I saw on a forum yesterday an accountant complaining that they didn’t get many client enquiries through the Xero platform. Whilst they were listed, in 3 years they had only had one enquiry.
Curiosity got the better of me so I hopped on over to the Xero platform to see their listing.
I was not surprised at their update after I had seen their listing online.
The Xero Advisor Directory is searched thousands of times by prospective clients. If you are a Bronze partner and have at least one member of staff that is Xero-certified then you are eligible to put up your details. There are currently over 2000 advisors located in the United Kingdom, yet the vast majority are not maximising the client generation opportunity that Xero has provided.
The Customer Journey
When someone is interested in working with an accountant they do their research. Imagine you have gone onto the Xero website looking for an accountant for your business. Would you go with the first listing or would you look at the different firms, their specialisms, the people who work there and click through to the website? The chances are it would be the latter, and you would do your research. Well this is how your potential clients are looking for an accountant too.
So why do you fail to help them make an educated decision?
In 2016, during a 3 week period the Xero directory got about 14,500 referrals for their partners. Some partners got a dozen referrals a week whilst others got none… why is this?
In 2017, during another 3 week period Xero analysed the directory activity again. With 412,400 views of listings over 14,550 referrals were had. They then delved deeper into the top 1000 partners with the most views for more detailed analysis.
- 4% of listings have a referral rate of over 10%
- 15% of listings have a 5-10% referral rate
- 26% of listings have a 2.5% referral rate
- 55% of listings have a referral rate of less than 2.5%
A small proportion of listings get 10 or more referrals every 100 times they’re viewed. But more than half see fewer than 2.5 referrals per 100 views.
What makes these statistics really interesting is that they are based on firms that ARE getting the views. And getting the views is the difficult part.
What Can You Do To Get More Views?
First of all have a great description of your firm. Whilst positioning and differentiation is one of a partners biggest struggles, if you can write from your heart and convey the fact that you listen and your values are strong then you will get people to notice you. Couple this with your customer promise and you are creating a powerful description.
ALSB Accountants have one line to describe themselves: ‘We are all about automating the tasks that distract you from delivering to your clients’.
The only way you can find out more details about them is by clicking on their website… oh wait, no you can’t… the website isn’t linked properly and the page is blank.
Which leads me on to point number 2.
Make sure your links work. There are listings on the Xero Directory with no website link. You must have a website in this digital age as proof that you are actually a reputable company. You don’t need to have one that is all singing and dancing. In fact we get our clients to create an Authority Website which is 5 pages or so and builds trust with the website visitor but doesn’t overwhelm them. This is the perfect website for an accounting firm to have.
When you are trying to build a relationship online you need to ensure that people feel comfortable with you so they can reach out. If someone knows who actually works at your firm it can be less scary to send a message or pick up the phone.
Only a tiny percentage of firms have a list of their team on the Xero directory.
Showcase your team is therefore point number 3.
You have two options in this section. You could raise your profile as the partner of the firm, or, if you are trying to take a step back and not have to be the person who takes all meetings, you could raise the profile of your team.
There is opportunity to put multiple team profiles up on the directory, yet so few do.
I want you to imagine you were looking for a supplier. If you could get a feel for the team you might be working with this would help you make a decision. How you present yourself in these profile pictures will help you attract your ideal client too. Remember if you have a profile picture where you are wearing a suit and tie you will put off the young hipsters… if you have a hipster beard and you want to attract the older generation and more traditional businesses beware that it might be time to lose the beard in your picture.
But the worst thing you can do is not have a picture.
Whether you love or hate the thought of social media, over 80% of adults across the UK and USA use Facebook, YouTube and 33-40% use LinkedIn. So why do the majority of listings not link to social media profiles of your firm?
Point Number 4 is Get your social media links working.
When people search for a Xero accountant they are wanting to get proof that they are the accountant for them. Imagine you have your listing linking to your Facebook page where you share key articles that speak to your ideal client. Imagine that your LinkedIn profile is easily clickable so that people can connect with you and follow your updates and see that you walk the talk.
Even better if you can create content on your social media platform that sparks discussion and lets people feel like they are part of a community.
It is very easy to go onto social media platforms and complain that the Xero directory hasn’t got you any leads. But just like all marketing assets you have to work it. Which means that you have to have it set up in the right way and ensure that you show up in the best light online.
Whilst other Partners might not see the directory as a priority task to complete, make sure that you are doing otherwise. Either you or one of your team need to make your Xero listing a priority.
Here is a list of things you need to collate to have a powerful listing:
- A clear logo
- