A useful article for practising Accounting Professionals on how to best survive recession and utilise the potential the downtrend offers when businesses start scrutinising services and changing Accountants. Obtaining these clients..

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How to maintain and expand your Accounting firm market share in times of recession

In a recession, the services and knowhow of an Accounting Professional are needed more than ever.

Yet, in terms of marketing, the demand for Accounting services is very low. Business owners don't easily respond to advertising and marketing.

Thus, it appears that marketing has little or no effect. In reality, it is only the response lag that gets lengthened when money is tight.

It's a psychological thing, really.

When the general confidence in economic growth diminishes, the risk-factor in decision-making increases. With receding income, any mistake can be fatal.

This added risk SLOWS DOWN decision-making markedly.

Whatever the decision, it takes much longer to make.

This leads to a situation where there's a "backlog" of kinds and only the most important decisions are made. With the initial shock of bad news, everything is stopped - including paying bills! - until the situation has been reevaluated.

With the future uncertain, everything is thrown into confusion. The constant flow of news about impeding recession makes us all just WAIT so we could see where it all leads.

Anything that isn't within that top priority classification gets postponed. The only decisions that get made are those that cannot be put aside any longer. Anything that doesn't directly threaten the survival of the company is left pending.

Everyone tries to get receivables in while delaying the payment of bills owed. It's a worldwide phenomenon leading to an apparent full stop of cash flow.

Among other things, marketing becomes a seemingly useless activity, of course. And so it might be - but only for a very short while.

It's a fatal mistake to assume that marketing should be stopped for the duration of recession.

For if you do, you will predispose your firm to the full effects of recession and leave it exposed to one of the most destructive "natural phenomena" of economy...


First Phase of Recession

Unlike commonly realised, recession is not just "one thing" but has distinguishable separate PARTS to it, during which the behaviour of the market is quite different.

For instance, before the economic downturn even starts, there's a longer period of time when more and more people (and institutions, media) PREDICT the recession.

Warning signs such as household debt ratio and overheating of economy make for great headlines. This coverage starts to gnaw at the confidence people feel for the continuous improvement of their buying power.

When the recession finally BEGINS, its first phase is a very depressing time for most business owners. Relinquishing all those dreams about success and expansion and, in their stead, having to take steps to ensure the SURVIVAL of one's company... it's no easy task mentally for any business owner.

Very typically, the first few months of recession are also characterised by this confusing "waiting game" wherein we hold off all payments where possible and await to hear what the future brings.

Is it just a momentary hiccup in the economy... or a full-blooded recession for years to come?

Attention is drawn away from creating the future into surviving the day. Instead of putting more energy into selling, we shift our concentration into collecting monies due.

All decisions & investments get postponed.

For a short while, marketing brings no immediate results.

Also, it takes some very special skill to deliver the RIGHT message when the economy swings downwards.

The priorities of the target audience have changed drastically and, to get results, your marketing must also be altered to conform with those new priorities.

The mood has changed from one extreme to another.

Where our decisions were previously governed by a strong confidence in future success, an increasing certainty of impeding doom now regulates our judgment.

If you continue your marketing as before, it won't work.

Luckily, this first phase of recession is relatively short.

After a while, people accept the reality - recession is here and we're in for the long haul. Economy stabilises on a lower level of basic consumption and life settles in on its normal routines.

Once the first phase has ended - people don't doubt the recession but accept it's here - is the time when clever marketing can again get results.

In fact, recession is the time where the correct approach can bring much more results...

Only... very few people KNOW this. And that ignorance is the primary reason why recession offers such an opportunity!

Most practising Accounting Professionals will CONTINUE with their no-marketing policy, mistakenly assuming marketing remains ineffective until the economy swings up again and recession ends.

Thus, they won't even bother trying to compete.

Instead, they dig their heels in to weather out the storm and outlast the next months or years... however long the recession will last this time.

The first phase of recession has taught them - but they've learned the wrong lesson.


Why most Accounting Professionals will lose market shares during recession

The fact is that when a recession starts, most Accounting Professionals more or less stop marketing altogether.

And who can blame them? With so many insufficient, untested, untried or wrongly targeted marketing systems around, speaking of marketing as an "investment" becomes mainly lip service.

Marketing isn't REALLY seen as an investment in the true sense of the word. Marketing cannot safeguard the invested capital and yield a guaranteed profit - more clients that bring more income and profit.

Yet, a small minority of practices do get results far beyond what they invest into marketing in form of money and time.

Unfortunately, when times get hard, obtaining results from marketing gets even more difficult.

The approach has to be exactly right. You need to know the mood of your target audience and you need to know WHY they would change Accountants - and what they're looking for in the new Accountant.

But for the average Accounting Professional, these possibilities vanish with the first phase of recession simply because he will be convinced there's nothing he could do about it.

