The first article in this series focused on the basics of selling, such as identifying your niche, reaching the right clients for your firm, communicating the value you provide, and leveraging your firm’s strengths. In the second article, we talked about the importance of using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool to manage your contacts and selling additional services to existing clients.
In my final installment, we’re focusing on digital selling. Finding ways to capture leads online has always been important, but has become even more so since the onset of COVID-19.
It is important to distinguish between digital marketing and digital selling. While they are closely related and should work interdependently to drive business, their functions are different. Digital marketing seeks to connect and engage with the firm’s target audience, while digital selling attempts to convert that audience into paying clients.
Identifying lead sources
Do you currently track where your leads come from? If your firm is anything like ours, most come from referrals and word of mouth. However, over the past two years, Pure has implemented a digital outreach strategy because the internet provides massive opportunities to reach potential new clients that you wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
One really powerful tool for us is Google My Business (GMB), your business’ listing on Google Maps and Google’s main search engine results page (SERP). People can easily locate your online profile, contact information, website, reviews, and get directions to your office. Having an active profile on Google will help improve your visibility when someone searches “tax accountant near me.”
According to a study by BrightLocal, the accounting and financial services profession has the seventh highest discovery rate on Google, meaning prospects likely won’t be searching for you directly or by name. Instead, they will find their new tax pro by browsing the SERP. Since building out our GMB page, we’ve seen a sharp increase in phone calls and website inquiries. Setting up your GMB page is straightforward and offers increased visibility for your firm in a very competitive market. We encourage you to research strategies and best practices for building a robust Google My Business profile and optimizing your website, also known as search engine optimization, especially if you’re setting this up on your own instead of hiring a digital outreach specialist.
In another article for the Intuit® Tax Pro Center, I touched on the potential for social media platforms to be an effective way to network with colleagues. It’s also a great way to reach potential clients or for them to reach you. In fact, we’ve had several people reach out to us through Instagram direct messages.
I recommend taking some time to create a few social media profiles for your firm. You don’t have to take on all of them at once; start with just one or two – the ones that are most relevant to, and used by, your target audience. Then, be sure to stay active and reach out to members of your audience who are engaged and show interest in your services.
You may also find that your firm’s website is a great lead source. One of the easiest and most effective ways to capture prospective clients’ information is to have a simple and user-friendly form somewhere on your site, preferably on your home and contact pages. According to Process Street, capturing client details allows you to continue to market to them as they move down your funnel, where you can educate, build trust, and convert your visitors into customers.
Other lead sources include using a lead generation site that connects you with prospects for a fee and participating in online forums to attempt to generate interest in your firm’s services.
There are countless other ways to generate new business. Dedicate your effort and energy into lead sources that you’ve already had success with, and make the most sense for your firm’s services, culture, and target demographic. Finding your perfect digital sales mix is key!
Once you’ve identified ideal lead sources, the next task is to drive traffic to those platforms. In brief, start with a few goals and benchmarks, and create an actionable strategy around your sales mix. Be sure to track the success of your outreach and regularly reevaluate your strategy.
It’s also important to keep track of your interactions. CRMs are also useful when logging and engaging with prospective clients. Tools such as SalesForce and Insightly track communications and prospect actions as they move down your pipeline, giving you visibility into their conversion from lead to client, and your sales process as a whole.
Whatever digital sales mix you land on, make it your own. Distinguish yourself from the other tax pros that show up on the search results page by having a strong digital presence that is uniquely and genuinely you. Clients want to work with insightful, attentive, and relatable tax pros, so find ways to humanize your digital process and seek to form lasting relationships with everyone.