The public accounting marketplace is becoming increasingly more competitive. More decision-makers are becoming savvy purchasers. No longer do they just talk to one firm; they often talk to multiple firms. Whether you were referred into the opportunity or the prospect found you some other way, here are six tips to help you be more successful with each swing at the plate.
- Research the company and industry– Google the prospective company to learn as much about them before you meet with them. Don’t go in and ask what they do – that’s the kiss of death. Instead, confirm what you learned from your research. It will impress them, show them that you did your homework and thereby put you in a position to have a meaningful discussion about their organization or business. Consider pulling an industry report to learn more about the key challenges facing that industry. It can also provide you with a list of targeted questions.
- Identify relationship connections– Next, look them up on LinkedIn. See how you or someone in the company might be connected to decision-makers in their organization. We all know how importantly relationships matter in business; in fact, those relationships can often be the tipping point. Bottom line, a common connection can help in any RFP situation.
- Listen first, promote second– When you have the chance to meet with the organization or company, learn as much as you can about their situation. Don’t start by telling them who you are and why you’re so great. Instead, take the time to understand them and learn about why they are looking for a new firm.
- Customize your proposal. If you asked insightful, probing, open-ended questions and you listened well in the meeting, you will have great information and ammunition to be used in custom-tailoring your proposal. Include the information you heard in your meeting, specifically identifying what you heard they need and want out of a new accounting firm relationship.
- Follow-up.This should go without saying, but prompt and timely follow-up is very important. It shows that you care and want their business. In addition, send thank-you notes to the people involved, letting them know your appreciation for inclusion in the process.
- Presenting your proposal. If and when you get the opportunity to present your plan, DO NOT simply regurgitate your proposal. Everyone in the room can read. Instead, you want to focus on getting to know them and having a conversation about what is important to their organization. The best way to do this is to start with a foundational dialog about what is meaningful to them.
These are just a few tips to help you win more business. While your record won’t be a 100% win rate, these pointers will make you more competitive, generating an increased number of hits when you’re swinging the bat.
What else do you do to win more opportunities?