Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and rapidly changing regulations, traditional approaches to connecting with prospective clients have become less effective. Fortunately, a recent Hinge Research Institute’s study, Inside the Buyer’s Brain: Accounting and Financial Services Edition, researched what buyers and sellers find important in a client relationship. The findings provide insight into what prospects want today, as well as likely future trends.
Understanding What Prospects Want
The study indicates that accounting and financial services firms have significant disconnects when it comes to understanding their clients challenges. Firms that take time to understand what is important to their clients and provide services tailored to their needs not only win new clients but keep them longer.
“Firms have to make it obvious that they have the relevant experience that clients need,” said Lee Frederiksen, Ph.D., managing partner of Hinge Research Institute. “Relevancy is becoming more important than trust when it comes to client loyalty.”
Hinge found client loyalty also is in flux. Talented staff/team skills are now the top deciding factors for almost one-third of buyers. Industry knowledge and flexible and responsive client service also are becoming more important in closing accounting and financial services sales.
Key Takeaways for Accounting Firms
- Perceived niche experience can overcome loyalty: Ensure services and marketing content are specific and relevant to prospects. Do not assume they understand how a service will meet their needs. Make it obvious and connect the dots for them.
- The location of a firm is becoming less important to the buying process: Interactions do not need to be face-to-face to be rewarding and successful.
- Referrals increasingly come from digital sources instead of personal relationships: Web searches are tied with asking a colleague for help on business-related questions. Social media also is a popular resource.
As prospects’ needs change, so must the approach to marketing and business development. The results of the Hinge study are clear: understanding what prospects want, having relevant expertise, being easy to find and recruiting and retaining talented staff are critical to long-term success.
Read more about what prospects want in the Winter 2020 edition of Growth Strategies on page 4.
About Elieen Monesson
Eileen Monesson, CPC, principal with PRCounts, is a strategic marketer and coach who creates market dominating brands. She can be contacted at 848-459-3130 or [email protected]