How to win me as a value priced lifetime legal or accounting client
By Jim Thompson
For many of you, myself and my business are an ideal client, guaranteed low maintenance and somewhere in the 5 figures p.a. bracket and 6 figure lifetime value.
I am a 20 year business owner with 2 other partners, family structures, SMSF and somewhat detailed business requirements for commercial contracts.
I have an existing 10 year relationship with my existing accountant who has become my friend and I still struggle to find a lawyer that understands my business and its nuances.
I can tell you right now that you will never win my business by referral, I am not looking to change accountants because I have no compelling reason to do so and I will continue to try and get by without a lawyer and wing it.
Yep you can sit back and wait for something to go pear shaped for me and hope that somehow I magically get referred to you or I find you by my own means.
If you are a lawyer;
- I can tell you now I am not going to spend my time educating another lawyer on the nuances of my business and the contractual issues that confront a business like mine.
- My clients don’t want 20 page legal documents for the work that I perform.
- I am not interested in generalists or someone who may have worked with one business “similar” to mine.
The number one burning issue for me in my business from a commercial perspective is managing scope creep. If you don’t know what that is then you have no chance of ever winning my business.
But if somehow you got some content in front of me that was something like “How a digital business can manage and reduce scope creep through better contracts” then I would be all over you like a rash.
20 years in this game and I am still yet to see anything of the sort from a legal firm.
If you are an Accountant;
- Even harder how are you going to pry me from my long term accountant and now friend?
- I can tell you now it will never be through cheaper fees, marketing to me around SMSF’s or add on services like financial advice or discounted loans.
- And don’t even think about talking to me about business plans or god forbid SWOT analysis.
But if you understood the management accounting issues of my sector like; billable hours, scope creep, overhead allocation, hourly rate calculations etc. again I would be all over you like a rash.
Yet again in 20 years I have never seen or heard of an accountant that specialises in my industry or raised yet understood any of these topics specific to my sector.
A few more points to add – I would;
- Never respond to a magazine ad, I don’t read them
- Never sign up to your firm newsletter
- Never go looking for you until I have a problem
- Not seek you by referral and if I was referred I would look at your online profile and if it didn’t address me and my industry you wouldn’t hear from me
- Never call you if your online presence was weak because that would tell me you don’t get or value my industry
- Never click a Google Adwords link – I never do, I do my own research and don’t want to be sold to
- Not be at all interested in generic financial, accounting or legal advice i.e. SMSF
- Not sign up to your content if it wasn’t valuable to me and my industry
- Probably never in my lifetime know that you even exist because I am not looking
- Probably avoid you at a networking event if you tried to sell to me particularly if it wasn’t industry specific
- Not be at all persuaded by your brand, address or office fit-out – I’m not that shallow when it comes to business
The ridiculous thing about this is that just like so many other businesses out there I am ripe for the picking and happy to pay more for someone that specialises in my sector but you’re all too blind to see it and too scared to specialise in fear you don’t get the next guy.
Hey if you ticked all the boxes above I’d even have you on my board.
I suspect there are 1000’s more of “me’s” out there too.
There you go – FREE totally honest real time market intelligence from a perspective client – maybe its time for a rethink?
PS – please don’t pitch your business to me off the back of this post 🙂
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