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Beware of telemarketing   12 common traps to avoid
 

Beware of telemarketing 12 common traps to avoid

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Telemarketing causes dread for most businesses. Do you insource, do you outsource? Does it actually work anymore? Is it only about hard selling or can you actually build relationships that produce ...

Telemarketing causes dread for most businesses. Do you insource, do you outsource? Does it actually work anymore? Is it only about hard selling or can you actually build relationships that produce quality new business and income? This report give you 12 common traps you can avoid to ensure you protect your investment, gain an ROI, and grow your business.

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    Beware of telemarketing   12 common traps to avoid Beware of telemarketing 12 common traps to avoid Document Transcript

    • Beware of Telemarketing12 headaches to avoidwhen evaluating or embarking on atelemarketing campaignDo not invest in,commit to, or continuea telemarketing campaignwithout reading this document FIRST! www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight
    • Introduction Appointment Generation: a cautionary tale for accountants The recent economic changes and the unknown future that looms ahead has forced us all to reassess what we are doing in business and how we can continue to grow. This includes hundreds if not thousands of accountancy firms who have historically needed to do very little to win new clients. Perhaps you are one of them? Those who are keen to grown and win new clients often try telemarketing as their first option. Sadly, we speak to accountancy and financial services firms almost every week that have ploughed money – sometimes significant sums - into telemarketing and got nothing in return. One firm we met recently lost more than £200,000 over 2 years on a telemarketing campaign which failed to deliver. The situation was made worse because new partners had been taken on to handle the ‘predicted’ new work. No wonder the word ‘telemarketing’ is taboo in some firms. The mere mention of it conjures up painful memories of paying lots of money for poor quality appointments. On the other hand, many firms have used telemarketing successfully and have generated a steady flow of top quality appointments to produce first class clients. So how can there be such a significant divide of experience, results and opinions? If it is correctly set up, carried out and managed, telemarketing remains one of the most proven, reliable and profitable ways to win high quality new clients for accountancy firms. Equally, the margin for error is small and that means it is very easy to get things terribly wrong. And that’s why we have produced this report – ‘Beware of Telemarketing’- in the hope it will highlight the risks and prevent many firms from making the most frequently occurring errors. We sincerely hope that this report will encourage some firms to investigate telemarketing further, particularly when it’s undertaken by industry experts such as Insight. However, it may deter others from telemarketing completely, and encourage them to consider other forms of marketing activity more appropriate to their business. FREE Marketing Performance Consultation If you are unsure about telemarketing or other forms of marketing and would like to discuss how your firm can benefit from our 25 years experience of working with firms of accountants, why not call us now and register for a FREE phone consultation with one of our senior marketing team? This Marketing Performance Consultation focuses entirely on the growth of your practice and will help you determine the most effective way to set up and implement a sales and marketing strategy. You’ll find more information on page 24 or you can call us now on 0800 8030826. Warm regards Joel Oliver Joel Oliver joelo@salesforaccountants.com tel: 0800 803 08262
    • Contents“ I just wanted to thank you for the work you are doing and the quality of the leads. In the eight calling days you have undertaken so far we have been on seven appointments…just to say I think 4// you are brilliant and it’s great to have 7// you on our side. ” 13// 4 Warning 1 15 Warning 8 Don’t expect immediate Do not get the data results. wrong!“ Fantastic news the above are now a 5 Warning 2 16 Warning 9 client of Spofforths fee £10,800 per Don’t use telemarketing Measure everything: annum (£900 per month). Hopefully the as a stand-alone strategy. Test Measure Adapt and first of many more conversions! ” Improve TMAI©. 6 Warning 3 19 Warning 10 Don’t start a campaign, The appointment. without a proper briefing. 9 Warning 4 22 Warning 11 Make sure you are clear Be ready to negotiate. who is doing your calling and what they know about your firm. 10 Warning 5 23 Warning 12 Contact Insight Is your website ready? Don’t send out poor Consider how to bring proposals. UK: 0800 803 0826 together online and offline marketing. Europe: +44 (0)1256 896239 12 Warning 6 24 Free Marketing Clinic Do not start the NEEDS TEXT USA: 1-(800)-542-0602 telemarketing process without supporting e: joelo@salesforaccountants.com material. 13 Warning 7 25 Values www.salesforaccountants.com Don’t start cold… Start Insight values and by Insight with your clients. testimonials. www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 3
    • Don’t expect immediate results WARNING 1 Don’t expect immediate results Setting up a telemarketing campaign should never be viewed as a ‘quick fix’ or be looked upon as being easy. It isn’t! Instead, accept that you are in it for the long haul, set aside the money to fund it over that time-frame and make sure you review the results regularly with a view to improving consistently. Without question, telemarketing does work for accountants - but before you embark on a pilot or a test make sure you have done your calculations correctly, carefully and with reasonable caution. We advise potential clients that they may not see a return on their investment (money into the bank) for 12 months or more into a campaign (assuming we work on a 1-sales-day-per-week programme). This is based on our experience of cold-calling high quality potential clients, who would spend £4,000 per annum or above on accountancy fees, and where there is often an opportunity for additional work. The conversions from call to appointment can be greatly improved if we call prospects who already know of your firm, or who are current customers (see page 13). Other firms may promise better results and if they can support it we would take our hat off to them! But our experience tells us that it will take a number of months to see a return. The time-frame could be reduced by: • Carrying out more intensive activity earlier on and creating more appointments • Starting with your existing customer base (see page 13) • Working on a database where the prospects are not cold, or with incoming leads and enquiries Excluding these 3 accelerators, the reality is that there is a sales process to go through and this results in a time delay from start to completion of anything from 4 to 7 months. Most importantly, this