5 Marketing Challenges that may be Holding Back Your Firm

Many firms are struggling in today’s financial world to build client base and increase profitability.  So how are some firms growing in today’s economy?  The answer can be found in how they approach five marketing challenges that often hold many CPA firms back.   These challenges are based on client engagements and a series of studies that investigated the real-world practices of professional service firm owners, acquirers, valuation experts and service buyers.   The strategy your firm takes with these five challenges can have a direct effect on your bottom-line.

1. Your clients probably don’t know you.  When buyers were asked if they were aware of all the services provided by their CPA firm, 70% said no.  In a follow-up, when asked what services they would like for their CPA firm to offer, 80% listed services already provided by their firm.  By not providing consumers with information about what your firm can offer, many firms lose out on potential profit when those clients go to a second firm to handle specialized services.  Your firm must make a point of getting in front of your clients on a regular basis.  Now is the best time to let them know about relevant services and what your firm is capable of providing.
2. You don’t know enough about your clients.  Misjudging client motivations, needs and happiness can have a negative effect on how your clients perceive you.  In many cases, most CPA firms are unaware of their client’s dissatisfaction.  Making sure you find out what your customers want and how they view your firm is important to examine regularly.  It is also helpful to bring in a third party to interview your clients in order to get a more candid response.  The results of these interviews can lead to better customer service and allow you to adjust your offerings to suit your client.
3. You don’t know how to talk about yourself.  For most firms, referrals come from word of mouth or client referral.  It is critical that principals in a firm are able to clearly describe their firm and what they can offer potential clients.  Take the time to practice “elevator speeches” and be able to fully present why your firm is the right fit for the client.
4. You aren’t different (or nobody thinks you are).  Making your firm stand out is often a struggle for most CPA firms.  It is not enough to have great people and excellent customer service you must provide something that no other firm is providing.  Do not be afraid to specialize.
5. You have the wrong marketing priorities.  Most firms spend about 4% of revenues on marketing and rely on the traditional method of business development through referrals and personal networking.  It has been shown, however, that high-growth firms are more interested in fulfilling client needs and wants and spend a much larger amount of revenue on marketing.  The high-growth firms that are the most successful utilize marketing techniques such as public relations, direct marketing, tradeshows, newsletters and devote more energy to their website to generate leads.  This emphasis on marketing has been shown to be a great way to increase growth.

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