Telemarketing For Accountants

Why Telemarketing

Telemarketing is a powerful way for businesses to generate new sales leads and business enquiries. By a sales person calling up a business, doing a little fact-finding and then establishing a need, the business can find new business enquiries by going direct without the need to sit and wait for clients coming to them.

Problems For Accountants

The issue that many accountants face is that clients very rarely change, not like suppliers of manufactured parts, or printing; people tend to find an accountant and then leave them to it. So finding new clients is not easy however is necessary to ensure that the practice grows.

Marketing Dilemma For Accountants

Most accountancy practices find that sourcing new clients is difficult, and the best form of lead generation is word of mouth. By new clients coming through recommendations they are more likely to be long-term prospects (rather than someone just shopping around for prices, or speculatively looking at alternatives). For this reason, most accountants do look at reactive forms of marketing (advertising, internet marketing etc.) rather than pro-active forms of marketing (or direct marketing). Networking events are popular for accountants, but they are time-consuming and the competition is high.

As telemarketing works so well for other business sectors, many accountants are looking at making it work for them, by going to clients direct, asking the question ‘would you be interested in changing accountants?’ and then doing this thousands of times over until someone says ‘yes’.

Telemarketing For Accountants

The process of telemarketing for accountants is really not that different to any other business industry, just that it takes more calls to get a prospect/meeting.

The calling campaign for accountants will not produce instant results (unless by sheer luck), it will be a case of doing a lot of calls and building the sales pipeline.

The main consideration is looking at the practice experience (medical, finance, engineering etc.) and then ‘selling’ the experience to prospects on the phone that are in a similar industry.

An important consideration is to select a telemarketing agency that is experienced in doing telemarketing for accountants.

Closing Thoughts

For any accountant, telemarketing is going to be long-term, it will take time on the basis that most businesses will be reluctant to ‘swap suppliers’. It is more a case of catching a business at the right time, or building a relationship on the phone with the owner/decision maker.

The businesses that are called do need to be targeted (rather than random companies) they are bast being local and similar to the accountants historic experience (more chance of a conversion).

Having a USP (unique selling point) or offer is wise, give prospects a reason to say ‘yes’ rather than just pitching the service.

Be patient, telemarketing will take time to produce results, partly because of the selling cycle or because catching people at the right time is just luck. Telemarketing will be productive, but will not be a quick fix for accountants seeking new business.

Phone Sales and the “I’ll Be In Your Area on Tuesday” Trick

The other day, I was talking to a professional individual who deals with many different companies for her clients. The various companies all have their own sales reps, and they try to schedule appointments, although it is tough with her busy schedule, although occasionally she does wish to meet with certain companies to see what they have going at any particular time. She happens to be involved in the financial planning sector.

When the salesman calls up it’s always the same line, and sometimes it is their secretaries which call up;

“I will be in your area on Tuesday, if we could sit down and have a chat about our latest asset allocation portfolio solutions.”

Or,

“Mr. Jones will be in your area on Thursday and he has time between 10 AM and 2 PM to meet with you regarding a new mutual funds or REIT which has been approved by your firm, can I schedule an appointment with you now?”

The funny thing about all this is that the financial planner has an area code that she used before she moved her office, and when they call up they have no idea where her office is, and yet they say they will be in the area. She told me she had half a notion to say; “oh really, and what area might that be.” You see, she knows that they are trying to set up a schedule to meet various people all in one area on the same day, but when they call they don’t know what area she’s in. They’re merely making an assumption.

In other words, in this profession strict details are very important to serve your customers and clientele, but in this case the sales reps selling the various financial products or repping for their company are not being precise, in fact they don’t know, as it is a little ploy that is used in phone sales to help set up meetings. In some regards you could call this a little white lie, but it should also be a red flag letting you know that a salesperson that doesn’t know anything about you is pretending to have information they do not.

If someone is doing that in their phone sales tactics, then how can you trust them to give you the straight skinny, good advice, and offer what is truly best for your client and their financial matters? The reality is you can’t, and that might be something that triggers a red flag. Indeed I hope you will please consider this if you are a sales rep, or if you have someone trying to sell you something, you might wish to question their integrity a bit further.

Important Factors When Selecting an Outsource Call Center

Selecting a call center is a decision that many organizations in the United States must make in order to remain competitive or to handle increased call volume.

A call center or contact center provides a variety of services and reside in almost every country. Just like any other industry they have specializations and exist in a number of sizes such as startups, boutique centers, and large multi-country centers that will compete for your business.

Whether selecting a telemarketing partner is the result of cost considerations, improvements in customer service or some other reason, there are a number of factors that need to be considered before finally selecting your outsource partner. If your organization needs additional services such as clerical, back office or accounting services, then you need to consider if your outsource partner can handle all of the functions you require.

First you need to decide, based on the reason for moving the specific functions to a contact center, where you want the center to be located. You have three options; onshore (in the United States), near shore (Canada, Central or South America and the Caribbean) and offshore (everywhere else but most are in India or the Philippines).

Each area has its pluses and minuses which need to be carefully matched to the process you want to outsource. If neutral accents and knowledge of U.S. culture is needed then those considerations may target specific countries or call centers that specialize in calls to and from the U.S.

If you are selecting a center to make outbound sales calls to consumers then it needs to provide different agent skills then selling business to business and also must follow different federal compliance guidelines. The agents should not have accents that interfere with the process and some cultural understanding of the country in which you market your goods and services. When choosing a center for outbound sales keep in mind who will supply the calling list and, if calls are made to consumers (other than survey, nonprofit or political calls, the data list must be opt-in or DNC compliant.

If the call center receives customer payment by credit card then the call center needs to either be PCI compliant or adhere to your company’s PCI compliance program.

If the payment is made through the telephone company either land line or mobile, then there are a number of phone company rules and FTC regulations along with specific rules and processes for refunds and conflict resolution.

If your primary concern is customer service, then you need to ask how the calls are distributed to the agents and does the center have 24/7/365 capabilities if necessary and can they maintain the required services levels at all times of the day.

When choosing an outsource telemarketing company training is critical since they will become a very visible arm of your organization. How they train their agents including product knowledge, script adherence and accent neutralization affects your customer experience. Does the outsource call center have their own quality assurance program and should you spot check? What is the management to agent ratio? These considerations are just a few that need to fit within the service levels that you expect from an outsource partner.

Don’t forget to match your reporting requirements with the call center capabilities. You will want specific metrics regarding the calling lists used and dispositions of outbound and inbound calls. If you need to archive call recordings, the dialer software used by the call center should be able to handle this seamlessly.

This is a general overview of just some of the factors that must be included an any evaluation of outsource call centers or the construction of an RFP.

When selecting a call center, independent consultants are often employed to assist companies develop the strategy and design that is consistent with their needs.