means a cash flow lag of approximately the same timescale. Considering it logically, it normally takes at least 6 – 8 sessions to get a telemarketing campaign up and running from cold. Therefore it’s unlikely that the first appointments will be booked until week 6 or 7 of the campaign. Then, depending on your own experience of carrying out an appointment, your confidence levels and the amount of training you have received, it will probably take you 2 or more visits to win the business. Our own research over 20 years shows it takes an average of 7 contacts to get a potential customer to become a current client. This may well be a combination of face-to-face visits, emails, letter etc, but what is clear is that it is very unusual to pick up the business at the first opportunity. This time or sales lag – and the corresponding cash flow lag - must be factored into the process. There are many reasons why campaigns might not work, but before you start, make sure you have set aside enough cash to stick with the programme long enough to see the results start to flow through.4
    • Don’t use telemarketing as a stand alone strategyWARNING 2 Don’t use telemarketing as a stand alone strategyWithout a carefully constructed sales and marketing plan, you and your practice are drifting aimlessly, like a shipwithout a destination. You may be lucky and reach somewhere interesting. On the other hand, it’s more likely you willflounder on the rocks. Without a plan of action – a vision of where the business is heading – your chances of creatinga thriving, profitable practice are not good.Some firms believe that what they have always done will continue to work. They have a glossy brochure or walletwith an insert. maybe they have membership with the local Chamber of Commerce, or perhaps an ad locally. All thisgenerates a trickle of ‘word-of-mouth’ recommendations; plus friends and family – and that’s about it.Yes, these will generate new business at relatively low cost, but they should be additional to a structured programmeof new client acquisition strategies, NOT the only method used. Where there is no planned programme of sales andmarketing activities, it’s highly unlikely that there will be significant sustained growth or development of the practice.To achieve effective growth, partners or directors need a vision of where they want their practice to be in 3, 5 and 10years time together with a programme of proven, accountable sales and marketing strategies, consistently applied, tohelp them achieve those goals. Without a plan, your practice is rudderless.So the first step is to agree a strategy for growth, including specific, quantifiable goals. Once they have been set,telemarketing can be built into this as one method of marketing, amongst others. This structured programme of salesand marketing activities will enable you to hit your targets and requires a solid support framework which monitors andmeasures each activity.If you do not already have a well-structured sales and marketing plan for your practice, then a great starting point is toattend one of our Marketing Performance Consultations which are completely free of charge. (See page 25). www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 5
    • WARNING 3 Don’t start a campaign without a proper briefing A common mistake is for firms to jump into a telemarketing campaign without a fully thought-through meeting or briefing session to agree the strategy, the message and the process. As we have already discussed, telemarketing is not a quick fix and therefore should be set up with care and consideration. Once you are ready to commit to a campaign, we believe the next stage should be a briefing with the company, person or team you will be using to carry out the activity. In our experience, this briefing should last between 3 and 4 hours and will cover all the key aspects of your campaign with everyone who is involved or has responsibility for it - whether they are internal staff or an external company. The briefing should be as detailed as possible. When we carry out these sessions we insist that all customers fill in a questionnaire before we meet. This helps both parties make the most effective use of the time together and often stimulates thinking and ideas about the sales process. When carrying out a session like this it’s important to have a framework to work around – we call this the 4 R’s: Reputation, Results, Relationships and Reporting REPUTATION Most firms are very keen to protect the reputation that they have built and developed, often over years. Perhaps surprising then, that so many rush firms into a telemarketing campaign without a detailed briefing. Calling prospective customers correctly will improve your reputation and your brand awareness; equally a poorly structured campaign can quickly damage it. You must mitigate this by choosing the right staff or external firm to carry out the activity, assuming you have done this the most important element early on is the briefing you have with them. Getting the project structured and started correctly will give the entire campaign the very best chance possible. This briefing will ensure you get the highest possible results and build upon your firm’s reputation. RESULTS Firms frequently start campaigns without clear results being discussed, mapped out and agreed. Ambiguity here can lead to disaster later with different parties working to a different understanding of the results and expectations. Take the time to map out each month of the campaign, the expected input in terms of activity and the expected results at the end of that month. Discuss what happens if these results are not achieved and how to improve things even when they are being reached. It is also important you have a plan in place to effectively manage the opportunities being created.6
    • Don’t start a campaign without a proper briefingRELATIONSHIPSRelationships are vital. Generally, we have found that behind the more successful campaigns is a positive relationshipbetween the firm and its sales team (internal or external). Meeting face-to-face, putting time into the relationship at abriefing stage and openly ensuring that the results and expectations are clear from the beginning all help to foster anexcellent partnership. It also reinforces just how important the sales activity is to you as a practice and how seriouslyyou view its foundations. This relationship will have its ups and downs as results will vary, and no matter how goodthe team, mistakes can happen. Therefore, regular communication between the sales team and your practice is vital.For Insight, this takes the form of daily updates, monthly conference calls and regular face–to-face meetings to ensureboth the campaign and the relationship develops.REPORTINGDespite figures being their chosen ‘tools of trade’, many accountants shy away from understanding the maths of theirown sales and marketing campaigns. They will analyse their clients’ expenditure to the nth degree, but fail to applyeven simple analysis to their own. They tend to work to an annual ‘marketing budget’ and expect to generate sufficientnew clients from the activities that arise from the budget to sustain the practice growth.The reality is that within those activities there may be some which are working very well – and providing excellent ROI– whereas others are simply not performing. By investigating the cost breakdown more deeply, it is possible to cut outthe wasteful activities and become more engaged in those that perform better.Of course, we all want predictable and reliable results. But how do we get them? We want to achieve our monthly orcumulative targets - but how can we do that with confidence? Let’s look at two difficulties that growing accountancyfirms face: monthly or cumulative targets, and daily output. Frequently, they find that the management and logistics ofplanning daily work, daily output and daily activity, seems to have little direct relevance to the firm’s monthly targets. www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 7
