A vital element in evaluating marketing systems offered to Accounting firms is that it has a method of monitoring and analysing sub-results - and a troubleshooting part with adequate support. If they've USED it, they'll have it. If not...

Finding potential clients for your Accounting firm

6. Ensuring your prospecting system can be monitored and troubleshooted

Evaluating Accountancy Prospecting Systems

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6. Monitoring results and correcting & improving functions

Any prospecting system that doesn't have a method of MONITORING the results is not going to last long.

If results aren't inspected regularly (and frequently) you won't see when things take a turn for the worse. You'll only notice it MUCH later when there's no results.

And if you don't see there's a problem, you won't know to LOOK for one until it's usually too late.

It all comes down to this:

Anything that doesn't bring enough SUCCESS will inevitably be discontinued and abandoned sooner or later, one way or another.

The less success it brings, the sooner it will be aborted.

And it really doesn't make much difference how hard you fight it. Sure, it'll last LONGER that way but the end is just as unavoidable.

You DO need resolve and self-determinism. Keeping it going no matter WHAT is definitely a vital ingredient of success.

But that resilience pays off only if you have a way to CORRECT what isn't working properly.

You HAVE to have that in order to survive with the prospecting system - or any project, for that matter - so that there are better times ahead. Otherwise you'll be banging your head against a wall: It becomes a hopeless, losing battle.

You need light at the end of the tunnel. Nobody can plunge forever deeper into darkness. No one can withstand failure and increasing uncertainty and just keep on going.

Once you have a system for prospecting, success is essentially made out of a BALANCE of "stiff upper lip" and a way to FIND & HANDLE the problems that come your way.

It would be unrealistic to expect NO problems when implementing a whole new system for prospecting and signing on new clients. After all, you're going after something extremely valuable which can double your clientele in 12-24 months.

Something that worthwhile doesn't come in form of a wonder pill. It takes some persistence and some time.

But just as obviously, difficulties ALONE do not prove you will succeed - or that the system you use will even give you a chance of making it.

You need to consistently monitor the system in all its parts and results. And you need to have the combined experience of those thousands of times the system has been used so that you can solve ANY problem that one can run into using (and misusing) it.

Enthusiasm, while a laudable asset, won't alone make the grade.

 

How to check whether the systems for monitoring & correction exist

It's no good just counting "new clients," obviously. You start with NOTHING when implementing a new system - and it is at the beginning that you'll have most problems.

It's ALL new to you, all something you have to get familiar with - and that's when the likelihood of misapplication and forgetting bits and pieces is at its greatest.

So, if you only count "how many new clients I've obtained," there's a very real possibility you'll have absolutely nothing to add up - you'll never get it far enough to get the FIRST client!

Similarly, monitoring only the number of potential clients obtained isn't going to help you to GET those prospects. That statistic will only tell you there are "no prospects" - not WHY there aren't any. You'll be well aware that there aren't any prospects - you don't need statistics to tell you THAT, right?

Thus, your system needs to monitor the INTERMEDIATE results of the prospecting system in order to get some clue on WHERE the problem is and WHAT it is.

To be able to do that, the system has to be divided into segmented phases, each independent with its own tool and named objectives - in other words, you need to know what each particular phase or action is expected to PRODUCE as a result.

For instance, if you establish your own telemarketing activity, you need to have a successful blueprint for the whole function - not only an effective speech and angle to use in approaching the business owners.

You also need to know things like...

How many calls are needed to reach a certain number of decision-makers?

How many decision-makers have to be reached in order to get a certain number to participate in the interview your telemarketer wants to do with the business owners?

How many interviews you have to start to get a certain number all the way through it?

How many do you have to get through it to get a certain number of them interested in getting more information from your firm?

...and so on.

Of course, obtaining potential clients is NOT the end result of your marketing activity, so you would then take this same principle onwards.

Continuing, you'd want to know...

How many potential clients do you need to get a certain number of decision-makers all the way through your service presentation?

How many prospects do you need to get through your presentation to get a certain number to come to meet you at your office?

How many of those who agree to come actually show up?

How many of those who show up do you need in order to get a certain number of new clients?

There's much more to it - well, at least there's more to it in the Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course - but this gives you the general idea.

To get five clients, you obviously need to have more than five prospects - and here, we're only counting the potential clients that you get all the way to a face-to-face meeting with you.

But how many is normal - and how many is too much, immediately telling you there's something that needs to be corrected someplace?

To get more than five potential clients each to arrive to a one-on-one meeting, you obviously have to get more than five prospects to be in contact with you. But how many?

To get into comfortable communication with that many prospects, you need even more "raw material" fed into your marketing & sales system - but how many?

And so it continues.

Each phase of your whole marketing system has its own task. The common denominator is that you want to create a certain effect and produce a certain result. Those results should then be named and monitored.

 

CERTAINTY is what ultimately governs the quantity and quality of results you obtain.

The more certain you are of what you need to do, what you need to produce, what you DO produce, what problems there COULD be, how to find and correct the problems... the more likely you are to GET results.

With certainty come prediction and control. And that is what is behind success - it's 95% knowing what to do - luck can affect it only 5 percent, really.

So, make sure the prospecting system you choose doesn't depend on LUCK for its success.

Instead, demand to get the knowhow on how to find and correct any and all problems that can pop up using the system.

If you have that, you won't NEED luck.

So LOOK for these separate phases and parts in the prospecting system that you contemplate.

Ask the providers of the system whether or not they have any means of monitoring each phase.

Do they have some type of a troubleshooting pack that would contain the accumulated experiences of other uses in solving problems?

Do they have reasonably priced support services to help you to get the prospecting activity debugged and working - even if it means personal troubleshooting work for them?

