Monkey See, Monkey Think and Monkey Do… probably the most insightful thing I ever learned in sales and marketing when it came to understanding my market.
Let me explain.
In my earlier days… and considerably younger I might add! I managed to find a job as a Photocopier sales person. This was known to be one of the toughest industries around for competitiveness.
Almost every time a deal was on the go for a new photocopier you would see Canon, Ricoh, U-Bix (as they were back then) Sharp, Xerox and a few others suddenly all vying for the prospects business. Much like seagulls at the beach fighting for that dropped salty chip!
The way things worked is that most companies rented the machines on 3 year contracts and so what would happen is that roughly six months out from roll over, every sales rep in the industry would contact the client and start “selling”.
Now I have worked on both sides and can tell you now that generally what happens is that the prospect is very quickly forgotten about as the sales reps all frantically start fluffing their feathers and competing against each other like male peacocks.
Essentially each sales rep would only get fully active when a client was about to DO something. So most reps only chased those wanting to make a decision now.
Then one day it all changed for me. I knew a particular company were about half way through the contract period and also knew that no one else would be bothering them (including their current supplier). So I rang up and introduced myself and right away just said I wanted to say hi and ask a few questions, as I knew they were not in the market. I alluded to the fact that I had heard the biggest problem for business in their industry was lost time and was keen to see what impact equipment faults played in that.
This is what we call the SEE stage. Where we get potential clients to see us and let them know we exist. At this point we are (in the eyes of the client) exactly like everyone else although because we are touching on a known problem they are a little more receptive..
So the potential client agrees to meet as there is no threat because there is no way anyone can possibly make a deal happen with 18 months to go.
So we meet and have a lovely chat where I ask a lot of questions about the business, how big it is, why they have copiers, what importance they play in the running of the company etc.
During this phase the client suddenly start revealing some minor concerns they have with the equipment. Nothing major, just a little frustrated that two of the machines have broken down recently and it took a while for a technician to turn up. No biggie (yet) but certainly something to explore more. This did also tie in with the industry wide issue with down time.
Now was the time for me to move them onto the THINKING stage. This is where we get a potential client to start thinking about the possibility of change albeit only a casual thought.
I asked if they monitored the machines and kept a track record of down time and any impact on the business. As it turned out I happened to have a book they could use for each machine to document each machine break down and for how long and also identify if it was a common fault of if they were all different faults.
The client then said it would probably be a good idea for them to start identifying what cost it was to the business when the machines went down as far as lost productivity. Thinking stage is evolving… 🙂
From this point on I never said much at all and simply said hey if I see or hear of anything that may interest you shall I send it through and the answer of course was very much a resounding yes.
So that is exactly what I did… over the next 12 months I called in occasionally, sent some stats through, shared some articles on how other firms were measuring equipment performance and basically stayed close without actually selling”.
I also asked them how the monitoring was going and by all accounts it was not going well… the pebble in the shoe was now fast becoming a fully embedded object that was “locked” in.
Now at some point during those 12 months the potential client started moving from SEEING us, to THINKING about change to then actually taking action and DOING something about it.
It was roughly 6 months out from the contract roll over that the prospect “rang me” and said – “Hey, can we catch up?” I am wanting to make some changes with our equipment and was hoping you would be interested to submit a tender for it.
Naturally I said yes and also expressed that I doubted we would be as cheap as the current provider and the only real benefit to our equipment would be the “Up Time and Speed Of Service” (funny that)
The client signed with us with 6 month to go on their old contract and paid out the old supplier on the remaining six months they were that keen to shift that pebble in the shoe!
Naturally at around that time all the other suppliers came out of the wood work and tried to get a foot in the door, all to no avail because the deal had actually been subconsciously signed months earlier.
So what does this all mean as an accountant chasing new business?
Well, as Richard has said only 5% of your market are at the DOING stage and are ready to buy now… but they all started out at the SEEING stage at some point and went through the THINKING stage before getting to the DOING stage.
So the first step in the process is being SEEN and this means advertising, referral strategies, networking, seminars etc…
The SEEN part is the easy part… it’s the THINKING part that requires smarts and that is where the Monkeys Fist comes in.
If everyone sees you and you look, sound and act like everyone else… then you get SEEN and forgotten. But if you “Sell the problem you solve” not the service you offer then you stand a greater chance of standing out and being SEEN and triggering the THINKING stage.
This is where you identify a common problem inside a particular industry and offer up an easy solution to it. This could be in the form of a report or a one page flowchart etc. But it must be relevant to the person who SEES it.
Example (targeting Cafes):
Free One Page Report: How to add 25% to your bottom line without working any harder or cutting costs”
Now any café that sees that will be interested and may want to download that to read. They still sit at the SEE stage, but you suddenly have their attention. Because they gave you their email in return for the report you can now send more items of pure gold.
So you now follow up with another email offering yet another piece of gold that helps them with a problem that most cafes have. You keep doing this until they either unsubscribe or they move into the THINKING stage.
And so on and so on… now not everyone will want to become a client or want to book a time. But you can rest assure that when the day comes for them to actually take action, you stand a far better chance than another firm who has never interacted with them.
So maybe the saying should be…
Monkey Fist, Monkey See, Monkey Think, Monkey Do!
Your Recommended Course Of Action?
Here is a simple step-by-step overview process for generating more leads and how to convert them into appointments.
Step One: Identify a niche market
Step Two: Research the main issues or “pebbles in shoe” problems they have
Step Three: Create a simple to read and easy to implement solution to the problem and offer it in return for their name, phone number and email address by promoting through Facebook, LinkedIn, Known Networks, Existing Clients, Industry Affiliates.
Step Four: Deliver at least 4 automated follow up emails of even more value with a link that offers a chance for them to book a time with you and offers a free strategy session.
Step Five: Ring them directly if they have not contacted you inside 10 to 15 days days to see when they would like their free strategy session.
Step Six: Build a long term automated nurturing email sequences with relevant FAQ’s around tax and business advice that go out each month or even fortnightly. A monthly question of the month is a great way to educate and keep them informed. All new and existing clients should go in here as well as any new leads who have not yet engaged.
Step Seven: Develop a systemised referral strategy and communicate on a regular and formatted basis where known networks including clients can easily share your amazing insights and resources to their colleagues and friends.
But You Don’t Have Time… RIGHT?
Excuses, Excuses, Excuses! We have heard them all!
A common cry we hear from accountants is they are time poor or they don’t like sales, or they don’t like marketing.
My favorite though is “I am too busy doing compliance work to get bogged down with marketing”
But you still wants more leads, more appointments and more clients don’t you?
So what do you do?
Well, if you are interested in having a system like the one above then we have a range of funnels, content and resources you can use and within a month be all set up and ready to start talking with new prospects.
If you want to know more then reach out to us