Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Monday, February 8th, 2016

Enchant? Engage? Why Not Just Make Them Say… “Wow!”

Screenshot 2016-02-07 12.39.28I write a lot about engaging your employees in their work and engaging them in the mission of the firm. I read even more about employee engagement, what you should do and what you shouldn’t do. I just Googled “employee engagement” and received 24,200,000 possibilities.

This weekend, I read an article on HBR by Tim Leberecht about ways to enchant your employees. Oh boy, now engage is not enough, we must enchant!

Marketers for Apple and Disney use enchantment all the time. Enchantment leads to attachment, something that is even greater than loyalty.

Now, it seems, with our employees, we must use enchantment because satisfaction means our basic needs are met. Happiness means our emotional needs are met. Enchantment gives us meaningful experiences we didn’t even know we needed.

The author of the article admits that we can’t be enchanted every day because enchantment remains by its very nature an occasional, peak experience.

About 20 years ago, it seemed work life was much simpler. I was working in a growing, progressive CPA firm. One of our main goals was to make our people say, “Wow!”. We did this periodically, not every day, of course. We had very little turnover.

Back then I wasn’t aware of “engaging” or “enchanting” our team members. We simply did our best to hire great people and stay focused on their needs, their opinions and making our culture a positive one.

Keep it simple at your firm. Occasionally surprise your people with something that makes them say, “Wow!”.

Today’s quote, below, will give you food for thought!

  • Whatever deceives men seems to produce a magical enchantment.
  • Plato

Monday, December 28th, 2015

What Kind Of Creative New Services Are You Offering?

I recently read a story on Fast Company, These 3 Entrepreneurs Started Companies To Help Their Grandparents.

We often think of young entrepreneurs as being very wrapped up in developing things for millennials. However, the three examples are young people creating solutions for their grandparents. And, they are capitalizing on the huge market that is our aging population.

What is your firm doing to tap into this huge market? Maybe you should solicit ideas from your own young people.

  • And the beauty of a woman, with passing years only grows.
  • Audrey Hepburn

Wednesday, December 16th, 2015

Practice Growth Is Not The Same Old Game

gold-backgroundFor years, CPAs have used a handful of methods to grow their practice. Most of them have always been individually focused.

Per Gale Crosley’s recent article, Rocket Powered Growth, in Accounting Today, all of that has changed dramatically. I couldn’t agree more.

Traditional firm growth model has featured:

  • Individual contribution: Partners each have their individual books of business and are measured on retaining and growing these books one client at a time.
  • Tactical: A primary activity was banker breakfasts and lawyer lunches, designed to cultivate referrals one new client at a time.
  • Generalist: Hang out a shingle to all comers, then wait for the phone to ring.
  • Boots on the ground: Face-to-face meetings with prospective buyers one at a time.

The new model for growth is very different:

  • Leader-driven: When leading growth, not just doing it, partners are converted to business unit leaders who own the profitable growth of a service line or industry.
  • Strategic: The objective of leaders is to conquer markets one at a time, not just individual referred clients one at a time.
  • Specialist: The faster way to growth is through focus on particular industries and buyer groups, instead of all comers.
  • Technology-centric: Using the capability of today’s technologies enables us to increase market size and melt away geographic borders to find buyers in far-flung places.

It is not all about the firm’s big rainmaker anymore. It requires leadership and teamwork.

As Crosley states, “In today’s competitive environment, it’s risky at best for one ‘lone ranger’ partner to know what nobody else knows and to sell what nobody else can sell.” Hunters must transform to leaders of the hunt. Be sure to take the time to read Crosley’s article.

Something I have been stressing for years is that EVERYONE in the firm has a role in growing the firm – not just one or two rainmaker partners. See Crosley’s quote below.

  • You can no longer rely on a small number of rainmakers, but instead create growth leaders, and leverage the strength of every member of the firm.
  • Gale Crosley

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Different

Do you have a tagline that is very similar to other firms?

Do you have a website that is very similar to other firms?

Do you treat your people in a way that is very similar to other firms?

As I consult with firms across the nation, one of the first things that the partners tell me is “we are different from other firms”. Yet, to me, they appear very similar to other firms.

A new year is approaching. Why not make 2016 the year to seriously explore how you can differentiate yourself in your market – to attract clients and to attract people.

Maybe you really do provide the same services as other firms…. but, how can you describe and sell those services in a very unique way? How can you do similar things but “sell” them differently?

CPAs are risk adverse. Don’t be afraid to be different.

  • "Conventional is not for me. I like things that are uniquely Flo. I like being different.
  • Florence Griffith Joyner

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

Networking Is A Part Of Public Accounting – Get Good At It.

