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I feel like I owe you an apology, as I've been out of touch for a few weeks; and I've been getting a number of emails and calls asking me "What's Up?"
Well, I'm not one for excuses. As my old Navy Chief Wagner said: "Excuses are like @$$-holes; everyone's got one and they all stink!"
However, I want to share with you the reason I've been out of touch for the past few weeks.
I wish I could say that I've enjoyed a great relaxing vacation out on some beach far from email, cell phones, and domestic beer; but that wouldn't be the truth.
The fact is that I've been laid up with a horrible, debilitating injury.
Back when I was in the Navy, I was involved in a training accident and ruptured a couple discs in my lower back. In the middle of a drill, I felt a "pop" and my legs collapsed from under me. I was unable to get up. At that point, it was three weeks before I could walk. After about a year-and-a-half of re-hab, I was able to walk again with only a little pain. However, I lost 40% of the nerve sensation in my left leg, and it's never come back. In the following years, physical therapy and treatment got me moving again; but every now and then, the injury rears up and shows its ugly head.
About 8 weeks ago, I started having back pain again. I went to my regular Doctor and Chiropractor, and started treatment & therapy; but it wasn't helping.
In fact, the pain is getting worse.
I did manage to make it on a fishing trip with my Dad and brother up in Canada; but endured a tremendous amount of pain. Each morning we took the boat out on the open ocean; and with each wave we bumped into, it felt like lightening bolts of pain were radiating up my spine and down my legs.
Despite my pain, we had a great time, and managed to catch a bunch of salmon, halibut and rock fish.
Our guide & host, Wayne Bazen, (Winter Harbor Lodge & Charters) is a super guy, and really knows how to put his clients on fish.
In fact, I even learned a thing or two about marketing on the trip; and I'll be sharing the lessons this week.
Upon returning from Canada, the pain has gotten progressively worse. I've been unable to sit at the computer to type, walk around; you know, basic life stuff. I've been laid up in bed; and even the simplest tasks are extremely painful.
Right now, as I write this, I'm standing at my tall table and typing, as that's the only way I can work right now. Luckily, I can think on my feet!
I hope you and those you love never have to experience pain like this.
At this point, I'm able to get back to work, as my mind has adjusted to a new pain threshold; so I'll be writing again regularly; sharing cutting edge, effective and field tested marketing tips.
While I've been laid up, I've developed some new products and offerings that I'll be sharing with you in the upcoming weeks. With the downturn in the economy, it's even more important to start and maintain your marketing efforts.
Stay tuned to get in on the very special limited offers coming up.
Thank you for your patience and well wishes! As always, I remain:
Dedicated to your practice development,
David Rachford, CPA
Last weekend - I was a klutz.
I stubbed my toe on a curb, turning a toe purple...
I banged my knee on a cabinet, bruising my knee cap.
But these painful experiences carry a lesson.
In both instances, I was distracted and not looking where I was going. The result: PAIN.
Physical pain is one thing - when it's a simple bruise, the pain passes in a couple days.
But when you have pain like not having enough clients to pay the bills, or provide for your future, it can last for a while...
Until you figure out the direction you want to go, and start evaluating your progress in a systematic way.
Every successful accountant has followed a well traveled path to success.
So beware of klutzy marketing moves rob you of money and time.
Some of the klutzy marketing moves I've made in the past are:
* Not focusing on the direction of my firm
* Not being selective enough of the "right" prospects and clients
* Not measuring the results of marketing campaigns
* Wasting money on marketing methods that don't work
* Being lazy about marketing - in other words, taking a break
* Failing to properly and persistently follow up with prospects
After you objectively identify past mistakes, get clear on what you want.
Then identify the map to get you to where you want to go.
There are two main components you need to have in place:
1. The map
2. The directions
The map is a clear picture of where you want to go. The firm you want to build. The clients you want to serve. The reputation you want to have in your business community.
The directions are the specific route or turns you need to take to get to your destination. It goes without saying that if you can avoid wrong turns, you'll get there quicker.
There is more than one way to get to a destination.