    • Don’t start a campaign without a proper briefing At Insight, we help firms to focus on ‘sales’ by using a formula which takes daily activity and calls it sales output, or sales effort, and projects that into sales results. This tried and tested formula has been successfully implemented in scores of accountancy firms we work with. We guarantee it will work for you too if you answer three basic questions: 1. How much new business are you hoping to achieve each month? 2. What is your average order or job value? 3. What is your conversion ratio for appointments to orders or bids to jobs? The answers to these questions will create a realistic target for new business generation in any accountancy firm. Ultimately a sales and marketing campaign is about generating meaningful results. Therefore results need to be carefully tracked and reported. In our view this needs to cover: Quantity of calls made AM and PM Quantity of calls that went through to a company (i.e. A secretary/PA answers) Quantity of calls that went direct to voice mail (nobody answers the phone at all) Quantity of calls that went to a decision maker Of the calls that reached a decision maker, how many converted into to a warm lead, hot lead, appointment? Subsequently how many appointments are attended to gain a new customer? When tracked over a reasonable time frame this will give your firm what we call the ‘maths of selling’ for your practice. This will tell you on average how many calls it takes to gain a client and the investment required. © When we run a campaign we work to a unique process called TMAI: Test Measure Adapt Improve, which is a continual process of testing new things, new approaches, new data, new messages etc and constantly measuring, adapting and improving them. This consistent fine tuning is what so often makes the difference between a mediocre campaign and exceptional ROI. To discuss a current campaign that you are running, or even a new initiative. Contact us as: danielr@salesforaccountants.com8
    • Who is doing your calling & what they know about your firm?WARNING 4 Make sure you are clear who is doing your calling & what they know about your firmWe have already covered the importance of a quality briefing and why this is important. Equally as important is theperson making the telephone calls; their training, working environment, database experience and knowledge of youas a practice. The information gained during the briefing session must translate to information and education for theindividual caller.Delegating sales and marketing tasks to a secretary, PA or administrator may seem like a good use of resources at thetime, but will rarely provide the results you are hoping for. They have other roles and duties to fulfil in the workplace andare unlikely to be the right people to perform sales and marketing tasks. (Incidentally, if you have an exceptional staffmember who is talented, enthusiastic and is able to work within a team which supports their work on a daily basis,then see Mistake #9 to avoid destroying their morale).Partners too often feel they should take their share of the ‘new client recruitment’ burden. Yet using a partner’s timeto make cold calls is a highly questionable use of a scarce and expensive resource. The reality is that the environmentin most accountants’ offices seldom supports great sales people. Those working in a sales environment are facedwith rejection on a daily basis and need support and encouragement at a level which is unlikely to be found in a busyaccountancy practice.Companies do not change their accountant simply on the strength of a mail shot or a telephone call. In our experience,the services an accountant provides are different from those of any other professional service company. Generatingnew clients consequently demands a unique strategy, one that is not considered to be ‘typical sales’ with a scriptedor aggressive approach.Do not allow your sales people to use scripts. They will sound wooden on the phone.We don’t allow any of our team to use scripts when they call on behalf of our customers. This is an important principlethat’s built into our entire ethos when it comes to making telemarketing work. In our view, the person calling on yourbehalf must be an experienced individual who can professionally and sensitively uncover the true needs of eachprospect. Where these needs clearly match the services you offer, he or she will confirm an appointment. This structuremeans you will only receive quality appointments, not wasted visits.Ensure that the individuals calling on your behalf are trained professionals who specialise in selling for accountantsIt might sound like a very basic requirement, but please make sure that anyone calling on your behalf has experienceof running campaigns for accountants. There are thousands of companies, consultants and individuals who offertelemarketing - but very few have relevant experience of working with, or for, firms of accountants. During the briefingstage be prepared to ask questions about the individual caller(s) and their experience. www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 9
    • Is your website ready? WARNING 5 Is your website ready? http://www.salesforaccountants.com Consider how to bring together online and offline marketing We have already mentioned that telemarketing should be used as part of an overall sales and marketing strategy. So what are the other elements? The core component in any strategy these days is the website. It’s fair to assume that almost everyone who is contacted as part of the telemarketing process will look at your website before agreeing to talk in detail or meet with you. It’s important to recognise, therefore, that your website is critical to the effectiveness of the campaign. It is the ‘window’ through which potential clients will view and gain a first impression of your firm. With that in mind, you should review your website with the following questions: • Is your website focused towards potential clients? • What does it say to them? • Are you using language they will understand? • Does it have clear calls to action? • How can they contact you? • What ‘soft’ offers does it have? • Does it generate enquiries?10
