Open to new ideas in CPA marketing

It is clear that the first 18 months of my new business marketing has been a flop. The consensus advice “you’re on the right track just keep doing what you are doing” is either insufficient or just plain wrong.

There is no logical explanation why my mix of marketing has not generated any new clients over this period nor any logical reason why doing the same would generate any clients in the future. I conclude that I must change. Unfortunately my willingness to accept change and be open to unfamiliar ideas from others may make me vulnerable to a new set of potential business errors.

What is clear is that my combination of online marketing, publication and in-person networking is not generating the volume of calls as in past businesses. My weakness is lead generation. So that has been the focus of my recent search for marketing help.

Yesterday I sat through a one hour presentation by a CPA and a CPA marketing consultant. The consultant has a good reputation with my state professional association. Both appear to be established and successful and I am waiting for some peer feedback on each of them. There were plenty of strong and appealing comments made during that presentation. However, completely missing from the presentation was any attempt to financially qualify me for the marketing program, any discussion of pricing, payment arrangements and responsibility for a successful outcome. I wondered: Am I that out-of-touch with today’s marketing techniques that things like price and payment arrangement don’t even enter into a business sales presentation anymore? Or is the opposite true: my instinctive alarm indicates that this is a smoke and mirrors presentation?

The real question I want answered: if I set aside my instinct and put my trust in someone else, am I still 100% responsible? If the answer is yes, then how do I balance my instinctive reaction with the need to be open to new approaches?



7 responses to “Open to new ideas in CPA marketing”

  1. Everything in the sales 101 manual says don’t mention price until you absolutely have to, and most successful consultants know that you are thinking that they will pay for themselves, so whatever they choose to charge isn’t important. (That’s usually wrong…but it’s what they think.)

    If they had mentioned a price during the presentation, and it was out of your budget, would you have really kept listening? They know, if you really want their service, you could find the money to pay them. What they don’t know is which thing they are going to present is going to be the ticket to your wallet.

    If you want a doctor to figure out why your back hurts, do you expect them to quote a fee or qualify you for payment? Why would you expect it from any other service?

    If you really wanted to know what their pricing is, did you ask?

  2. I’m not in line with that type of thinking Mike. From an accountant’s perspective, I don’t really care so much what the price of a product or service is compared to the assurances of performance, revenue flow, timing of payments as they relate to the ability of the payor to perform under the contract. On the flip side, if the engagement is unsuccessful, I want to know the details of the assurances and guarantees, the reputation and the financial ability of the payee to perform under the warranty. It’s not complicated; I’m just trying to cut through the marketing sizzle and get to the contractual details of the offer.

  3. You will be disappointed as that’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. 🙂

    But, the question still remains. You wanted to know this information. Why did you not ask for it?

  4. I did not ask because I waned to evaluate the presenter’s skills as a marketer. Presuming that the marketing services they are offering to me could be assessed by listening and observing their own presentation; it would have changed the presentation if I had interjected my own feedback immediately.

  5. I am coming to the conclusion that you are right in that “That’s not how any of this works”. My past success has been based on partnering with firms under contracts where payments are based on performance. I should stick with what I know. I should avoid deals like “you pay me but you are responsible for the financial outcome of my work”.

  6. I agree with that position BUT, at the end….you could have said, “one last question, this all sounds great, but what’s it going to cost?” That wouldn’t have changed the presentation at all.

    He already demonstrated his skills as a marketer as you agreed to view the presentation. Marketing and closing the sale are very different things.

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