For example, in the great road rally "The Cannonball Run" -
the goal is to get from New York to Los Angeles in the shortest amount of time. Some racers take the Northern route through the Dakotas, some take the Southern route through the Southwest. Both will end up in Los Angeles. If you're following an old map, you're more likely to make a wrong turn and waste time (and money on gas!)
Right now, I'm putting together a new "Map" and "Directions" to help you market your firm. Stay tuned over the next weeks as I reveal more details...
Dedicated to your practice,
David Rachford, CPA
P.S. Feel free to share your comments below on what marketing steps you've found to be helpful or a waste of time and resources! Comments make this blog more fun!
I just got back from visiting my families Cabin It was my Dad's 69th birthday, and he only wanted two things from me. Labor and home-made ice cream.
There's no problem convincing me that hand-cranked ice cream in July is a treat not to be missed. But the labor? It was an intimidating job.
I really got my hands dirty. Mike Rowe from "Dirty Jobs" would have been proud of me.
My job was to rip off the 50 year old shingle roof and prepare the roof for re-shingling. I got so dirty that when I got home, I just threw away the filthy clothes I wore up there.
While I was up on the roof in the sun, I got to thinking about what I could do to help you INSTANTLY market your practice. Maybe the sun and exhaustion got to me, but I realized that you don't even need to get your hands dirty to market your firm.
See, I've done all the dirty work for you.
Need a press release? - Done.
Website content? Done.
Referral Program? Done.
It's all included!
I want to send you a copy of "The Accountants Marketing Bible" at no charge. You'll instantly get a link to download your copy via my Membership Website, and I'll send you a printed copy of the Accountants Marketing Bible and a bunch of bonuses via mail.
So here's a resource for new subscribers to my Marketing Newsletter for Accountants ( David's Accounting Marketing News ) I'm giving away 7 copies of this marketing package - in honor of in honor of the 6.9 decades my father has lived.
This 147 page manual shows you:
How to get clients and referrals with a client newsletter
How to improve you Internet Marketing
How to avoid wasting your marketing dollars on stuff that doesn't work
4 things that every ad must have (including your website)
Website Case Studies and Makeovers
How to harness the power of F_r_e_e Publicity
Ready to use articles and press releases
and much much more...
I'm making only 7 special packages available as I'm going to be taking the Accountants Marketing Bible off the market very shortly, and I'm re-vamping my whole Inner Circle Membership (It's going to get bigger and better) So in the meantime, lock in your lowest price now, and get instant access to a bunch of my best stuff.
When these 7 memberships are gone, they're gone.
Act fast - there are only 7 copies of the Accountants Marketing Bible available to new subscribers.
New subscribers also get:
Two back issues of David's Accounting Marketing News (value $97)
Website Critique Certificate (Value $250)
Customer Appreciation Event Ticket (Value $495)
Audio Cd on Persuasive Sales Techniques (value $59)
Audio CD on Telephone & Appoinment Sales Techniques (Value $59)
Audio CD on Publicity Marketing For Accountants (value $59)
Audio CD on Referral Marketing and Strategy (value $59)
Added up, that's $1,222.00 in value and bonuses for a no-cost trial. Only a nominal shipping charge applies.
Take advantage of this limited time opportunity to get a ton of practice building information.
So click here to check out David's Inner Circle for Marketing Accountants.
Have a great day!
David Rachford, CPA
PS: Here's what a current member has to say:
Dave's marketing strategies is just what I needed to build on the things I am already doing. If you want to take your business to the next step, make sure Dave's on board. I know I will double my profitability for next year.
Jeff Matthews, CPA, MBA Louisiana
A couple weeks ago Tim Russert passed away - and Journalism suffered a great loss. Tim epitomized "trust" and integrity in broadcasting, and I will show how to develop trust in your firm to enhance your marketing.
Today, we're going to follow up with step 3: Getting your prospects and clients to Trust you.
As we've been talking over the last few days, people do business with people they:
know, like and trust.
That's great - but how do you get trust you?
Before we get into the "Trust" element, let's revisit the "People do do business with people.." part of the axiom.