In a recent article in the Ohio Society of CPA’s Voice magazine, Kyle Shumate, Industry Marketing Specialist at Clark Schaefer Hackett (Top 100 firm) shares some great advice on networking.

It is a great article to share with your new hires, including interns.

Here’s Kyle’s 10 Way to Network Effectively

  1. Determine a goal
  2. Prepare an elevator pitch
  3. Ask open-ended questions
  4. Arrive early
  5. Limit your drinking
  6. Collect information
  7. Go out on your own
  8. Follow-up afterward
  9. Demonstrate value
  10. Think long term

Follow this link to read about each one of these. Share the link with your beginners AND with your managers. I often find that managers have procrastinated for several years about developing their networking skills.

  • Arguing with a fool proves there are two.
  • Doris M. Smith

Tuesday, October 27th, 2015

Are Your Marketing Efforts Really Getting You Anywhere?

My friend, Bonnie Buol Ruszczyk, President of bbr marketing, and her team love to help their CPA firm clients GET AHEAD. Perhaps it is time to explore some outside marketing assistance to help you, so you can help your own clients get AHEAD.

Thus, their creative, humorous and unique Halloween Card. I love it!

Here is a picture of their card that I received in the mail last week. How on earth did they end up in that frightful situation?

FullSizeRender 8.46.45 AM

  • There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.
  • George Carlin

Tuesday, October 20th, 2015

How Do You Make Your Clients Say, “Wow!”?

Yesterday was my birthday. As usual, I opened up my browser and hit the Google site. There it was, the Google Doodle with birthday images. There was a cake with candles, cupcakes and other birthday goodies.

I thought to myself… “today must be some famous person’s birthday – the same day as mine.”

When I put the cursor over the image, guess what appeared?

“Happy Birthday Rita”

It made me smile and think Wow! Of course, I wondered how they did this.

The point I want to make to you, CPA firm leaders, is – do you think Google has more customers than you? Yes, certainly. Then why aren’t you doing something to make your clients think, “Wow!”?

Happy Birthday Rita



  • Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be.
  • Robert Browning

Tuesday, October 13th, 2015

Use Slides To Sell Your Services – But Do It The Right Way!

I’ve done hundreds of presentations over the last 20 years and my material has definitely evolved. Yes, speaking to accountants, I sometimes still use bullet points. Hopefully, I am getting better each year.

For you, enlightening clients and potential clients, you have to do it right. Here’s a great slideshow by Seth Godin that he shared on SlideShare.

Just take a couple of minutes to quickly page through them. I’m sure it will inspire you to make some changes to your sales approach and to your training presentation approach.
Here’s Godin’s basic 3 rules:
  1. STOP using your slide as a teleprompter.
  2. Leave behind a HANDOUT, a written document.
  3. Remember to SELL THEM your ideas.
He also notes, don’t leave behind a copy of your slides. They are meaningless without YOU. (Something I’m sure going to adopt.)
  • Give them a reason to believe.
  • Seth Godin

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Uphill Battle

3625105886_0423e46a9a_mI feel their pain.

I am talking about accounting firm marketing directors/coordinators. They are not like accountants at all. That’s why firms hire them. The owners want someone who knows something about actual professional service firm marketing. PSF marketing is different from regular marketing. The owners don’t always realize that fact and usually believe that a marketing professional will actually SELL. While they think they need a marketing person, they dig their heels in when it comes to listening to the marketing person.

Often it is a real uphill battle for the marketing director to obtain the support of the owner group as they do their best to brand the firm as unique, creative and original.

My advice for marketing directors is: Don’t waste your time on the laggards. Profile the owners one-by-one. Which ones are open to change and which ones will detour you? Then, the next time you have an idea and some owners drag their heels, move on!

Work with the healthy part of the owner group. Actual success on various projects just might win the laggards over.

Photo: flickr user LMAP Megyarsh

  • Spend 80% of your time focusing on the opportunities of tomorrow rather than the problems of yesterday.
  • Brian Tracy

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

What Works For You… Not Everyone Else.

I was reading an article on Fast Company about how Uber approached their markets differently. What would work in NYC wouldn’t necessarily appeal to someone in Seattle or Washington, DC.

When you are branding your firm, serving your clients and hiring talented people, are you trying to do it like “a firm you know” in a completely different part of the country? Perhaps, it is even a very different size firm?

It’s not that any one firm is right and another wrong. You must know your market.

I get so many questions about starting salaries. It depends on where you are located.

What about what your clients like, why they come to you? A lot of it could depend on your geographical location.

Figure out what works for you and then do it.

  • Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.
  • William Sprague