“I’m so frustrated. My partners just don’t get marketing. I don’t understand why I am here if they won’t let me do anything. I should leave and find another firm that gets it.”
Many marketing professionals at accounting firms find themselves in this exact position.
Your success is directly tied to your ability to build credibility and influence at your firm. Here are four key things you can do to build your influence:
- Follow-through and consistency. It sounds simple, but doing what you say you will do goes a long way to building trust and credibility. Plus, marketing is all about execution. What doesn’t get done doesn’t generate results.
- Educate. Most frustrations can be solved with a little education. CPAs do not typically go to school to market themselves or their practice. Part of your role is to help educate them on what you should be doing and why – and how that can help them.
- Know your market. Respect and learn the business you’re going to market. Take the time to learn what they do all day and how the business operates. You should also spend time monitoring the profession, reading accounting news and its various changes – and be able to have a conversation with a CPA about the latest regulatory issues and other important matters. Look for those legislative changes, read the information released by their governing organizations, and monitor mergers in your marketplace. Not only will this allow you to identify opportunities, it will also show them that you care and respect what they do.
- Build Rapport. Trust is earned and has to be constantly maintained. The best way to get buy-in is by building it with each individual person. You need to get to know them and determine the best way to communicate (and initiate change) with them. As with anything else, some people will be easier to win over and some will be tougher to crack.
While some of us are lucky enough to come into an environment where the partners get it, most of us have to pave the way. Your job is about navigating the complex environments in which you work. Any step in the right direction is a good one, no matter how small. Celebrate your small wins and reinforce that excitement within your firm.