There's a common misconception that Business to Business (B2B) marketing is different than person to person, or Business to Consumer marketing (B2C). That's simply not true.
Even if you've got more than one person on the other end of the decision, you're doing business with people. If the business does have a brand identity, the decision makers of the company are people; and people make decisions emotionally, and then will justify those decision with logic.
Think about it, even the board of directors of public companies must make decisions which will enhance shareholder value.
They then justify it with logic: "Enhancing Shareholder Value is our basis for decisions. This vendor has a good track record. This vendor gave us prior case studies and references (social proof.) This vendor made specific recommendations for our product(specificity.) This vendor invited us to review their process from the inside (confidence.) Their team is really committed to our success."
So let's get into "Trust."
Know: What does it mean to "Trust" someone?
In general, we trust people (and companies) when they deliver on their promises and commitments. You show up on time. You deliver the goods and services when you say you will. You provide a quality service.
Tim Russert developed a trustworthy voice by showing up on time for his "Meet the Press" show for over 20 years. He consistently showed his lack of bias, which became refreshing in this day and age of increasingly polarized and biased media.
Another example: my webmaster, Kevin. ( http://www.southjerseygraphics.com ) If I need help with a graphic, or website page, I know that I can email my wishes, or task list, and he'll get right back to me with any clarifying questions, and an estimated completion date. If something comes up that prevents him from meeting his original estimated completion date, I know that he'll communicate with me and let me know what's up. And the project will get done, and I know I'll be pleased with the work.
Another example is when you're selecting a vendor.
In fact, I'd like to use the CPA Marketing Center as an example. When people first come to the site, they review past blog posts, check out the "About David" page, read testimonials, and perhaps opt in to the email list. Then over the course of days, weeks, or even months, get to know me. I put my personality into the newsletter, and perhaps they even like me. By showing consistency in delivering relevant and useful information, readers begin to trust me.
Trust is an essential element in overcoming fear. Fear is an emotion which prevents people from both making decisions, and entering relationships. I've said before that "education cures fear." and by educating prospects and clients, you make them more confident that they can trust your information and advice, and therefore, it's safe to enter into a "relationship" with you.
I've has some readers of my e-zine place an order within a few days of discovering this website, but many place orders after six months of reading the newsletters and blog posts. In other words, consistency and repetition build trust.
When you're trying to reach a broader audience and get them to trust you, you must get your personal message out on a broader scale.
A great way to get prospects and clients to trust you and your firm better is to use a client newsletter to keep in regular touch with your prospects and clients on a monthly basis. (I'll get into why Monthly is optimal in just a minute. CPA Client Newsletters for Marketing your practice.
In fact, I've written a special report on newsletter marketing best practices, and it's available for download by clicking this link. Newsletters For Accountants Special Report
Dedicated to your practice development,
In this week's series of Accounting Marketing tips, I've been sharing with you a formula that has been proven time and time again in marketing products and services.
People do business with people they KNOW, LIKE and TRUST.
In the second installment, I'm going to talk about the "Likability" factor.
Just this week, comedian George Carlin passed away. We can learn a lesson from George when it comes to marketing.
Ok, I know I risk turning a few of you off because some people can't stand George Carlin and his foul mouth, ideas and rants on certain hot issues... But he was liked and loved by millions.
George made people laugh.
Likability tip #1: Laughter.
A great tool to connect with people. Quite often, if you can get someone to laugh, you'll be able to sell them on your services.
So keep a few tax jokes handy.
If a lawyer and an IRS agent were both drowning, and you could only save one of them, would you go to lunch or read the paper?
What's the definition of an accountant?
Someone who solves a problem you didn't know you had in a way you don't understand.
Over in the membership area for my Inner Circle for Marketing Accountants, I have a collection of hundreds of Tax, Accounting and Financial Jokes ready for you to use and enjoy. In fact, it's 30 pages of cover to cover laughs, sure to generate instant rapport with your clients and prospects. (a $39.95 value)
Sign up now for a Free 30 Day Test Drive and gain instant access to the membership site and all the bonuses! Click Here for my Inner Circle For Marketing Accountants.
