Real Networking Starts after the First Meeting

Six easy ways to follow up.

By Jean Caragher
Capstone Marketing

Building relationships takes time. Real networking begins after the first meeting. Remember, networking is not selling. It is about building relationships and helping others.

When you meet someone whom you think will strengthen your network, you need to follow up and discover how you can be of help. Here are six ways to follow up:

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9 Ways to Slash Your Firm’s Marketing Budget

Rarely have two forces collided in the accounting business with more force than the way new business development is crashing into cost-control.

Jean Caragher of Capstone Marketing and The Seven Keys to Successful CPA Firm Management, says you can, indeed, have it both ways. That is, if you know how to manage your marketing costs and ascertain marketing ROI.

Here, she suggest nine strategies for getting more bang for your marketing buck. READ MORE →

What Partners Don’t Tell Staffers about Clients

Jean Caragher
Jean Caragher

by Jean Caragher
Capstone Marketing / SevenKeys CPA

Since strong client relationships contribute to client satisfaction, longevity and lead generation, partners often encourage their managers and staff to build relationships with their clients. But these managers and staff look at the relationships their firm’s partners have built over time and think it’s impossible to replicate their results.

However, building relationships with clients can be done using the same behaviors that we use when building friendships and courting our spouse or significant other.

Consider these 12 tips to build client relationships: READ MORE →

Jean Caragher asks: Is the Accounting Profession Setting the Bar Too Low?

She finds an interesting detail in Business Week's "Best Place to Launch a Career"

At her blog, "What I've Learned So Far," Jean writes:

The Big 4 firms hold the top four spots: Deloitte (1), E&Y (2), PWC (3) and KPMG (4). Grant Thornton (51) and RSM McGladrey (66) also make the list. Kudos to the accounting profession! However, when asked to identify the most desirable trait in new employees the responses were either "College GPA" or "College Major." Are we setting the bar too low? Companies like General Mills, Nestle, Johnson & Johnson, Marriott, and CIGNA are looking for leadership; Booz Allen Hamilton, Merck, and Walt Disney are looking for communication; and, Wells Fargo, Progressive, Amazon.com, and Prudential are looking for analytical skills. Think of the competitive advantage you could create by expecting more from your recruits than a college degree!

Jean reminds us, "It's not all about the benefits. It's about the people."

Jean Caragher: Eight Ideas to Jump Start your Marketing program

Is Your Marketing Program Stalled?

Jean Caragher, president of Capstone Marketing and a leading consultant to accounting firms, offers eight ideas for jump-starting your marketing program:

1. Determine your firm's ideal client and go after more clients like it.

2. Identify your firm's specialties and brainstorm how you can sell these services to new markets.

3. Train your professionals to identify cross-selling opportunities and to offer additional services to clients in an intelligent manner. An easy way to identify cross-selling opportunities is to use a spreadsheet that lists clients down the left-hand side and services across the top.

4. Conduct a client satisfaction survey.

5. Meet with your referral sources regularly, whether you have an established network or are trying to build one.

6. Have every professional join one trade or civic organization to enhance the visibility of your firm while learning about a particular industry or giving back to the community.

7. Review your marketing budget and look for ways to cut back.

8. Write a marketing plan that includes (1) mission, vision, and core values, (2) situation analysis, (3) goals/objectives, (4) strategies, (5) implementation, and (6) budget.

For the complete article, click here.

From Capstone Connection, Marketing Ideas and Strategies for CPA Firms, Capstone Marketing, www.capstonemarketing.com, April 21, 2009, “8 Ideas to Jump Start Your Marketing Program.”

Read the rest here: Is Your Marketing Program Stalled?.