Not knowing the anatomy of the psychological phases of recession, he believes marketing could perhaps be worthwhile only during good times.

After all, to most it's questionable whether marketing is worthwhile AT ALL.

So, if it's that difficult when confidence is the economy is GROWING... what's it going to be like during RECESSION?

The unavoidable conclusion becomes that it's no good wasting money in marketing BEFORE the economy turns into an upswing.

But is it really the TIME that governs the efficiency of marketing?


The killing fields of recession

Has the need for Accounting services and financial knowhow ended now?

Do companies NOT need Accounting services, tax consulting and financial advice during a recession?

Will shortness of money make business owners automatically MORE satisfied with their current service providers and result in longer client-relationships?

Of course not.

It takes a very special system to actually GET clients, no matter what the state of the economy.

And when the going gets tough, business owners will need MORE financial consulting... and, once the initial shock of the downturn is over (with the first phase of recession), they will definitely give very close attention to what they really get for their money.

With the frightening blow the starting of recession has dealt to their confidence, business owners will be VERY critical of anything THEY pay for. After all, that's what THEY are getting when they try to collect monies owed to them, isn't it?

What goes around, comes around.

And that's what the survival game of recession is all about.

It a game of musical chairs just like the Weakest Link on television. Only there'll be a lot of chairs left and a lot of strongest links.

There'll be those who won't make it.

But as those will be a minority, that's not where the real danger of downward economic development actually lies.

See, apart from that short first phase, recession has very little effect for an ACTIVE marketing system. If anything, there'll be MORE results and a higher success ratio, believe it or not!

But only if you have an ACTIVE marketing system.

That's not the same as "being active while marketing," though. An active marketing system means that instead of sending out messages and then waiting for results, you do something to actively INDUCE results.

Instead of relying on the growing demand brought on by a booming economy, you CREATE the demand for your services.

If you do that now or start it soon, recession cannot touch you.

Once you have sufficiently workable tools and a tested system to ACTIVATE the demand, you get results regardless of which direction the economic barometer is swinging at the time.

In fact, during recession, you can get TEN TIMES THE RESULTS simply because 99% of competitors aren't marketing at all... all while the target audience grows increasingly discriminating in their reevaluation on what they GET in exchange for their money from their Accounting firm.

There'll be a lot of businesses searching for an Accounting firm that can offer a better service more according to what CLIENTS want.

To anyone using the PASSIVE marketing approach recession very bad news indeed.

Passive marketing means that one relies mostly on the "forces of the marketplace" for expansion. In other words, one rides to high wave of confidence and gets one's share of the added business.

In good times it was fine. All of us received our share of the positive gain - growth, more clients, more services bought, and so on.

But to be on this bandwagon when it's RECESSION dealing the cards... it's a no-win situation.

All you get is bad news. Keeping the existing clientele becomes a major challenge and getting new clients is a distant possibility indeed. Clients get more and more critical of what they get in exchange for their money... and all the forces of recession work AGAINST you.

The killing field of recession is, in reality, that area in between those two alternatives.

The majority of Accounting firms will remain inactive all through the recession. Thus, they'll be vulnerable to the destructive forces of recession.

They're the ones losing clients.

And then there are those Accounting firms that will be ACTIVE during recession.

They will change their operating basis, utilising the void created by absence of competing alternatives (colleagues refraining from marketing) and adjust their service concept to meet the new needs of the target audience.

They're the ones keeping their clients and taking over clients leaving other firms.

The difference in results between the two alternatives is quite huge when continued all through recession.

It becomes even bigger when economy swings upward.

The active firms are ready to make the most out of the expansion while passive firms will take quite some time to wake up from their hibernation.

Similarly, those that can keep their clients and get new ones during recession will have the financial resources to ride the growth in many ways... while the passive ones won't.


What it takes to succeed during recession

During recession, you need very accurate systems that take your firm CLEARLY above competitors, as viewed by the majority of business owners. Being "just as good as anyone else" just isn't good enough.

In fact, it doesn't even come close.

Now, you need a way to absolutely convince the business owner that what YOU deliver, is by far better than what he currently receives.

Now, you need to show how you can HELP to keep his company on the track and survive the recession.

Now you need exact and correct information on what factors govern the thinking of clients - yours and those of competitors.

And above all, you need to DISAGREE with the majority of Accounting Professionals if you ever hope to differentiate your future development from the inevitable downward curve that the industry will take!

The industry, as whole, WILL lose income. Lots.

But it will do so in light of statistics. Average figures calculated from tens of thousands of firms - of which MOST go down... but some UP.

Those statistics totally hide the fact that some firms INCREASE their turnover and profits. And the huge DEGREE to which they do this is definitely not shown by any averages!

To analyse the situation very accurately you need to be LOOKING for the solution that allows you to utilise this extraordinary opportunity.

The general opinion within Accounting industry is that one cannot DO anything to avoid the consequences of recession. If you believe that, if you join the majority, then you won't be able to do anything about it.

