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“…I wanted to know the story those numbers were telling me.”

Mar 9, 2019

Karens sketchnotes

Last week my accountant said something that has stuck with me – and come back to me – every day since he said it.

I traveled, attended a lot of events, met amazing people and re-connected with ones i knew already, had new business opportunities… and yet the one thing that stands out in my mind the most was breakfast with my accountant.

It was because of one phrase he used that appealed to me as a business owner, as a person, as a client. (I say ‘my accountant’ but that term is a lot broader lately. He owns the accounting firm we work with at PF, and whenever we get together we talk like business owners about growing our businesses. It’s one of the things I like best about the accountants we have.)

He said “I was looking at your numbers before I came, because I know we’ve been looking at the progress PF has made in the past three years since you took it over yourself, and…”

(here’s the phrase)

“…I wanted to know the story those numbers were telling me.”

One of our themes at PF this year is “stories”.

I love the way marketing has moved from “telling people what to buy” to telling people’s stories so the potential buyer can say “oh, i feel like they did – maybe this is what i need to buy”.

It’s human. It’s personal. And as accountants you know that numbers tell a story.

So Paul told me my story. He told me that in the past three years, we have 40% fewer clients…and an average fee increase of 100%.

I knew that in my head, vaguely. I knew that we aren’t doing the £99/month or £395/month offerings we used to have years ago. I knew we are working with fewer firms in a more focused, more personal way – and I know we’re doing it because that’s what gets them the best results.

The firms who just needed a few things here and there, and weren’t ready to invest too much, we found were not going to get much return, and marketing wasn’t the amazing experience for them that they want marketing to be (and that we know it can be).

So a year or two ago we started changing the way we did things. We created the Marketing Map – not based on what we want accountants to do, but on what DID actually work for accountants. We looked at all the firms who were getting amazing leads and high quality ones and literally turning business away….and all of them followed the Marketing Map.

And we adjusted our services accordingly.

And we’ve spent the past year refining those services, and even building a very cool dashboard app for our clients to manage the outsourced marketing they get from us. (If you’re on a retainer with PF and want to have first look at the dashboard, let me know.)

So I knew all of that. I knew – or thought I knew – what was going on and what changes had happened and why.

And now my numbers are telling the exact same story.

That’s encouraging. Exciting. We’re delivering what is absolutely best for our clients and we’re not trying to be all things to all people.

Because it’s possible for us as business owners to think a story in our own heads, but that’s not the story the numbers are telling.

What stories are you telling your clients? More importantly, what story can you share with them from their numbers – as a story? Something they get excited about and remember and share with the team and use as motivation to keep delivering the very best for their own customers?

 

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