By Patrick McLoughlin
If you wanted to grow an accountancy practice twenty years ago, your options were limited. Although you had a range of tools at hand, with the exception of ‘The Yellow Pages’ they all involved us, the seller, reaching out to the buyer: Outbound Marketing.
Today the internet allows business owners to search and research accountancy firms before deciding which to talk to, never mind work with. At the same time, burgeoning suppression databases, like TPS (the Telephone Preference Service) and the growing popularity of Voice Mail make it harder to talk one-to-one.
If you read the occasional article on marketing you have probably heard that the more traditional or ‘Outbound’ forms of marketing no longer work. Even some of my favourite marketing gurus have blogged about old-fashioned ‘interruption’ marketing being expensive and ineffective.
Telemarketing can still deliver growth for Accountants
Inbound Vs Outbound Marketing
In 2013, the marketing industry’s focus is on Inbound Marketing: attracting visitors, leads and clients from your website using a combination of email, social media and educational content: guides and blogs etc.
Inbound Marketing has been hugely successful for my business. The opportunities it offers for accountants are enormous and largely untapped. Yet I still run accountancy telemarketing campaigns for clients.
Depending on your target market and the services you offer and excel at, telemarketing can still deliver a stunning Return On Investment. But telemarketing, just like every other form of marketing, is not right for everyone. I have turned work down, for particular firms in certain areas, where I believe the potential return in client fees doesn’t justify our marketing fees.
Although some telemarketing campaigns are less effective today than 20 years ago, it doesn’t mean telemarketing for accountants no longer works. It just doesn’t work for everyone.
When Not To Use Telemarketing
If you are based in central London, target small businesses and lack specific expertise, you should probably avoid telemarketing. Competition is so intense that the time and fees involved in arranging appointments can outweigh the return.
We can call 150+ accountants in a day and end up talking to less than 10 decision makers. If you target clients are professional partnerships, think lawyers, doctors, dentists etc you are likely to struggle too. (Following-up an introduction written by a professional copywriter can tip the balance in your favour)
Even when your offer is a perfect match to your target market, telemarketing will not work for certain firms and certain people. Download the free guide: Is Telemarketing right for my Practice to find out if you are one of them.
Where Telemarketing for Accountants Works Best
You do not need to be a great talker or presenter to succeed with telemarketing, quite the opposite. Good listeners with a genuine interest in the people and business they meet usually get the best results.
Rural practices tend to attract high conversion rates.
If you specialise and can demonstrate your value to specific sectors, telemarketing can work a treat: the better the match the better the return.