I’ve been working pretty closely with accountants for awhile now and I can say with certainty that one of the most common questions I receive is, “Why am I having such a hard time prospecting?”
My return question is to ask them who their audience is or what their niche is, but many accountants respond with “anyone who does….”
Almost immediately I know that they haven’t zeroed in, which is precisely why they’re struggling with finding leads.
I get it! Niching down to one specific area can be scary. It feels like you’re leaving SO MANY potential clients on the table, but by choosing a niche to serve you can actually create targeted marketing that will bring those ideal clients to you.
You’ll no longer be living in fear of when the next client will arrive.
When I started The Pitch Queen, I set my sights on helping ALL service based entrepreneurs becoming better at sales without being salesy or sleazy. But that market is HUGE. There are so many entrepreneurs out there, and I just wasn’t getting the opportunity to work with many of them because my marketing efforts were not niched down enough.
I began working with accountants with my friend Denise, helping accountants and CPAs learn how to sell without being pushy or sleazy. It felt scary and the niche felt narrow, but I quickly realized how much help accountants really need with sales.
Since narrowing my focus, I’ve been able to market my specific services to a narrow group of people who need me. I’ve been able to create a masterclass that helps accountants learn how to communicate their value and command higher rates. And I love working with accounting professionals!!
If I’d remained focused on ALL service based entrepreneurs, I may have helped a CPA here or there, but never in the way that I’m helping them now.
My business is beginning to explode because accountants know that if they need help in sales, they should seek help from The Pitch Queen 😉
Narrowing your niche doesn’t seem so scary now, does it?
Don’t Wait Until Things are Perfect
When I advise you to niche down I hesitate a little bit. Often when you tell an accountant to focus in on what they really love or the industry that feels natural, they’ll go searching for that industry. They may even put all of their other work and efforts on hold until they’ve made their decision on what to focus on.
DON’T DO THAT!
Do not wait until things are perfect because they won’t ever be.
A guest on The Abundant Accountant Podcast, Luke Gheen, shares that his first year in business was all about bringing in clients and getting them started with his team’s services. He and his team were cognizant that they didn’t want to just take on any and every client because it will lead you down a path of little focus. It will also make it difficult to develop any expertise. BUT, he had spent a lot of time bringing in clients that weren’t quite ideal in the beginning.
That’s a key thing! If you’ve been an accountant for a bit of time and you have some clients that may not be ideal, don’t fret. You can still find real success and real abundance, you just need to start zeroing in on who you DO want to be working with.
Luke recommends you think about what kind of business owner you want to be. Do you want to be the business owner who works with a bunch of clients, working on two or three hundred dollar tax returns, or are you more interested in running the business or possibly offering high-end services?
None of those options are wrong, but it’s important to figure out which fits you and then get going on finding those clients.
How to Pick a Niche
There’s no reason to complicate anything. Picking your niche doesn’t have to be a long drawn out process. It all comes down to choosing what’s a natural fit for you.
When it came time for Luke to choose his niche there were a couple of popular choices out there, but in the end he chose to avoid them.
One of his options was government contracting. He decided against that because they’re subject to DCAA compliance, which turns into a bunch of paperwork and other responsibilities that he just wasn’t interested in.
Another option could have been real estate, but Luke had no interest in real estate. He didn’t want to get stuck doing something he hated or wasn’t really passionate about. Instead, he thought about what niche he could see himself going deeper into and actually really enjoying the details.
Simply put, look at the work you’ve already done with past clients and then look at where you’ve been experiencing the most success.
If the area you’ve had success in interests you then you’ve found your niche! No need to look any further, stick with what you enjoy and what brings you abundance.
In Luke’s case, one of the niches that he stumbled into was the dental industry. Part of the reason that Luke’s company started working with dentists is because they liked the people.
Many dentists are only open four days a week, they’re nice and they have families. Not to mention that they have multiple interests. They’re not only focused on work, work, work.
They themselves have a life outside of their work, so they understand when their accountant needs time away with the family.
It was a natural fit for Luke and his team.
You might be asking, what if I don’t know what I’m interested in and can’t find a niche?
If you aren’t really sure what you’re interested in because you haven’t had the chance to dig into a lot of details or work with enough clients, then a great way to look at this is what past experiences have you enjoyed or interests you?
Also consider why you chose self-employment. We all have different reasons, and those reasons will drastically affect the type of business you build. You want to honor the reasons you became self-employed in the first place!
If you don’t, you may build a business but you might hate what you built.
For Luke, it was important for him to be able to come and go as he pleased in terms of location, and he didn’t want to work with clients that were expecting to reach him at any time of the day or night.
There’s no doubt in my mind that prior to this blog post you’ve heard that niching down can help grow your business, but you’ve probably wondered why, right!?
For me, and for Luke, it is helping us focus our marketing.
When you focus your marketing and you know who you’re going after and who you are speaking to, you’re able to develop internal systems that you can use to process the work.
It’s SO hard to develop an internal system to process work if you don’t know what type of work you or your team are going to get.
Obviously each client is going to have unique needs, but if they fit into your typical system you and your team can efficiently accomplish the work that is needed.
Another huge benefit of niching comes from the potential for increased revenue. When Luke niched down into the dental industry, his revenue per client started to go up because he was able to offer more services for his ideal clients.
Luke shared that he and his team were really able to understand what their clients needed, and were then able to develop the programs that would best serve them and their needs. This gave a big boost to their total firm revenue.
Having a Niche Isn’t Foolproof
Even when you have a niche, less than ideal clients will slip through the cracks. You’ll meet with them, you’ll like them, you’ll like their business and what they stand for, so you’ll take the leap and start working with them.
After some time passes you realize you made a huge mistake and you brought on a client that is nowhere near who you want to be working with.
It happened to Luke, even after he had niched down.
There was a husband and wife who had separate businesses in the same industry. This was kind of odd to begin with and then they wanted to meet face to face which is something Luke and his team rarely do. They prefer communicating via email and video conference.
However, Luke was trying to create some financial planning services within his business so he made some exceptions for these clients, hoping they’d branch out into the financial planning space as well.
These individuals wanted someone locally in town that they could call whenever they wanted, especially when something was going wrong. Luke ended up spending so much time with this client beyond what he was even being paid for.
When it came to April 15th, the individual tax filing deadline, this client called and chewed out one of Luke’s CPAs about how they had waited until so late to file his taxes–even though it was actually because of the client’s negligence and refusal to provide things that Luke’s CPAs needed in a certain time frame.
Luke decided to immediately fire this client because he wasn’t the right fit in SO MANY ways, and he was actually losing time and money.
Niches help, but be aware that you’ll likely still have some encounters with less than ideal clients.
Choosing a niche can feel scary and while it isn’t always foolproof, I can almost guarantee that niching down is going to lead to more growth within your business.
People will be able to refer others to you with ease, because they know who you help. Not to mention, as Luke said, you’ll be able to create offers specifically tailored for your ideal clients.
What’s niches have you considered focusing in on?
PS. Want to make more and work less?
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