See, Accounting Professionals are human too. They are also affected by the hopelessness of the moment. They feel disheartened and, as a result, tend to do nothing but wait and hope that it will all go away.

Only, it won't. Not for quite a while.

Once the "collective mind" of a whole nation - the world - has been convinced to accept that recession now EXISTS, it takes some time (and lots of positive news) before that conviction can be changed around again.

There are two elements at play here. At one side, there are the actual economic facts. Those hard figures of economy will NOT allow the world of commerce to collapse.

That horrifying possibility of total disaster only exists in our MINDS.

The basic consumption and its production are there, just like the basic needs of businesses will continue. Logically and by figures, we can only go so far down until the economy stabilises. After that has continued long enough, the inevitable upswing start once more.

But I'm not talking about the real situation here. I'm talking about the OTHER element of recession - that which takes place in the minds of people. Hundreds of millions of people.

It took months and months to convince those people that recession is here. And it'll take at least as much time to again convince them it's over.

There'll be a considerable LAG between the FIGURES turning and the GENERAL OPINION following suit.

Recession is here for a while. It will work its ways regardless of what we THINK or BELIEVE.

That's the real-life scene of it.

Most firms will recede and lose clients. But not all.

Some will GAIN - and gain a lot.

And whether you'll be among those fortunate ones, depends wholly on what you do now.

For, during this period, you have an opportunity that's greater than any booming economic trend could ever offer.

Your competitors will not even TRY to get new clients.

And, while their clients will be reevaluating the exchange they get for their monies, the majority of Accounting Professionals will be prone to NOT CHANGE ANYTHING.

And therein is your opportunity.

Do the math and you'll see how this time provides a few practitioners with a truly overwhelming competitive advantage in their area.

Why not be that practitioner in your area?


Accounting firm recession strategy - keeping your existing clients and offering an appealing alternative to disappointed clients of others

During recession, an Accounting Professional in public practice obviously cannot spend lavishly for marketing or take any sort of financial risk when countermanding the effects of recession.
Anything you do in marketing must be inexpensive.

Not just "compared to the results" - as you don't KNOW whether or not it will produce results - but actually CHEAP in terms of money. It should cost very little.

The second vital thing is that you take inventory of your potentials and resources. Any resource that you have should now be utilised to the fullest.

Now is the time to concentrate on increasing the clients' awareness of what they really get from your services.

Now is the time to add small touches here and there to ensure the service is exactly according to the clients' wishes.

And now is the time to make use of all that hard work that you've already put in with your existing clients - and don't think you've utilised it even half way yet!

To help you to create the best practice management strategy for these changing times, we are publishing a special manual called the Accounting Professional's Recession Survival Strategy Guide.

In this guide, you get a full briefing on all the factors governing client-relationships, marketing, practice management, and the vital safeguarding actions in times of recession - all tailored for practising Accounting Professionals.

It will help you to map out your resources and utilise every single potential that you have without any expenses. You'll get several tools to use in helping your clients to improve their survival. You'll get tools and interviews to use to unlock any problem your clients have - and to get them to want to solve their problems.

The Accounting Professional's Recession Survival Strategy Guide will later become available for purchase separately.

But for right now, you can only get it as an extra bonus with the Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course - the perfect low-cost, highly effective marketing method that countless practitioners already use to actively create demand for their Accounting services regardless of economic trends.

The Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course gives you a marketing system ideal for economic downturns when there's no money to gamble on any marketing system that won't be CERTAIN to produce more than it costs.

In fact, it's the perfect system for right now.

That's the way to get more services sold to each client during recession. That's how you create a heightened awareness of your unique service when others gloomily await what the future will bring.

And, if you buy it now, you will get the Accounting Professional's Recession Survival Strategy Guide totally free of charge as a bonus!

I have seen my clients DOUBLE their turnover (and I'm talking up to £500,000 here) during the worst times of last recession.

And all because THEY were in that small minority that didn't succumb to the hopelessness that the daily "gloom-portion" of newscasts distributed to all of us... AND because they had specific tools to utilise that STRONG shifting of clienteles brought on by necessity of tighter budgets.

It can be done - it is being done as we speak - and it can be done rather easily (and almost without cost) once the hard part is over.

The hard part is the DECISION to do something about it.

The "doing something effective" -part of it is actually much easier!

The worst thing to do in this situation is NOTHING. That will leave you exposed to the most terrible of Murphy's Laws:

"If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong!"

CLICK HERE to read about the Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course to see how it could help you to utilise the existing resources and make the most out of recession!



Best wishes,

Harry Kafka
HDK Consultants U.S.A. Inc.
PMB 211, 411 Cleveland Str.
Clearwater, FL 33755, U.S.A.
Phone (727) 474 1206
Calls from outside USA: +1 727 474 1206

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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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