You’ve just bumped into one of your ideal clients at a networking event, someone you haven’t met before. You’re speechless because you’ve wanted to work with this person for months (if not years) and here they are standing in front of you. When you reach out to introduce yourself and they ask you what you do, you freeze up ON THE SPOT. You can’t organize your thoughts quick enough to give them your elevator pitch.
Before you know it, someone else has walked into your conversation and your opportunity to really connect with your ideal client has passed.
Have you ever experienced this sort of situation before?
I work with a lot of accounting professionals, and so many don’t know how to quickly describe their business and what they do without flubbing up.
This is exactly why I believe having a pre-written and practiced “Brand Shake” (my term for the elevator pitch) prepared is one of the most effective ways to build your network of ideal clients you truly want to help and serve.
When you go out and network, you want to know exactly how to talk to people so that you can attract the right clients to grow an abundant accounting firm.
If someone has a problem and you have the solution to help them, but you don’t have a prepared Brand Shake ready to enroll them into your solution, then you’re actually doing these individuals AND yourself a disservice.
When someone asks me what I do, I share openly and to the point because I know that I help accounting professionals learn how to sell with confidence and without being pushy. And my goal is to help as many accountants, CPAs and enrolled agents as possible really transform their accounting practices into what they truly want and be paid top dollar for delivering their solutions and knowledge to their clients.
I truly believe that if you have the solution to help your clients achieve their goals and dreams, be it saving money in taxes, saving money in their business, or helping them create a larger cash flow in their business, they deserve to hear what it is you do.
Here are my 5 steps for accountants to create an award winning elevator pitch, aka Brand Shake!
1. Know the Foundation of Your Pitch: What do you do, and why do you do it?
In order to create ANY sort of elevator pitch, it is imperative to know exactly what you do and why you do it.
I have probably spoken with a couple hundred different accounting professionals in the last 12 months and all of you have a deep passion for helping your clients, which is wonderful! But there are many of you who (before you take my accounting masterclass) have NO idea what your personal mission is behind your business.
In order to create a Brand Shake that works for you and truly speaks to what you do, you want to make sure that you are representing your own brand.
This whole process isn’t about making money. This is about helping people with your special knowledge. As an accounting professional, you have a specific knowledge that most people don’t have, and those people really do need YOU.
Today I was speaking with a new CPA about who he was focusing on as his ideal clients. He informed me that he is really passionate about helping business owners. He likes that he can help them with their business returns, with their financial planning and he can manage their monthly expenses.
He shared with me that he would much rather work with just a few businesses rather than one hundred individual people.
He really knows who he wanted to serve, which helped him write an effective Brand Shake that spoke to his ideal client.
2. Know Your Ideal Client
This step can help set you apart from other accountants anywhere you go. First, know who your ideal client is, then really understand the problem that you’re trying to help these ideal clients solve.
You are the expert problem-solver for them!
Once you know what problems you solve, you have to understand what your clients want to achieve and end with the question, “Do you know anyone I could help?”
What I want to encourage each of you to do is write out who you think you want to serve.
I was talking with one of The Pitch Queen interns about how important it is to pick a niche and then niche down just a bit more. Trust me, you do not want to start taking on each and every client that comes your way.
My intern isn’t an accountant, but she is an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to start an online clothing store. I told her she needs to think about what clients she wants to attract before she jumps into any sort of business.
These are the questions you have to ask yourself as you choose your niche to ensure you’re working with your dream clients.
One of my students loves to help clients with their payroll and 401K needs. He wants to be the hub and spoke, which means he wants to have a solution for the whole package of any new business client that he brings on. He doesn’t want his prospects to have to look anywhere else for their accounting and internal business needs.
Knowing who your ideal client is can save you a huge hassle of having to fire clients down the road when you realize they aren’t what you were looking for or you get too busy with the right clients who are paying you top dollar for your services.
3. Know Who to Pitch to
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone make a elevator pitch about their business to someone who doesn’t need anything they’re offering. It’s a waste of time for both individuals involved.
