Over the years as we’ve worked with many different financial advisory firms and accounting firms, we have found there is often confusion around the various roles that sales and marketing play in the growth of a practice. Understanding the differences is essential to your firm’s growth – so we want to help explain how you can differentiate between them.
- To be a rainmaker you need to be pushy.
You need to know that sales is about asking good questions and marketing is about making great statements. Often people think that to properly sell, they need to push their value or their product/service on their prospects. In fact, that’s not the case at all. The primary goal of sales should be a process of asking good questions of the other person. If you’re meeting with a prospect, you want to have a handful of open-ended questions to help you both determine if you are a good fit to work together. A great place to start is to think through 3-5 of the most common concerns or problems you solve for your best clients on a regular basis. Then think about how you can ask a How, When, What or Where question around those concerns. Important tip: never ask a Why question, as that tends to put people on the defensive.It may take a little strategic thinking or brainstorming to develop some questions but once you do, you will find it very easy to begin asking questions rather than making statements in your sale process. This also helps with your current clients, when you believe your firm may be able to help them with additional services. Instead of pushing those services, think about asking the client questions about the issue that your firm may be able to alleviate for them. So, remember it’s never about pressuring someone – but rather about keeping everyone comfortable as you determine whether you and your firm are a good fit to help them.
- To be a good salesperson, you need to be an extrovert
Twenty years ago, this statement would have been true, however, as the internet has grown, so has the power of a Google search. The internet and the pandemic have empowered the consumer to take control and do their initial research online before they choose a service. Your prospects are educating themselves online prior to contacting you. Firms that experienced growth during the pandemic shifted their marketing efforts to utilize webinars, virtual conferences, social media, digital marketing strategies, search engine optimization and videos rather than traditional networking. These offerings make it possible for accounting and financial planners to market themselves from behind their desk. And we are seeing these types of marketing efforts continuing to be extremely effective in supporting our clients’ growth. So please take heart if you are an introvert, because if you’re working hand in hand with marketing the need to attend networking events can be decreased. But to do this, you will need to then increase your marketing efforts to provide online education opportunities for your prospects. Here are some suggestions: write content (blogs, white papers etc), create online webinars, continue to build out new pages on your website, utilize search engine optimization strategies and post regularly on your social media channels. If you do this, you will find that you can build your practice from behind your desk rather than over coffee.
In conclusion, the saying that sales is all about asking good questions and marketing is about making great statements continues to be true today. Also remember that sales without marketing is too hard and marketing without sales is too expensive. So build a plan for yourself and your firm that will help balance both sales and marketing efforts – it will be worth the effort!