To motivate is to move to action. Marketing is all about motivating. You motivate clients to use your services. You motivate prospects to buy. You even motivate internally to get partners to sell. Whether you realize it or not, you’re in the motivation business.
While many people believe you need to provide incentives to get people to take action, that’s only part of the solution. In professional services marketing, some of the key motivational tools may be simpler than you think.
Start with a Carrot
Motivating partners can be a challenge. Some respond to sales goals and incentive programs. Others won’t change the way they do things, period. However, your success depends in part on theirs. Start by focusing on those partners willing to work with you. Witnessing how you can successfully help one partner may be just the thing other partners need to get motivated.
Keep a Stick Handy
It also helps to make sure you have support from the top. When you aren’t getting something needed from a partner, nothing will drive results more than a call from the managing partner. While calling in the Calvary isn’t something marketers want to resort to very often, that little extra help with a strategic project will help give you credibility.
How? Because it reinforces the fact that you are working closely with the managing partner and that he/she personally supports what you do. This tactic is so effective you probably won’t need to employ it more than once.
Think Like a CPA
While marketers see in color, accountants often view things in black and white. Your partners have probably made comments like, “we don’t need another checklist or form,” but the truth is they are accustomed to using these types of tools. If you develop easy to use tools that leave little room for confusion, they will use them.
Work as a Team
No one wants to let a team member down. It’s human nature to want to look good in front of peers. If you can get your partners – and everyone in your firm for that matter – to view marketing as a team sport, you’ll have more success.
Nowhere is this more proven than in opportunity pursuit. If you only have one partner chasing a prospect, you aren’t utilizing the full depth of knowledge and experience in your firm. Discuss strategy and next steps with a team of people. Incorporate their best practices and learn from their past mistakes.
Don’t Forget Your Prospects
To motivate buyers, you need to first understand them, to connect with them on an emotional level. And no two groups of buyers are the same. Take nonprofits for example. Can you list the biggest issues facing nonprofits today? How do you know?
Don’t make assumptions. Ask nonprofits as well as others in the industry to know for sure. Once you truly understand what issues are facing your specific buyer group, it becomes clear how to position your services to “solve” those issues.
Maybe you’ve discovered that nonprofits are losing revenue. How do you help? Can you help them improve cash flow? Put together a strategic plan to identify new sources of revenue? Create efficiencies so they can do more with less? You need to identify a way to help, and most CPAs actually enjoy solving problems. Find a way to tug at their emotions and then propose a solution. When you’ve got your messaging right, your buyers will be wowed by your understanding of what they are experiencing and your ability to fix it. That is the best way to motivate people to buy.
Make Them Believe
Whether you are dealing with a partner or a prospect, make them believe – in your solution, your tools and your ability to make them better. When the audience you are motivating feels good about you, it’s easier for them to buy whatever it is you are selling. And proven results increase their confidence. It’s how your buyers will trust the process and it will keep them coming back for more.
So get ready, get set…motivate. Then celebrate the victories that are sure to come your way.
This is adapted from an article that appeared in an Association for Accounting Marketing publication.