I’m talking to a savvy, successful and sensible owner of an accountancy practice and the subject of the marketing ‘silver bullet’ comes up.

This successful practice owner is looking to, once and for all, rid himself of the spectre and hard work of constantly seeking out new clients. I don’t think this accountant is alone. The myth of the marketing silver bullet lives on…

The myth of the silver bullet

The metaphor of the silver bullet comes from the myth of Dracula and vampires.

Unlike the Christian cross and garlic, the silver bullet is meant to be a swift and decisive solution to ridding the hero of the vampire (and much less risky and messy than a stake through the vampire’s heart).

The reality is accountants seeking the marketing silver bullet for their practice will be looking for a lifetime. No one thing will solve any firm’s marketing ails.

My savvy, successful and sensible accountant knows, in his heart of hearts, that the marketing silver bullet is a myth and he’ll never find it. And yet he continues to live in hope. He also keeps spending money on possible silver bullets!

Possible silver bullets

You’ve invested in your website. You’ve even moved to a responsive mobile compatible website. You’ve tried pop-ups on your website. Maybe invested in writing a book or buying-in a book. You’ve got the mobile app. You’ve run events. You’ve given networking a go. You’ve put telemarketing to work. Email marketing was tried. LinkedIn looked promising. Twitter and Facebook all seemed likely to work. Hiring a marketing expert was an expensive punt. You can probably add other possible silver bullets to this list.

It’s not that these things aren’t valuable, they just aren’t a silver bullet solution.

The sellers of silver bullets have great PR and great sales pitches. Couple this with your optimism and desire for the silver bullet and you can end up spending lots of money on silver bullet marketing activities.

Early signs can look good but in the end they mostly prove to be anything but the silver bullet for winning new clients for your firm.

So what works?

If you’re serious about growing your accountancy firm, do the hard miles of marketing your accountancy firm.

Last year over 100 firms shared their marketing statistics and only one source of new leads stood head and shoulders above all others.

Client referrals.

But client referrals is no silver bullet. It’s no quick-easy solution because it requires lots of hard graft to work properly.

1. You must impress clients if you’re going to get them to recommend you

2. You must keep impressing them

3. You must then encourage them to give you introductions, recommendations, referrals

To impress you must exceed your clients’ expectations on the way you deliver your accounting services. If you want high-value clients:

- You must deliver accurate well presented accounts services

- You must deliver your services fast

- And you must deliver high levels of customer care

- Plus you must advise your clients

You’ll then build a reputation worthy of building a flow of referrals.

There’s an alternative. You can choose to be the cheapest and get referrals for being the cheapest.

How strong are you at performing the 3 types of hard graft mentioned above?

What else can contribute to sustainable growth at your accountancy firm?

To read more blogs with valuable business insights please click here.

Paul Shrimpling