    • Is your website ready?The scale of the online opportunity is already enormous and is constantly increasing.For most accountancy firms the thought of having a well-planned digital marketing strategy is far beyond theirimagination. Yet in today’s rapidly changing world, it is the innovators who make the most progress. It’s the firms withforesight and ambition who can create the differences in market perception and become leaders in their field. Havinga well-constructed digital marketing strategy will place you in the top tier of accountancy firms and in pole position forgrowth using online and offline marketing.Insight’s experience in creating and providing online and offline marketing strategies for firms of accountants meanswe are able to provide firms with a comprehensive solution using the latest technology to its maximum advantage. Term Monthly Google Search Results accountants 2,240,000 accountant 5,000,000 tax advice 400,000 qualified accountant 40,5000 chartered accountant 368,000 accounting firms 201,000We understand that many firms are still reluctant to believe that digital marketing either works for accountants or thatit’s appropriate for the industry. However, based on results obtained by our customers and the number of searchesmade online, we know that highly profitable, good quality clients can be won if you have a sound online strategy.Every single day, potential clients are using the internet to search for accountancy firms. In fact, nationally in the UK,there are over 250,000 + searches every single week for ‘Accountant’ or ‘Accountants’ on Google alone! In addition,there are thousands of specific searches, which your potential clients maybe using. Take ‘tax advice’ for example.Every week, there are more than 130,000 searches from people looking for advice on tax etc. (Over 500,000 searchesfrom people looking for tax advice every single month).* www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 11
    • Do not start the telemarketing without supporting material WARNING 6 Do not start the telemarketing without supporting material Similar to Reason 5, if your practice has no distinct identity or status and, to the business owner looking for an accountancy firm, is a featureless organisation - exactly the same as all the other practices in your town or city – how can you hope to win his business? New clients are looking for something to differentiate your practice from your competitors. Ask most accountants why they are different and they will mutter something about quality or service. The trouble is, no-one defines what better quality means or how the service is improved, so the comment is meaningless. And for any potential client looking for an accountant, that means there’s still nothing to help them make a constructive choice. So they decide to phone two or three practices and ask them to send a brochure or some details about their charges. What do they receive? A glossy brochure that tells them there are 4 partners who have been in the practice for 30 years and they provide a ‘full range’ of services. Again, there’s no point of differentiation between the firms; nothing which highlights the benefits to the client of working with ‘XYZ Accountants’. So what should you do? The answer is to create brochures (both printed and online versions) that talk to potential clients about their fears – and how you can alleviate them; about the benefits of working with a firm of accountants that is proactive in offering help and advice. These days, many customers prefer to receive material by email, so it’s essential to have e-documents or interactive PDFs. Others still like to receive information by mail, especially when being offered professional services, so it’s important to have both types of document. When designed and produced correctly they can work extremely well in combination. The material should contain a USP (Unique Selling Point), which is so compelling that prospects would be mad to ignore you. There should always be a clear and concise ‘Call to Action’ to encourage readers to reply, whether that’s by post, email, fax or phone. The key here is to think like your clients. What would they be looking for? How would they respond to an offer like this?12
    • Don’t start cold... Start with your clientsThe Holy Grail by InsightA turnkey practice growth system with proven resultsWARNING 7 Don’t start cold... Start with your clientsCold calling new prospects can work extremely well - as long as you avoid the mistakes outlined in Reasons 1 to 6 - ,but it takes time to build and nurture these opportunities. So while this takes place, why not tap into a potential goldmine that every practice sits on – your existing customer base?Most customers are simply never asked for referrals. According to Mark Lloydbottom in ‘Clients For Life’:“97% of clients would happily recommend their accountants. 96% have never been asked to.”In our experience, referred appointments convert very highly - almost 100%. A staggering result! Furthermore, mostaccountants are extremely comfortable when talking to existing clients. Of course, much has been written aboutaccountants selling more to their existing customer base and asking for referrals, yet very few partners or senior staffhave the time or the inclination to do this effectively.Therefore a common mistake is to invest all your time and resources into targeting new prospects from cold andignoring the potential of gaining high quality referrals from your existing clients. And that’s why we have developed aspecialist solution – The Holy Grail.Happier customers, better client retention, improved cross-selling and an ongoing stream of new clients.As part of your overall marketing strategy or as a stand-alone solution, The Holy Grail makes great commercial sense.It is based upon the principle of a ‘Customer Survey’. We have taken what is generally accepted as a very positiveexperience; talking to customers for feedback, and we have developed and expanded it in a unique way. This maysound simple – and at the very heart of the process is simple logic - but the process includes a complex amalgam ofadvanced questioning techniques, NLP and other communication skills to ensure maximum response from every call.Every practice has a customer database (varying in size) and while many believe they are good or excellent at dealingwith clients, most have not carried out a customer survey, offered additional services or, where appropriate, asked forreferrals. www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 13
