Getting new leads without networking

Did you enjoy attending networking events before the lockdown?

One thing you learn pretty quickly when you start networking is that it’s really hard to find a new clients at networking events. It’s hit and miss. And most often it’s a miss. Quite simply no one goes to a networking event in the hope of finding a tax adviser or a new accountant.

This can be quite frustrating if that was why you forced yourself to attend an event with a bunch of strangers.

Building a website takes time and money and then you are hoping that people searching online will find your website and get in touch.

This is partly why advertising has its place for tax services. Sadly most such advertising is, of necessity, of the ‘spray and pray’ variety. And it’s typically quite expensive too in terms of the ‘cost of acquisition’ for a new client. The cost of acquisition tends to fall if you can afford a targetted, focused and sustained advertising campaign – but this tends to require a hefty up front investment.

I am seeing an increasing number of accountants and tax advisers attempting to market themselves on Linkedin and on other online platforms. Such approaches are free from a financial cost but take a lot of time and effort before they really pay off and generate business. I have written plenty on this blog about the myths and misconceptions surrounding social media and Linkedin. This is why so many accountants and tax advisers struggle to generate business through these media.

There is another option of course. One with a low cost of acquisition, that requires no ongoing time and effort and which only generates leads from people who need your expertise. I’m thinking of this Tax Advice Network website. Maybe now is the time to register so that you can be found when people in your area are looking for help with their tax issues, challenges and problems. Or you can continue doing what you’ve always done and hope that things will get better. Except that ‘hope’ is never much good as a business strategy.


“How can I get more tax work at a time like this?”

I was asked this question by a tax adviser who had started her own practice a year or so ago.

She had seen other people being criticised online for pitching for work. We’ve probably all seen the messages containing overt sales pitches. And others that include ‘special offers’ but which still come across as crass, unthoughtful and opportunistic.

Especially in these unprecedented times, none of us wants to damage our credibility through the way we promote our services.

Still though I would say that is fine, in principle, for you to try to win new clients at this time.

I would suggest however that your primary focus should first be on helping your existing clients. This is especially the case if your pitch to new clients is to offer the help that their current accountants have not provided. You need to practice what you preach!

As regards trying to win new clients I suggest you think about how you react to others who are trying to sell to you at this time. Or indeed, at any time. Few of us like it. Even less so when we have other important priorities. And we probably all have even more of these at the moment than ever before.

Now, the question I was asked was not: Is it ok to try selling my services at this time?

If that had been the question I would say, NO. Not if your focus is on ‘selling’ as such.

Of course it does depend on how you define selling. I prefer to think about it more as being of service. The process often starts by gaining an understanding of someone’s needs, problems, challenges and difficulties. This process includes clarifying the negative impact (financial, strategic, emotional etc) of these problems etc and then discussing potential solutions and the positive impact that could flow from these. Being of service in this way is way of helping people, not selling to them.

When you approach people with genuine interest and positive intent you are not exploiting or taking advantage. You are helping. If it doesn’t come across that way, you’re doing it wrong! Effective communication is never defined by your intentions but by how well it is received. If others misunderstand you then YOU have to change the way you communicate. You can’t force anyone to listen differently!

And of course, it’s even easier if they are approaching you because they want help with a specific tax issue, challenge or problem. And, of course, that’s what happens when they search online and find you via this Tax Advice Network website.


Advertising your services online

Is it worth paying to advertise on LI, facebook, Google or elsewhere?

Clearly it depends on who you’re targetting and where you can best reach them.

Also whether you’re prepared to invest sufficient in a campaign rather than in ad-hoc adverts.

But there’s another key point that is often overlooked.

Even if you know WHO you are targetting and even if you can focus your adverts to appeal to such people. There is a key factor that probably limits the outcome of your advertising efforts in a way that many marketing people seem to overlook.

This is whether your target audience are the sort of people who will respond to an advert for a service when they could ask for referrals, follow natural search results or ask their connections.

Over the years the Tax Advice Network website has remained consistently close to the top of Google for many tax related search queries. This is partly due to our longevity and the hundreds of back links to our site. This is also why so many tax advisers and tax accountants remain members of the Network. It’s s pretty cost effective route to securing relevant leads and new business.