George came across as a "regular guy."
Likability Tip #2: Be Real.
Just be yourself. It's ok that not everyone will like you. That's fine. We're not trying to win over everyone.
Show your human, Show you have feelings and empathy.
And here's a big one: Be vulnerable. By being vulnerable, you open yourself up to being liked, and won't seem too full of yourself.
In fact, when interviewing for a job, many hiring pros ask: "so what are your faults?"
The right answer is something that actually makes you even more attractive to the person hiring you... For example: "You know, I'm not perfect. I'm a bit nuts about being on time. I care too much about getting work done accurately. And I really have an obsession about paying the least amount legally possible to the IRS."
Try to talk in plain language and leave the techno-speak back at the office. Clients don't want to know about "Section 179" they want to "Save Taxes Now." Be a "person of the people" like Will Rogers, or well... George Carlin.
George created rapport, almost instantly.
Likability Tip #3: Create rapport.
One way to get people on your side almost immediately is to identify your enemies. George made fun of stupid people, government, and silly expressions in the English language (among other things.)
As an accountant, common enemies to the small business owner are: The IRS & Taxes, Complexity in Business, and yes, even Employees.
Your job is to paint a picture of the enemy, and be the crusader that rescues and relieves your clients from their enemies.
Bipartisan usually means that a larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.
Can a stupid person be a smart-ass?
Why is the third hand on the watch called a second hand?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?
Love him or hate him, the man had talent, and we can learn a lot from George Carlin. R.I.P.
Almost immediately, you can tell whether you like someone. Usually it's in the eyes, posture, dress; in other words; the first minute in creating an impression is key. Beyond that, we're constantly sizing people up trying to determine if a prospect, client, or acquaintance is worth knowing.
Being Likable is a strong persuasion tool. Last month, I interviewed Dave Lakhani, author of "Persuasion: The Art of Getting What You Want" for my Inner Circle Members.
The tele-conference I had with Dave Lakhani is jam-packed with all kinds of tips that will not only help you be more persuasive, but be instantly likable.
That recorded interview will is also immediately available on Inner Circle Member's Page Act fast, when you sign up for your test drive, I will mail you a pile of bonuses, back issues, and a copy of the "Accountant's Marketing Bible" - over 4 pounds of practice building material! Sign up now for a Free 30 Day Test Drive and gain instant access to the membership site and all the bonuses! Click Here for my Inner Circle For Marketing Accountants.
In the last accounting marketing tip, I showed you how to identify your best prospects.
Today, we're going to follow up with step 2: Getting your prospects and clients to "Know, Like and Trust" you.
You've heard it before, people do business with people they know, like and trust.
That's great - but how do you get people you don't know to know, like and trust you?
Think about the people you feel you know. Chances are you've spent some time with them, corresponded with them, perhaps exchanged emails, had phone conversations, etc.
To know someone, you generally feel that you understand their perspective, patterns of thinking and how they go about their daily lives.
To know a business, you are familiar with the products or services they provide. For example, when I think of Amazon.com, I know they are the best place to buy the books I want at a discount. When I think of Costco, I know I'm going to walk out of there having spent over $100.00.
In the case of marketing your accounting firm, your first goal is to get people to know you and your firm.
Let's face it. Most people think a) All Accountants are the same, b) Their Accountant is great, or c) I don't need an accountant.
Prospects don't know you from Adam.
Prospects don't know what you can really provide.
(If you want to know what Accountants Really provide, I suggest you listen to Michael Gerber's Tele-conference from last week. His insights were truly powerful. Click Here to listen to a sample of the interview with Michael Gerber: http://www.cpamarketingcenter.com/promo/GerberSample.wav To get full instant access to the complete recording, click here for a Free 30 day test drive of my Inner Circle for Marketing Accountants. http://www.cpamarketingcenter.com/innercircle.php
Hopefully, your clients know you a little better.
So how do you get your prospects & clients to know you?
Simple really. Simply reach out and touch them. Spend some time with them. And provide them with valuable information on a continuing basis.