    • Don’t start cold... Start with your clients This unique Holy Grail process is designed to give your practice: • Visible and deliberate customer care: proof that one of your core values is being put into practice. In short, by contacting your clients we will help to increase, improve and safeguard CLIENT RETENTION while at the same time gaining valuable feedback. This has two significant benefits: a. It allows you to understand why customers use your firm and what they like about it. In turn, this will enable all future marketing to be developed around your strengths. b. It helps you to manage client retention. No firm has 100% happy clients and in the current market retention is vital. By effectively handling a complaint, we can nip problems in the bud before unhappy clients leave. • The ability to talk to existing clients about additional services you have available, enabling them to REQUEST further information on those services or to request a meeting to discuss them face-to-face. This is a subtle and powerful difference to the normal ‘sales’ process. • More new clients: as the process has been designed to deliver testimonials, referrals and appointments with prospects, all you need to do is turn up at the meeting and convert the referral into a client. This plays to most firms’ strengths as they are familiar with these kinds of appointments. • A list of exactly which clients are interested in buying which additional services: This makes your cross-selling efforts highly effective. • At the end of the campaign you will be presented with a comprehensive report on the Holy Grail process: Happier Improved client Promote additional Generate Gain new clients retention services referrals customers RESULT! “ The work done by Insight has been excellent albeit on a deliberately fairly small campaign. The real value to us is in the clever structuring of the questions to illicit response. The summary report and assessment provided by the Team gives real value. The whole campaign has been more than paid for by a couple of pieces of work than were sold by Insight on the up sell. Calcutt Matthews14
    • Do not get the data wrong!WARNING 8 Do not get the data wrong!If you are already running a campaign, this warning still applies to you as it’s never too late to improve what you oryour external firm are doing.It may seem an obvious thing to do, yet many firms of accountants who have tried telemarketing almost alwaysoverlook this simple yet vital step: Decide who you want as a client.Before anything else, when it comes to the set up of your campaign; before you agree who does the calling; what theyare told about your firm; whether you pay them commission or if you have supporting sales material, make sure youtake the time to consider who you want to work with and who you don’t.If you are working with a telemarketing company or if you are sourcing the data yourself, it’s essential that you gothrough the list of businesses and decide which ones should be called and which ones should be deleted from the list.Whether you use internal staff or an outside company, telemarketing is expensive - very expensive. Therefore the moretime you spend thinking through who you want to do business with and who you don’t, the better.Let’s look at some figuresIt takes between 8 and 15 telephone calls to reach a single decision-maker (i.e. MD, Director, Partner etc)It takes between 10 - 30 decision-makers to generate a quality appointmentSo if you take the time to review and exclude 100 companies from the target database, you will avoid making between800 and 1500 phone calls that would have cost you a lot of money.Today’s sophisticated database searching and analysis means that a careful look at the demographics of who youwant to target can make the difference between a failed campaign and the best source of new business you have.(Incidentally, this is not a sales pitch from Insight. We don’t sell data unless we are acting for a firm, but we are availableif you would like to use us as a sounding board, free of charge, or if you are looking for high quality appointments. Feelfree to call Daniel Richards direct on 07879 654191 or email danielr@insight-marketing.com) www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 15
    • Measure everything: Test Measure Adapt and Improve TMAI© WARNING 9 Measure everything: Test Measure Adapt and Improve TMAI© We have already briefly mentioned the maths of selling; everything should be monitored and assessed. The reality of any sales and marketing campaign is that some elements will be more successful than others. In fact some may not work at all! Take vets or doctors, for example. Many accountancy firms may decide they would like to include vets or doctors in their target database, but do so without running a specific campaign only for those industry sectors and testing the results. This may sound obvious, but the results may have an effect on the entire campaign. What can you test? There are so many variables when it comes to telemarketing, we simply don’t have the time to review them all here. Some of the key variables are: • The database being used. Poor data = poor results • Market sector - what market sectors are you targeting? If correctly measured, some sectors will consistently out-pull others in terms or response rates and return on investment. • Geographic area - we are frequently asked if we have sold in Ireland, Mexico, Fort Wayne, Scotland, Cornwall etc. Each firm believes that their own geographic area is totally unique - and in some senses they are correct. Every area is different and should therefore be carefully tested. In London, for example, there are colossal differences even within a single postcode. In the Midlands, there are significant territorial differences within certain areas. You have to understand these differences and measure the different geographic results in order to adapt and improve the telemarketing. • Size of companies being targeted. As a generalization, the larger the business the longer the sales cycle needed to acquire it as a client. The larger they are the harder it is to talk to a decision maker. Smaller firms are of course easier to meet and sell to. Decision makers in small companies are easier to reach, and the sales cycle is reduced. However the average client value will be low. The Insight team are generally employed to recruit new clients with fees in excess of £4000 per annum (on average) • Message being used or employed – i.e. Tax Strategies, events, seminars, compliance, audit etc • Scripts - get the data right, get the message right and then employ a team who are scripted and they will sound like they are reading from a book. No decision-maker worth their salt will listen to a scripted caller.16
    • Measure everything: Test Measure Adapt and Improve TMAI©What can you test continued... • Caller - who is actually calling on your behalf? Male/female? How are they motivated? Commission/daily fee/ monthly fee/fee per call? • Time/day of calls - our team measure calls every hour for each day and now recognise that there are better calling hours and better calling days. These also vary tremendously depending upon the industry being called (think about Vets for example or manufacturing companies or doctors) • Pre -marketing to the list prior to calling - have you sent out mail shot(s)/Email shots/PR Marketing etc as these may have ‘sown the seed’ of expectation and provide an introduction for the caller.These are of course just a handful of examples from 20 years of experience. We encourage firms to use multipleenquiry streams, even the most successful of online campaigns for example, should not replace traditional forms ofmarketing such as direct mail, telemarketing etc.At first glance, the process can appear overwhelming and it soon becomes evident that we need some form ofassessment process; otherwise we do too little because it feels overwhelming. Or we do everything just because wecan, or we make a random selection based on intuition. What