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Cold Calling and Target Marketing for Accountants

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Several years ago I started my accounting practice on a shoestring budget. I did it in what was quite possibly the worst city in the world in which to start a business.

Opening in a medium size resort town where the number of accountants was seven times the national average per capita wasn’t quite bright. Next time I’ll look before I open a practice. But that’s another story, and how I wound up developing all the nifty marketing tools you can find at Practice Builder Publishing.


After playing the prestigious networking game, and before I started writing articles, textbooks, courses, and all the passive and viral marketing techniques I wound up using later, I tried cold calling, and canvassing.

I had to know why we weren’t growing at the same rate we had in other cities. Why weren’t the client engagements just rolling in? What could we do? The answer was cold calling.

Not Just Sales!

Cold calling was invaluable to us because it got us a foot in the door of a range of different companies, and allowed us to conduct powerful market research. We literally picked up the phone and called every small business within 15 miles.

Some of my staff had been business consultants before and we each had different knowledge about cold calling. The key development we hit upon was establishing a sales process that involved sitting down with small business owners and getting a much-needed understanding of how they operated their businesses, including what their plans were, and what areas they needed help to develop.

Using a survey technique with our cold calling we learned that a lot of small businesses wanted to focus on their core competency, not spend their time wrangling with different reporting and compliance functions.

We learned that a lot of small businesses wanted to focus on their core competency Click To Tweet

This knowledge was the answer to our marketing problems. We decided to hone our cold calling efforts to companies that most other accountants had labeled “problem accounts.” Once we took the time to understand our target market, we could make more efficient use of our time, and gradually make the sales that built our business into a success.

A little bit of research at the local courthouse identified a number of small businesses that either currently had, or previously had, tax liens and notices filed. Once we were able to identify these suspects, we were able to target more accurately.

Through cold calling we were able to conduct face-to-face market research at no charge (other than our time, and the cost of driving across town). With our newfound knowledge, we continued to use cold calls to our advantage, contacting our target market of “troubled businesses” as we invited them to our free tax reduction seminars.

Through cold calling we were able to conduct face-to-face market research at no charge Click To Tweet

We collected registration information at every seminar and followed up with thank-you calls and visits, laced with offers of free surveys and mini-audits, to fill our marketing funnel and begin the growth we would experience over the next few years, in what was undoubtedly one of the hardest markets I have ever seen.

Cold calling has negative connotations among the small business community, especially as why-are-they-calling-me-at-dinner-time-to-sell-me-long-distance-services-that-save-me-$1-a-month telemarketing puts a bad taste in people’s mouths. But cold calls are actually a very positive way for companies to generate new business.

Join us here at Practice Builder Publishing and become a part of the community, whether you become a contributing author, a peer recruiter, or merely a raving devotee of the Practice Builder Publishing resources, I'll work with you personally so you can reach the goals you set.

Best to you and yours,




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