systems etc)

    I do agree with BB1 – certain industries might have a tougher time cold calling these days, such as SEO, Solar panels etc mentioned. As a tax agent I think it would be a bit different… we’re used to certain ‘cold calls’ in business, but, I have not ever had a call from an accountant, bookkeeper, tax agent etc in this way. I think the difficulty in the cold call approach for you would be that you don’t know whether the business has an accountant already, if they are happy with them etc so you’d have to prepare your ‘script’ somewhat carefully I would think?

    In any case, all the best with it :)

    #1216673
    Donna Klajman
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    Aaron F, post: 261242, member: 111912 wrote:
    Thanks everyone

    Currently yes using gmail only because I have not created a website yet or bought a domain. My initial costs have already been quite high with the software and registrations, though I guess when advertising I should remove the email.

    For now my target market is towards the lower end with simple taxes, though as I get new clients I hope to move into maybe the lower mid tier.
    Hi Aaron,

    First off, I found marketing a service is more challenging than marketing a product because, well, it’s invisible. You’re just making a promise. I know this because I also work in a service industry and run my own service business.

    One thing I have realised in running my own business is that in most professional services, you’re not selling expertise because your expertise is assumed. For example, how can you evaluate “a really good tax return”?

    What you will need to figure out is what will make a prospect choose you over your competitors? You will need to dive into the deeper benefits of why clients should give you their hard-earned money.

    What are you really selling? Just a hint, it’s not tax returns :)

    Once you figure this out, then you can go out there and market yourself. You are in business so it’s important to know how to make sure that clients know about you and can find you. You want to make sure that clients who are looking for taxation services that you offer can find you.

    You definitely need a website.

    Hope that helps.

    #1216674
    Peter – FS Administrator
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    Donna Klajman, post: 262584, member: 60045 wrote:
    What are you really selling? Just a hint, it’s not tax returns :)

    Some really great advice on this thread for selling services and standing out.

    I love that question of ‘what are you really selling’ and ‘USP’. It reminded me of a couple of articles from Flying Solo contributors that might help….

    What are you really selling? Hint: It’s not your time
    Most of us think we’re selling time, but really we’re selling our ability to solve problems. This requires creativity, and creativity requires space. Something most of us struggle to find.

    What’s your unique selling proposition (USP)?
    USP means ‘unique selling proposition’. Ironically, this boring-sounding term is what makes you really exciting to other people. Your USP is what makes you special.

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