Abe Schlisselfeld is a tax partner and leader of the Real Estate Group at Marks Paneth, one of the 50 largest accounting firms in the U.S. He is a recognized thought leader on Qualified Opportunity Zones, often blogging on hot topics in real estate. Below, Abe offers his partner POV on the importance of marketing in accounting firm growth.
Have you always embraced marketing and business development?
There’s a joke about an extroverted accountant being one who looks at your shoes when he’s talking to you instead of his own. That was me. Even as a partner, I believed if I did good work, new business would come through referrals, and that was it. If I went to an event, I would make a beeline for the coffee and stand in a corner until the speaker came on. Now when I’m at conferences, I’m hardly in my seat at all. I’m always up, walking around, meeting people. Marketing has changed me, both professionally and personally.
What marketing tools have been most effective for you?
LinkedIn is so important. I joined LinkedIn when it was really new and have fully embraced it, spending up to an hour and a half per day posting, responding to, and reading what others post. I look at what my competitors are posting. It’s part of the job and it is so easy! We also have stepped up our appearances at conferences. I try to attend at least one event every week and schedule a speaking opportunity once per month.
What are some of your current marketing or business development initiatives?
Our chief marketing officer recently started an eight-month networking class for managers designed to help them develop networking skills and provide them with the tools needed to contribute to the growth and success of the firm. They meet once a month, partners come in to speak, they are assigned homework, and then we host a major networking event with other young professionals at an upscale venue. There’s also a big focus on achieving internal diversity. “Success is personal” in this case means our partners can relate to the experience of our clients. For example, of the eight new partners we announced in January, six are women. It’s the fruit of many years of putting in the effort to recognize and empower women and other groups.
Has anything about your marketing journey surprised you?
What’s most surprising is how much I have enjoyed it. It started off more as something I had to do to build my practice, but it is now something I really enjoy.
View the full interview with Abe Schlisselfeld to learn about his complete partner POV on accounting marketing. This is the type of content you’ll receive as a member of AAM or when you have a paid subscription.
About Heather Kunz
Heather Kunz is the manager of marketing and business development, Williams, Benator & Libby.