It is usually little known how MANY PARTS a successful prospecting system has. Prospecting is but one part of marketing - so a marketing system is MUCH more involved.

A full marketing system can have more than a HUNDRED different parts. Not all have to be monitored, mind you - but at least the 10 main statistics of it do have to be named and monitored.

Enthusiasm is a great thing - but it cannot replace monitoring and correction. It's just like with your clients: Their optimism won't change the figures and it shouldn't replace following the development of their fiscal year.

In marketing, you're always balancing two forces. No marketing means no expenses but you also lose the income additional new clients would bring. Marketing means expenses - but if the system doesn't allow for certainty and correction (monitoring & troubleshooting) you leave the obtaining of results up to CHANCE.

Only systems with tools for monitoring and troubleshooting can give you the FULL CONTROL of your marketing system.

Anything short of that relies FAR TOO MUCH on LUCK.

And with a hundred things that could go wrong, you'll need about the same amount of Lady Luck's favours as you would in winning the national lottery jackpot!

In essence, a marketing system provider that doesn't give you a system that can be controlled is using you for a guinea-pig. He is gambling and you're banking his experiment.

But why would we AGREE to such an arrangement so obviously adverse to our own interests?

Well, for one, the source of the information might be a widely acclaimed expert of marketing...

 

Authorities and experts versus practical experience

There are all kinds of authorities and experts in this world. Some are self-named. Others have been appointed and some just become famous.

An expert is an authority on his subject. An authority can be an expert on his subject - but expertise doesn't necessarily follow an appointment (nor does an appointment necessarily follow if you have expertise).

I have no ax to grind with authorities and experts. But I do want to point out that there are two very different spheres involved in this area.

One assumes that an authority or expert KNOWS how something is done.

Unfortunately, it is an ASSUMPTION. He may know. He may not know. Or it might be a mixture of the two extremities.

Some subjects necessitate authority and expertise AND involve highest level of practical skill. An Accountant, a surgeon, an attorney, or an engineer would have to have certain education, accepted knowledge criteria AND a high level of practical skills & expertise.

But a "marketing guru?" Sorry. When we leave the sphere of exact sciences and enter the wonderland of "opinion-based theories" it all changes. An expert doesn't necessarily have ANY practical knowledge in what he is an expert on!

One also assumes that some invention or system has to come from a widely recognized expert/authority in order for it to be worth investing in.

But that's not how it always goes in this world.

The vast majority of new, potent and powerful inventions come from UNKNOWN individuals.

Any successful marketing system would be based on a much more effective way of presenting the services and offering clients a better service - and, in essence, you're taking clients from your competitors, right?

And any such activity would be used by FEW firms to start with - and those would have a huge edge on the competition, don't you agree?

Consequently, the more firms that would adopt the system (= the more widely accepted it becomes) the more it will LOSE its effect and potency simply because there'll be MORE firms in each area using this while the number of clients available remains the same. There's just more Accounting firms going after those same clients.

So really, the two concepts of "effective marketing system" and "wide acceptance and usage" are mutually exclusive - they are opposites!

How can it be highly effective - which HAS to mean that it gives you a huge edge over the competition - if everyone already KNOWS IT?

I'll tell you how. There's NO WAY unless it costs an arm and a leg. But don't mistake that to mean that anything costing a lot would BE effective and give you that practical knowhow and edge!

 

Evaluate it for yourself - and take only your own word for it

I'm not saying that the renown experts of marketing don't know what they're talking about. I'm not saying their systems aren't good.

I'm merely pointing out the illogic in the way we EVALUATE the systems offered mainly by how "widely accepted" the source of it is!

I'm saying that a widely known, respectable and liked person or organization can put out a system that might NOT be tested, piloted and proven. Or, they might put out a set of great added-value services but give absolutely NO effective way of marketing & selling them.

All I'm saying is that IF it has been tested and piloted, if it has been used extensively it will have a way to monitor intermediate results of each phase - and it will most definitely have a troubleshooting support system of some kind.

Obviously, it would be priceless to get the combined knowledge and experience of all those that have used the system. What problems did they encounter? How did these manifest themselves? How did they locate WHAT exactly the problem was so they could only correct THAT part and not change everything? How did they finally manage to handle & correct the problem?

Little things perhaps - but absolutely vital to sustaining the prospecting & marketing system... utterly elementary in getting it even STARTED, let alone maintained.

If the providers of the system HAVE actually started it, used it, piloted it with dozens of practices, solved the inevitable problems that come up with any new system... then they will have also documented those experiences.

If so, they will have all those intermediate results named and a way of monitoring them - and they'll also have the knowledge of how to solve any and all problems YOU might face establishing your own marketing activity and maintaining it productive.

If not, then monitoring & correction will be absent in the presentation of their system.

Look not only for what IS there but also what is NOT there.

The only way you CAN evaluate a prospecting & marketing system before investing in it is through your own conclusions.

If you find that a prospecting / marketing system lacks any meaningful method of measuring the results of each subcategory of activities, if there is no troubleshooting data base (and, as a last resort, an inexpensive back up support service) then beware.

It's a dead-certain sign that you're going to need a more-than-average portion of sheer LUCK to get any results!

CLICK HERE to get back to the main article on the seven-point prospecting system analysis.

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-Accounting Firm Prospecting System Evaluation Points-

Does it have correct Approach in Prospecting for Accounting clients?

Does the prospecting system have a planned and tested route
from contact to sign-on to follow?

Does the prospecting system have ENOUGH of what it takes
to really GET results?

Does the prospecting system include a systematised method
with TOOLS that require no training to use?

Does the prospecting system allow for constant marketing outflow
& sales activity of practical nature?

Does the marketing system include a way to monitor results
and troubleshoot problems?

Does the marketing system put you in control and give full
independence to obtain new Accounting clients wherever you want?

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