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Strategy & Growth

How to market your accounting business successfully

with Daniel Priestley. If you took action on my last article on how to strengthen your business through a storm […]

with Daniel Priestley.
If you took action on my last article on how to strengthen your business through a storm with a strong mindset, now is the time to look outwardly at your market.

For this, I chatted to entrepreneurial expert, Daniel Priestly. Daniel has successfully started several businesses and doesn’t let the state of the economy effect his ability to grow a business.

Catch the recording of the full chat with Daniel here.

Through his experience, he’s established 5 key principles about people’s buying behaviours. By fully understanding why people buy, you can position your business to the right clients…


  1. Only oversubscribed businesses make a profit
  2. The only people who matter are YOUR people
  3. First, make your market, THEN make your sales
  4. People buy to resolve tension
  5. People buy when conditions are right

1. Only oversubscribed accounting businesses make a profit

The number of people who want to be your customers must outstrip the number of those who are.


Because this sense of exclusivity fosters a feeling of delight in those who are your customers. It also means you’re not oversubscribed with your workload and are able to give the best quality service to current clients.

If you’re unsure what your current capacity is, it should be the number of customers you have time to serve at a level that will leave them feeling delighted.

ACTION 1: Calculate how many clients you think you could ‘delight’ per year. This will indicate your official capacity, which begins the process of supply and demand tension, which I’ll explain soon.

2. The only people who matter are YOUR people

There’s no point getting your accounting business in front of people it isn’t relevant to. You just need to focus on building your own engaged tribe.

How many people is that?

A minimum viable number should typically be about 20x your official capacity.

Why is it important to only focus on a smaller audience?

It comes down to science. Everyone has a limbic system in their brain designed to filter out anything that isn’t relevant to them. If you don’t know how to stand out to the clients you want, you have no market.

So, you need to understand what does get through the limbic system and how you can tap into it for your business:

  1. A scary threat. This is unhelpful and I wouldn’t recommend scare tactics in your marketing.
  2. Something out of the ordinary. A bizarre sight like a person dressed as a giant hotdog, for example, will filter through your limbic system. This is also unhelpful for a professional accounting service as it isn’t taken seriously.
  3. Something attractive. Something overtly sexual will stick out in our brain, and of course, this is also unhelpful in a business environment.
  4. Something for FREE. The fourth thing that gets through the filter is something offered to us as a gift, and that is something you can absolutely use in your accounting business; Providing free eBooks, webinars, help sheets – anything that is of true value to your clients is a great way to get their attention while still being taken seriously.
  5. Something familiar. You could walk down a busy high street and not take in a single face, until you pass someone you know your brain will pick them out from the crowd. That’s because your limbic system also filters on familiarity. It’s been deduced that if you spend 7 hours with someone in 4 different locations, they move from being an acquaintance to a friend.

How can you utilise familiarity in your practice?

Google researched this, and in digital terms, they found people will interact with a brand online 11 times before making a purchase. The more familiar prospects are with your online presence, their limbic system will kick in.

ACTION 2: Calculate the size of the tribe you need. Take the capacity you set in the previous section and times by twenty. That’s how many people you need to have engaged in your content to create your minimum viable tribe.

ACTION 3: If I googled you today, would I find at least 7 hours’ worth of content? If the answer is no, set yourself the challenge to build that up over the next year and become a key person of influence in your field.

ACTION 4: Record any training webinars you do, create off-the-cuff videos to share evidence-based advice you have after particularly interesting client conversations… content doesn’t have to be highly produced.

And remember, no one is judging your appearance if you’re providing them value. People are always more inclined to buy from people rather than a faceless brand.

3. First, make your market, THEN make your sales

The primary thing to understand, that so many brands get wrong, is that market-making is NOT talking about what you want to sell.

It is better to ask people for signals first, then sales. And by signals, we mean a signal of interest. Have a new product you think would solve a big problem for your tribe?

Ask them if it would.


You could put up a LinkedIn post about a perceived problem they might come across with their accounting function, ask them if they would pay for a service that would fix said problem, or release a poll to your email list to identify what their main concerns are that they need an accountant for, for example.

ACTION 5: Make a subgroup of email subscribers who have signalled interest in your service. Since they have already proactively expressed their interest, these are the people you can sell to.

4. People buy to resolve tension

When people become clear on what their desired reality is compared with what their current reality is, they begin to understand what they need to have or do to get there. This creates a tension.

In order to create a strong business, it’s your job to help people understand what both their current, and desired situations are.


Provide the option for them to complete a self-assessment. This self-assessment should result in them receiving a free analysis, or scorecard, outlining where they are now, what their desired reality is, and most importantly, the obstacles in their way (and how your service can solve those obstacles).

It’s an effective marketing strategy because it makes what people need to do clear in their mind, making your services all the more appealing because they can now envisage how they can help them get to their destination.

It isn’t something to reserve for new customers either. It’s a great opportunity to upsell services to existing customers that they may not be using.

ACTION 6: Create a customer scorecard on your website with Daniel’s scoreapp here.

5. People buy when conditions are right

Three factors influence someone’s desire to buy: Logic, Emotion & Urgency.

The perfect conditions are when someone feels the purchase is logical, they’re emotionally invested, and they have a sense of urgency to buy. But most people are only good at identifying one of these.

Therefore, it’s up to you to educate potential clients to create these conditions:

  • Educate them on why the purchase is logical
  • Use real examples of people like them to get emotional investment from them
  • Help them see their current situation and visualise what it could be with your services. Show them why it is urgent that they change their situation now.

ACTION 7: Implement these 3 campaigns into your business:

  1. Weekly: create easily repeatable emails with CTA’s that give value (such as scorecards)
  2. Quarterly: create excitement once a quarter with a spotlight campaign. Ideas include:
    1. Product releases
    2. Informative webinars
    3. Live events
  3. Annually: Post on social media an annual big message reminding followers of the philosophy behind your products

If you combine these marketing principles with the strategies I shared to strengthen your mindset, you’ll notice your growth soar over the next 1 to 2 years.

Next week, I’ll share my chat with Jonathan Gaunt about how to successfully manage a thriving accountancy practice.

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