Become the credible expert

May 06, 2019

Do you worry that your firm is being left behind in the digital world?  

That you’re not doing enough on social media compared to other accountants?  

With so many accountants out there, what makes you stand out?  

What are you known for above the others?  

Firstly, you don’t need to compare yourself to other accountants. Your primary stakeholder is your clients. As long as you are improving in your journey, don’t worry about what others are doing. 

If you’re looking to transform your firm, then you need to raise your personal profile. One way to do this is by becoming a credible expert in your field. Now I don’t mean being an expert in accounts and tax because, let’s face it, we’re all experts in that.  

What I mean is positioning yourself as an expert in an area by doing one of the things below:  

  • Writing a book 
  • Developing a niche 
  • Writing blogs and articles  
  • Creating video content 

It is easier than you may think to write a book. After all, a book can be a series of articles put together.  

Start out by writing some content of value to your target market. This could be by way of blogs which you can upload to your website or LinkedIn. Or you could start by writing smaller snippets which can be sent out as posts either on Facebook or LinkedIn. 

If you have no idea where to start then read the book ‘They Ask, You Answer’ by Marcus Sheridan.  

The book talks about one of the most powerful marketing methods these days - using content. It’s known as ‘inbound marketing’. This basically means that you are attracting people towards you by giving something of value rather than saying, ‘Come and buy from me because I’m great.’  

Reaching out to cold prospects takes time. People will do business with you once they know, like and trust you. That is why referrals are so powerful – because the trust factor has already been ticked by having been referred through someone they know. Then, at your first meeting, all that remains is to ensure they like you. 

With marketing to a cold audience, you need to build that trust. Before that you need to be known. If you are not hanging out where your potential clients hang out, then you are not going to be known.  

What do I write about?  

Think about the questions you’ve been asked by your clients recently. Start to jot these down. Ask your team to do the same. Chances are your potential clients have some of the same questions.  

You will notice which questions are coming up more than others. Start by writing some content on answering these questions and get them out there.  

Don’t be afraid to give away too much. The more valuable you are the more likely it is that you will build trust. And don’t be afraid to have an opinion either. People buy from people. There is so much content out there that you need to make yourself stand out.  

Let your personality shine through in your writing. You don’t need to talk in accountant’s speak and be highly technical. Try and think about what is important to your client and what they want to know.  

Should I niche?   

If you can, then absolutely. Niching is powerful from both a customer perspective and your own firm’s efficiency perspective. When you niche, you automatically become an expert in the eyes of a prospect looking for an accountant for their industry, as by its nature you will know more about their industry than a generalist.  

However, I know it’s not easy to find that niche. Particularly if you’re just starting out and just need to get new clients from anywhere on board.  

Keep it in the back of your mind though. Think about which sectors you enjoy working in. If you have 3-4 clients in a particular industry, that might be enough to say that you are a specialist in that sector. That does not mean that you have to give up working in other sectors.  

It took me 10 years to find a niche that I enjoyed! Even then it is not the be-all and end-all that I do. I still love to work with business owners from a variety of different sectors. But having a niche does allow you to go deeply into areas of that subject and understand it better than you normally would. 

Action point: start writing, or create videos to answer your clients’ questions – as that will appeal to those who are your prospects and attract them to you.