What if the accountant I just mentioned who likes to work with business owners went to pitch his services at a place where they had zero business owners? That the individuals he was pitching to were just a bunch of students, or people with 9 to 5 jobs and only had a W-2?
This probably isn’t the best place to build relationships with people who will fill your firm with ideal clients. None of these individuals are your ideal client, so don’t waste your time by pitching to them.
Here’s what I want you to do: Make a list of five people, niches or industries you would want to make your elevator pitch to. Doing this will help create the confidence to pitch to your ideal clients.
This goes back to step 2, but by knowing who your ideal client is, you can know specifically who to pitch to and where you could possibly be meeting your ideal clients.
I had a client who was dealing with this type of situation recently. She had a client that she’d been working with for a really long time who was in the construction business industry.
She really wanted to help him, but he was not her ideal client. She deals mainly with real estate investors so I asked her why she was spending time focused on a construction client. She really didn’t have an answer other than wanting to help him.
But here’s the cold hard fact….
You won’t be able to help anyone if you’re all over the place and have no specialization.
I want to stress how important it is to really focus and pitch only to those that you really want to work with and serve.
4. Practice Makes Perfect.
You make your first impression within the first six seconds of meeting someone, so practice counts.
Don’t just write out your Brand Shake and plan to just practice it when you get to the event. NO!
Write out your Brand Shake (using the template below) and then practice it at least ten times a day before you go to any event. I promise it will make a huge difference!
When practicing, consider recording yourself so that you can see your body posture and don’t allow yourself to be too slouched. Also, listen to your tone to ensure it remains consistent throughout your Brand Shake. And finally, be sure to project confidence in your voice.
Taking the time to practice will easily help you master the elevator pitch and flow with confidence at your next event.
This is precisely where I see a lot of mistakes happen. People forget to follow-up and they leave potential sales on the table.
I encourage you to write down your prospects’ numbers, email addresses, and any other contact information you can get, and then within one day email them to make sure they remember you.
It would even be a great idea to send them your elevator pitch in your email, so they remember who you are.
The whole point of doing the follow up is to build a relationship with this potential client. Who knows when it could lead to a new client!
Every networking opportunity is a chance to build a relationship that can lead to a sale.
When a business relationship is solid and you have a strong foundation of rapport with a new client, people are more likely to buy from you.
When going to in-person networking events and chatting with potential leads, ask them if you could take a photo with them.
As some of you might know, I also host a podcast called Success Unfiltered where I’m always looking for entrepreneurs who have dealt with NO’s and rejections and have overcome them to get to their version of success.
When I go to events where I have the opportunity to chat and start building relationships, I’ll ask people for their email, their phone number and if I could have a photo with them.
When I email them the next day, I’ll email them a copy of the photo so that they can truly remember who I am!
Doing this is unique and will help your prospect remember who you are. Trust me, you want to be memorable!
How to Write a Brand Shake (aka Elevator Pitch)
1. Decide who your ideal client is.
2. Understand the problem that you are going to help them solve. (Remember you want to be the expert problem-solver for your client.)
3. Determine what it is that your clients really want to achieve.
4. End with the question: Do you know anyone I could help?
Here’s an example for a CPA or an Accountant:
What I do is show medium business owners how to save money in their business right now, if they have a business between $2M to $3M in revenue, so that they can create better structures and systems in their business to keep the money in the business instead of sending checks out to the IRS. Do you know anyone I could help?
If you’re curious what mine sounds like, here’s what I say when sharing what I do with CPAs or Accountants:
I help mission-driven accountants, CPAs, EAs, & bookkeepers who have been in business at least two to three years really learn to sell with confidence and come from a place of service to offer their high value services to their clients without feeling sleazy, pushy or desperate, and really gain the confidence to deliver that in their message so that they can increase their sales conversations to ultimately increase their revenue. Do you know anyone that I can help?
I know many of you can struggle to make connections at networking events, but if you write out your business’ Brand Shake, starting conversations with potential prospects will be much easier.
I would love if you shared your Brand Shake in the comments!