is needed is a formal process that we can reliably follow.The matrix on the following page gives an example of how to test and measure the process.APPLICATION OF THE MATRIX (see diagram 1.1) 1. Don’t assume the results will hold forever. Remember one of the key characteristics of new technology is that it is constantly changing. Keep on with TMAI. 2. Don’t test one thing only. Do multiple tests both online and offline. For example, for our events we send a mailshot with reply device. We had multiple affiliates who endorsed our events to their members. We had two ezines. We had an html email shot and we had a plain text email. We used a fax shot to cover the impact of the postal strike. We rotated a 7 minute video and a 2-minute video on the landing page. We used telemarketing in a variety of forms. All of it was ‘tested, measured, adapted and improved’ so we had an improved process for the next event. Everything we do helps us build a matrix of an ideal online/offline combination for our next tour. What’s important to recognise is this: If we had only used one marketing medium, our event would have failed completely. It was only because we undertook a mix of activities that we made it at all. And the truth is we can only do these events with that online/offline mix. Neither will achieve the numbers we need on their own. 3. Build your own monthly measurement system (MMS), which includes projected volumes, projected results and projected conversions. It is key when thinking through ideas to be tested, how you will both capture and then use the data generated.Remember the maxim - make the most of every opportunity. That means before we use technology, we carefullyconsider what data we are likely to get from that technology. If you want to discuss your current campaign or areconsidering starting one, please don’t hesitate to give us a call to talk this through in a little more detail. www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 17
    • Measure everything: Test Measure Adapt and Improve TMAI© Online / Offline Matrix (diagram 1.1) Response Total No Appts: Total Business Acquisition Leads Appts Total Cost Rates Leads Orders Yr1 Cost Offline Referrals Direct Mail Advertising Out sourced Appt Generation Newsletters Fax shots PR Online Website SEO PPC Social Media Email Marketing Ezines Referrals Webinars Audio Video Questions Most cost effective mix Implications of Choosing Improvements to test What else can I try Unique factors that may skew results appt: client conversion calls:appt Upsell visits: upsell outcomes18
    • The appointment. How do some firms manage to close 1 in 3 or 1 in 4, while others fails to win any?WARNING 10 The appointmentWhy is it that some firms convert and others do not?The answer: Perception, Preparation, Presentation and Proposition!PerceptionWhen discussing telemarketing with firms one of the things we try to address is the perception that an appointmentgained through telemarketing will be similar to a referral appointment. Most partners are confident closing almost100% of appointments that have come through word of mouth or referrals. They are golden opportunities, which willbe converted in most circumstances. But those generated through telemarketing will be very different; almost certainlythey will be colder and will require a considered approach.A very good conversation rate from ‘telemarketing’ appointments is 1 in 4, within a 12 to 18 month period. This maychange to an excellent conversion rate of 1 in 3 over an 18 to 24 month period, simply due to the extremely protracteddecision-making and lengthy sales cycles many firms are faced with.If this perception is not correctly adjusted before you start a telemarketing campaign, it is likely that your ownexpectations will be over-optimistic, and will lead to a negative view of the results. Worse still, those who actuallyattend the appointments will begin to feel discouraged, even though the results are far better than they think. If yourperception is realistic then the next step is to prepare for each opportunity before you arrive.Preparation has two clear stages:1. TRUST – many accountants cringe when they think of sales and marketing. In their opinion, it suggests hard selling. We do not hold with or advocate such selling techniques – ever. Rather, we believe that good quality relationships are formed out of TRUST. Therefore one of the most important elements to winning new business of the right type is actually developing or building trust prior to your visit. There are many ways this can be done, primarily through the experience and expertise of the person making the calls on your behalf. They must be able to ask the right questions, listen well and engage with the prospect on the phone. Over time, an excellent relationship can be formed by phone and when the time is right, an appointment generated.• Once this appointment has been booked then TRUST must continue to be developed through a simple but pre-agreed multi-sequence campaign prior to the appointment. Partners could personally email or write to the prospect, testimonials and references can be sent in advance, perhaps along with some recent PR if you have any. Even a phone call before you attend will all help re-enforce your credibility as a professional firm and therefore increase trust.• Recently, authors such as Seth Godin and Brian Tracy have written a significant amount on developing trust and have large followings of people who do just that.2. Identifying the NEEDS of the prospect before you visit. If you understand the needs and requirements of the potential client before you visit, the prospect will feel listened to and you will be able to prepare effectively. This can be done either through the person booking/arranging the appointment and or the person carrying out the visit itself at a later date. www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 19
    • The appointment. How do some firms manage to close 1 in 3 or 1 in 4, while others fails to win any? In addition to understanding the potential client’s needs, you can also prepare in advance for any specific objections you believe you may encounter such as: • “I am happy with my existing accountant” • “We don’t need this right now” • “Please send me a quote” • “I need to discuss this with xyz and come back to you” • “What is in it for me?” • “Who else uses you?” Presentation Once you have developed trust with the prospect and clearly identified the major problems the prospect has, you are ready to begin the presentation. Some have suggested that presenting is just like doing surgery. Like surgery, it is complicated and requires a lot of preparation and knowledge. Get it wrong and a single slip can cost the patient or salesperson very dearly. Presenting is serious business and we suggest you should leave nothing to chance. If you have carried out reasonable preparation you will already know the needs and problems that your prospect may be experiencing. Therefore your presentation must demonstrate to the prospect that your ability as a firm is the best solution to their problem and makes economic sense. As you make your presentation it is important to get ‘buy in’ from the prospect by asking open ‘trial closing’ statements such as: • “If I can show you how you can save... tax are you interested?” • “How does this sound to you?” • “Does what I have suggested make sense to you/seem fair to you?” • “Do you agree that a combination of xyz will make a significant difference to your business?” • You may also choose to talk past the sale, by explaining how things would be different when they start using your firm or how happy they will be when the see the benefit of... (monthly management accounts etc). These powerful and positive statements are well worth practising to ensure you are comfortable using them in a live setting. Continued over page...20