Dedicated to your practice development,
p.s. If you're looking for a detailed lesson by noted expert and Author John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, a 55 minute completed Audio CD is available for those who want to test drive my Inner Circle for Marketing Accountants. Click here to see all the other goodies you get on the no-obligation test drive. What Every Accountant Needs to Know about Marketing: http://www.cpamarketingcenter.com/innercircle.php
Hi, Just wanted to give you all a "head's up" about a few big developments at the CPA Marketing Center;
Full Details Michael Gerber Teleconference details down farther in this post.
1. Next week, I'm launching the Inner Circle "Members Area" which will be a great resource for you. Each month, I'll be continuing to mail you "David's Accounting Marketing News, aka "D.A.M.N. Good Marketing, along with the Audio CD interview. via first class mail.
In addition, there will be more great resources available on-line. The reason for adding this resource for you Inner-Circle members is to make the tools I provide more easily accessible and "ready to use." In other words, with a few clicks, you'll have a ready to deploy sales letter in just a few minutes; as well as being able to instantly access additional tools.
Here are a few of the items I'm going to be posting to the secure Member area:
* Audio Interview Archive on Mp3 - Listen or download to the last 2 months of expert audio interviews. Updated Monthly.
* Bonus Audio Interview Archives on Mp3 - a few selected highlight interviews available for download. Including:
o Michael Gerber - Author of "the E-Myth"
o John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing
o Payroll Marketing
o Publicity and PR Marketing with Dan Janal of PRleads.com
* Sales Letters and Lead Generating Letters in MS Word format
* Lead Generating postcard formats
* Appointment Confirmation Formats
* Marketing Schedule & Planning guide
* Special reports on Niche Marketing
2. Michael Gerber, Live Teleconference Details:
“Learn The Secrets Of
Creating a World Class Accounting Firm”
Subject: Exclusive Live Tele-Conference with Michael Gerber
I highly encourage you to print this post as a reminder by your desk and mark this event on your calendar.
What: Teleconference with Michael Gerber
Date: June 18th, 2007
Time: 4:00 p.m. PST, 7:00 p.m. EST
Where: Teleconference, Your office
The Number to call is: 712 - 432 - 3000
The Bridge # is: 275 635
The call will last approximately One Hour.
Dedicated to your practice development,
David Rachford, CPA
Today, I'm going to share with you my strategy to identify your best prospects.
First, let's look at why you must identify your best prospects.
The number one reason to focus on getting ideal clients is that you will avoid wasting time and expense chasing bad prospects.
The mind thinks in pictures; Start building a picture in your mind by looking at your current clients. Answer the following questions:
How old is my ideal prospect?
Male, or Female?
What kinds of businesses do they have?
What is my "reward?" (i.e. What is the lifetime value of this client?)
Where are these clients known to be found? (local trade associations like the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, Church, etc.)
Now you know what your ideal prospect looks like, what businesses they are in, your reward and where you find them.
It's a hell of a lot easier in your accounting marketing once you have a picture.
The final step is to put this picture up in your office, by your desk or in your hallway, perhaps even in your breakroom.
Posting these "wanted posters" in your office will spread the word around your firm and serve as a reminder that you're "looking for a few good clients."
Above, I've created a sample wanted poster. This took about 30 seconds. The link to create your own wanted poster is below.
For the picture, I suggest you either find a Stock image, or google "business owner" and find an image that fits your description.
I challenge you to invest five minutes to do this exercise. It's your first step in getting clear on what prospects you should pursue and what clients you want.
Dedicated to your practice development,
P.S. Be sure to tune in Next week for our Teleconference with Michael Gerber.
Today it occurred to me that with so many new readers to this website and blog, and with hundreds of posts archived on this site, I should post a "Best of" list of past posts. As I review the archives, I'll periodically update this list; but here's a quick start.
David S. Rachford, CPA-Inactive
Looking for marketing strategies to build your accounting practice? Use this blog as a reference to improve your marketing with tested strategies and tactics.CPA Marketing, Marketing For Accountants
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