Growing your practice by building trust

The goal of sales and marketing is to turn someone from a stranger into a raving fan of your business, which is a difficult bridge to cross. So the only way to grow your accounting firm is to create trust. And lots of it.

Financials can be scary for business owners, making them feel vulnerable. To invite someone into this space is to expose themselves and their business.

If you are going to grow your accounting firm, you have to be masters of crossing that bridge and helping your prospects feel comfortable letting you into their financial world. Without establishing that trust, it is impossible for your accounting firm to grow.

Here, Micky Deming shares six strategies Kahuna Accounting have implemented to close the trust gap, which you can also use in your practice today.

Show yourself as the expert through content

Most of us do a lot of browsing and market research before getting on a call with a business. We check their website, browse some of their key pages and scan their blog. It's likely that your prospects are doing the same with your firm's website.

If your content is helpful and shows you as knowledgeable, you’ll immediately create a sense of trust with your reader. When your free information is valuable to them, they'll be confident that when they pay you, it will be worthwhile.

If your website's call to action is to schedule a consultation or appointment, your prospects need to be sold on who you are before they schedule that appointment. You have to earn their trust to get an initial 20 minutes of their time, so your content needs to be engaging or helpful.

Be everywhere your ideal clients are

Finding your niche is essential for building trust. Once you are focusing on a specialty, you will find that though your target may consist of a lot of business or individuals, it’s a small world once you’re there.

And when you identify where those people are, you need to be everywhere they are. We have 18 employees at Kahuna Accounting and every time we say that on a call, people are surprised. They think we are a lot bigger because we are absolutely everywhere they are.

But in actual fact, this isn't that many places for us. We just knew where to be—the events that matter, the active LinkedIn groups, the best websites to write on. To our niche market that frequent these places—we are everywhere.

Familiarity creates trust. The more established you are in the eyes of your prospect, the more they will assume you know what you are doing.

Speak the language of your prospects

A subtle way to establish trust is to take care understanding your customers and what they want. You would think you could establish trust by listing out your track record of accomplishments and recognition, but guess what: nobody cares. People don’t care about you, they only care about themselves.

The good thing is, when you become experts at understanding the pain of your potential clients and speaking to that pain, you’ll establish trust.

Again, this helps when you are in a niche because you don't need to be generic. When prospects hear about the specifics that matter to them, they immediately believe you have insider knowledge and get them, making them want to work with you.

Kahuna Accounting has built a successful niche working with law firms. We have a page on our site with content created specifically for law firms where we talk about trust accounting and the software tools they use. We speak their language and talk about things they care about, demonstrating that we understand their world.

Transfer trust

The fastest way to get a prospect to trust you is to borrow trust from someone they already have faith in. A great example of this is podcasts. I listen to the Tim Ferriss Show and whenever he promotes a book, product or guest, I check them out and believe they have credibility, just because I trust that Tim Ferriss only shares quality.

You probably won’t get on the Tim Ferriss Show, but your target audience already has certain people they trust deeply. Find a way to build relationships with those influencers, and contribute for them. Offer to write content, share something unique, or find out from them how you can help their people.

If that trusted influencer paints you as an expert, the people who trust them will immediately have trust for you.

Maximize in-person interactions

Getting on the phone with real people or meeting in-person is a great way to establish trust. The best way to do this is to go to events where a lot of people you want to work with will be. Go to the event, do some research ahead of time to find out who is going to be there, and try to find space to have quick meetings.

This technique is not as scalable, but face-to-face contact and a handshake go a long way. People will remember you and feel as if they know you a lot more than if they were only engaging your business through a screen.

Establish social proof

Show, don’t tell. Your marketing should be filled with case studies and testimonials from those you have helped. Ask your happy clients to share if they are happy and put their faces and quotes all over the place.

Your prospects want to be able to picture themselves as happy clients, and you can go a long way in the trust process with a little social proof.

For your accounting firm, trust must be established before people will want to work with you. These six techniques have been used to great effect by Kahuna Accounting, and we're continuing to implement each one today. What are some ways you’ve built trust with your prospects?

This article was written by Micky Deming, Director of Business Development at Kahuna Accounting. Featured by Entrepreneur on Fire,, Infusionsoft and Xero's Accounting Partner of the Year in 2016, Micky knows a thing or two about growth and marketing for accounting firms. He is also a member of the Karbon Academy faculty, specializing in Practice Growth.

To fill the accounting industry’s gap in education, Karbon is launching Karbon Academy. Combining proven theory with practical examples and group coaching, you’ll be taught in your four tracks (strategy, management, efficiency and growth) by the best practitioners and lecturers from around the world in an MBA-like curriculum that has specifically been built for accountants.

Join us this August to take your accounting practice to the next level. Learn more and enroll.

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