    • The appointment. How do some firms manage to close 1 in 3 or 1 in 4, while others fails to win any?Proposition - The CloseIn golf there is a saying “You drive for the show, but putt for the dough” and as author Brian Tracy has suggested, inevery potential client meeting you “Present for the show and close for the dough.”In almost every industry sector and for almost all people this is the most difficult and potentially unnatural part of themeeting. In the 1970’s much effort and emphasis was placed on The Close as the key to the sales process. Thesedays, however, we suggest that the most important part in the process is building trust with your prospect. That saidall the effort put into preparation and presenting can be lost in the last 10% of the process – the proposition or close.Therefore it is significantly important to practise and rehearse a close that you are happy with and comfortable using.This takes time to develop and work through and must be unique to your firm.AT THE VERY LEAST…In the current market, decision-makers are fearful and are taking longer to make decisions. Changing their accountancyfirm is an important business decision, it is strategic, and not a decision that we would advise any firm to make lightly.Therefore it is fair to assume that to win a new client will require multiple visits and multiple communication from you,before they actually change firms. Therefore at the very least in the first meeting arrange the next face-to-face meeting.You will be amazed how simple this is! Simply explain that you would love the opportunity to work with them andtherefore can you arrange a meeting to take them through a detailed quotation.If you would like to discuss how to make the most out of every sales opportunity, or to obtain high quality appointmentsevery month, call Daniel Richards on 07879 654191. www.salesforaccountants.com How to improve your conversion of appointments to customers Free Audio CD including unique content on gaining more referrals Want to learn more, then why not request this Free Audio CD from Insight, By Insight founder David Oliver or listen online at www.salesforaccountants.com t: 0800 803 0826 e: davido@salesforaccountants.com Title Title JOB UDXXX Technician XX Client Client Date 00/00/00 Revision 1 www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 21
    • Be ready to negotiate WARNING 11 Be ready to negotiate Most accountants fail to benefit from the opportunity to re-negotiate their fee package with clients. Failure to do so is a hidden mistake which causes substantial damage to practice growth. Most firms rarely, if ever, think about negotiation when it comes to agreeing the new clients’ package. It hardly ever crosses the mind of the partner or manager securing that new business. On the other hand, there are typically nine tactics that knowingly or intuitively your new or existing clients will use against your firm to reduce your income. It’s easy to be content with converting 80% or even 100% of the referrals a firm may get, but the truth is most accountants simply don’t know how to go about converting that referral to the best possible deal for their firm. And that means it hurts your bottom line every time. The same can be true with existing clients. Every year at least, there is a great opportunity to negotiate a better package. Yet so few firms ever do. Perversely, most accountants are well aware of the exponential effect increased prices and increased order values have on the bottom line. Increase the value of the package being sold to your new or existing clients by 15% and you are likely to add 30% or more straight onto the bottom line. One large firm recently told us they had negotiated an increased package of 12% for this financial year against a target of 7%. When asked ’How?’ The answer was simple. “It’s down to the training in negotiation we have received.” Insight offers a straightforward and ethical approach to negotiation. It is based on win/win because we understand that you want the approach to be ethical and sustainable. More importantly, you want a profitable and pleasant life-time relationship with your client. Recommended reading How to Negotiate Effectively By Insight Founder David Oliver www.salesforaccountants.com 0800 803 0826 Available free to Insight customers22
    • Don’t send out poor proposalsWARNING 12 Don’t send out poor proposalsAfter so much hard work and effort has gone into generating the appointment, attending it and negotiating the rightpackage, don’t blow it by sending a typical, boring and dull proposal that essentially lists what your accountancy firmdoes, and how much money you want.Almost all the proposals we look at miss the mark by a long way. They fail to capture what was discussed during themeeting, and have no real direction in terms of what you want the reader to do. A week later, you are left chasing upthis poorly conceived document, in the vain hope your prospect might have read it, seen the price and said, ‘okay’.Most decision-makers will roll their eyes as they thumb through the thoughtless black and white text, which onlyreinforces their view that accountants are boring.If you are going to embark on a telemarketing programme with a view to winning new clients, then the strength of yourproposal document is paramount.One simple solution is to outsource the creation of your proposal to Insight. Writing effective copy is a specialist areaof expertise in its own right. Writing text that provokes a response is an art few master. A great copywriter understandsthat every word in your proposal must lead towards action. Good copy does not simply talk about a practice or itspartners, or about you generally. Strong, focused and persuasive copy communicates meaningfully with potentialcustomers. It tells them what they want to know in a way that attracts their attention and speaks with authenticity andauthority. Therefore, it is the job of the copywriter to understand precisely what services your firm offers and what yourpotential clients need to see in your proposals in order to make an educated decision. A good copywriter will thencreate a synergy between the two to produce dynamic hardworking copy.Our senior copywriter is viewed by many as the leader in the field of writing copy for accountancy firms. His experienceis unique. Having qualified as a Chartered Accountant with a top 6 firm, he also worked as a Finance Director andManaging Director before opting for a career in marketing – specialising in writing outstanding sales and marketingcopy for companies such as American Express, Diners Club and Nightingale Conant. David has worked alongsidesome of the world’s greatest marketers such as Jay Abraham, Bob Proctor, Peter Thomson and Richard Denny andnow heads up our copy team. www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 23
