Will the Traditional CPA Client Acquisition/Service/Retention Model Survive More Economic Decline?
As the economy continues to be mired in high unemployment, high gasoline prices, flat growth and competitive pressures on pricing, CPA firms struggle to retain clients who want to commoditize the industry. This empowerment takes the form of asking/demanding price relief for compliance-oriented services (tax return preparation and audit) or low value accounting services. Commoditizing a practice is no solution for an extended period of time especially for firm owners seeking to retire in the next 3 to 5 years.
What is the reaction of a CPA firm in a slow economy experiencing flat or even negative growth? The knee jerk reaction is to hire a marketing specialist to create community awareness of the firm. “Hey we’re out here come look at us! We’re the biggest or the oldest or have the partners with the most experience and best professional and administrative staff in San Diego. We should be your CPA firm. We are honest and ethical and deliver only the highest quality service”
Uh excuse me – wrong message. We, we, we, me, me, me is the signal sent out to your targeted prospects. The prospect does not care what you know. The prospect assumes all CPAs are technically competent. They don’t care about a tax return they don’t care about an audit. These are a cost of doing business and frankly, the cheaper the better. Again, it’s back to commoditizing your services. So what message does the client want to hear? The client wants to hear our firm understands your business and your industry. We listen to what you want and our mission is to help you become more successful.
Here’s what’s at stake. Helping clients grow their business inoculates you against competitive threat. It also removes pricing pressure from clients as you add value to their businesses. Introduce clients to strategic partners to fill service needs you don’t offer. This leads to more referrals for the firm. You are no longer viewed as a commodity. Be proactive – initiate the conversation and ask the right questions.
To know, for free (value worth $ 150) the Three Things that you can do now to stop your practice from being a commodity,
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Published with permission from Bill Tsotsos, BD Consultants.
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