Monthly Archives: November 2013

A Brand New Niche Loaded with Interesting Stories

We have been approached with many new niche ideas and this was one that I had never heard of.  Apparently, the tax code has a classification called “innocent-spouse”, which enables a spouse to protection as a result of evasive or dishonest financial behavior from their spouse.  It also covers divorces where one person fails to pay tax on the income and intends to leave the other spouse with the tax bill.  Clearly, the person claiming they are innocent must provide the appropriate documentation to prove they did not know about the income or fraudulent activity. And the two year window now appears to be widening to ten years of being duped which opens the floodgates.

Over the years, I have several legal buddies who have shared their juicy war stories over a libation or two.  This niche would be ripe with interesting tidbits and worth a few laughs too. I’m sure you can only imagine some of the stories that this unique niche creates.

All kidding aside, the innocent spouse relief niche is one to consider for those that have a developed an expertise in divorce accounting, IRS Problem Resolution, and/or forensic accounting.  If this niche intrigues you, take a look at how we organized the innocent spouse relief niche for this accountant.

Why I HATE Telemarketing for Lead Generation

Lead generation programs using “cold call” telemarketing to capture leads has been on decline for several decades now.  For whatever reason, many accountants still consider using cold call telemarketing even though they personally hate the tactic themselves.  If you are considering deploying a smile and dial campaign, I strongly urge you to reconsider for the following reasons.

  1. Telemarketing has been negatively associated with various scams and frauds, which is the opposite association that you want to create for your accounting practice.  In a nutshell, most people consider the telemarketing process as an unethical business practice because it uses a high pressure sales technique to turn you into a lead.  Most accountants that I know prefer to operate in a consultative manner, and hate the snake oil salesman approach.  For example, what would be your first impression of a lawyer in town who started telemarketing small business owners.  Would you think he was desperate?  Would you think he was ethical?  This is how small business owners feel when you cold call them.  Cold call telemarketing does not create the appropriate image for your accounting practice.
  2. Telemarketing leads are hard to convert and quickly turn your service into a commodity because the prospect has agreed to an appointment with very little interest in your practice.  And after thinking further, they often cancel the appointment.  In fact, they probably know nothing about you and your firm and don’t care until the price is lower than what they currently pay.
  3. Retention rates for telemarketing leads is dramatically shorter than referrals and inbound marketing.  That’s right, the average duration of a new client obtained through cold call telemarketing will be shorter because they will leave you once the next person calls with a lower price.
  4. Outbound telemarketers are calling as representatives of your accounting firm and hold your firm reputation in their hands.  Do you really feel comfortable that the person calling to set up appointments will position your firm’s reputation properly?  Typically, the people who will perform the task of calling small business owners are not reliable, trustworthy or professional.    Your reputation can be tarnished locally by hiring low end appointment setters.
  5. People like to shop but hate being sold to.  In other words, we all enjoy the hunt and are willing to shop online to find products and services which meet our needs.  However, most of us hate being pitched and sold to.  Telemarketing is not marketing, it’s a sales pitch which is repulsive to business owners in your surrounding communities.  Learn how to use inbound marketing techniques to attract qualified prospects to your firm rather than push your message onto prospects in a sales oriented fashion.

 

Personally, I can’t remember the last time I agreed to engage in a cold call.  I try hard to be polite and wait until they come up for air but quickly depart from the call.  Think about it yourself, when was the last time you bought something that started with a cold call appointment?

The emergence of website marketing, reputation management tools, and social media has changed how you should implement your marketing program.  Learn how to improve the quality of your marketing system and modernize your approach.