    • Marketing Performance Consultation Free Marketing Clinic Dedicated To Your Future Practice Growth YES! You can attend an inspiring, content-packed, 45 minute one-to-one marketing clinic ABSOLUTELY FREE and without obligation. You’ll come away with a detailed plan of action to help your practice grow and ensure you have a steady stream of new clients during 2011. Why attend? Right now some firms are thriving and others are not. Some have a clear sales and marketing strategy while others are ‘hoping for the best’. This structured one-to-one clinic is focused exclusively on your practice growth. You’ll benefit from expert advice from one of our senior marketing team, who is dedicated to serving professional accounting firms. It’s a no-brainer! No Cost... No Obligation There is absolutely no cost or commitment either now or at anytime in the future. This is a genuine offer to help you formulate your plans for practice growth in 2011. What can it cover? Obviously there’s a limit to what we can cover in 45 minutes, so you can choose to focus on one or more of the following areas: • Review your existing website and list of improvements • Develop a one page marketing plan for the next 12 months • Discover how to fully integrate your online and offline marketing • Discuss tested strategies to grow your practice at the rate you want with the clients you want to work with • Receive impartial independent advice on specific areas of practice growth and new client acquisition • Access tactical tools and resources your firm needs to achieve the growth you want • Review your existing sales and marketing strategy and discuss areas for improvement Plus FREE Practice Marketing Education Pack We appreciate there is a limit to what can be covered in this unique session. So in addition to the 45 minute consultation, you will receive a Practice Marketing Education Pack including: • ‘The 12 Telemarketing Mistakes made by Accountants’ • 3 hour DVD ‘How to Grow your Firm’ • ‘The 9 Digital Marketing Mistakes - and how to avoid them’ Register Now! If you are genuinely interested in generating additional fee income in 2011, please call one of our team now, on 0800 8030826, to register for your free marketing clinic.24
    • Our ValuesOur ValuesThese are the values we aspire to. We don’t get it right all the time but it is our intention to do so as often as possible.In all areas of our business these values are known and consistently worked towards. Honesty We believe in being up front, honest and open, even if at times the truth can hurt or lose you customers. Giving Everyone within our business has a giving nature and provides assistance where possible to those less fortunate. Desire We have a genuine desire to develop win-win relationships with partners. Challenge We believe that just as “iron sharpens iron” one man can sharpen another. By positively challenging both the accepted norm and the goals, results and strategies used, we believe we can develop market-leading solutions. Inspiration We look to inspire others through the use of creative design. Dedication Appreciating that challenges will come, we are dedicated to our partners and to achieving the goals that we agree together. Fun We believe in a philosophy of ‘work hard - play hard’ and enjoy both. Share We are an open book and are willing to share our ideas, thoughts and resources freely with others who share our values. Serve Ultimately we exist to serve our customers. Excellence We want every customer to be successful and we go the extra mile to ensure that this is achieved. Environment We are accountable both ethically and commercially for the environment. Therefore we operate with a unique ‘green policy’ working towards being carbon neutral and encouraging others to do so. Learning We continually learn and improve. We accept that this may cause mistakes – sometimes major ones – that we will tackle and overcome together. Vision We work with selected partners towards developing and sustaining best-in- class digital marketing solutions, with the aim of generating a regular flow of new business at a controllable rate. www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 25
    • Testimonials “ We love working with you Dan and the team at Insight and were extremely impressed by the video your team did for us. As a small local practice it gave us great presence and we received great feedback from our current ” clients and potential customers. Thanks guys. “ I just wanted to thank you for the work you are doing and the quality of the leads. In the eight calling days you have undertaken so far we have been on seven appointments…just to say I think you are brilliant and it’s ” great to have you on our side. “ I found the session exceedingly interesting and at times uplifting, In honesty David Oliver deserved a far more receptive audience as how he kept so upbeat with such little interaction is probably the reason he is one of the best in the business anyway. Had to rush at the end but would love to get copies of all of the CD’s etc as ” didn’t get time to queue. “ I have been really impressed with Insight and their turnaround time, we marketed by email for our event with relatively short notice and the team at Insight produced the information, sent it out and followed it up, all within a tight time scale and produced us some great results, capturing really useful data along the way. I would ” be happy to recommend the services of Insight.26
    • Testimonials“ This is to confirm that over the last four years we have used Insight and their Premier Service. This processhas generated literally hundreds of appointments and has led to new business opportunities that otherwisewould not have been open to us. At all times, Insight has been professional in their approach to us and listened ”to our specific needs. We are happy to recommend their services.“ Having listened to David Oliver at his public events for accountants, and read some of his material, his 20years of sales and marketing experience with accountants, means that his principles and insights are earthedin reality, they are utterly pragmatic and are easy for accountancy firms small and large to put into practice and ”make a difference to the bottom line.“ We have used Insight to carry out direct marketing and lead follow up for a selection of our firms. The servicewe have received has been very professional and has resulted in some good leads being generated. I would be ”happy to recommend Insight.“ I have enjoyed working with Insight as a firm and their input has been appreciated over the last period andthe focus that they gave me and our practice was a part of the large expansion we have achieved, in conclusion ”then, I have had good value from their services. www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight 27
    • UK 0800 803 0826 Europe +44 (0)1256 896239 USA 1-(800)-542-0602www.salesforaccountants.com by Insight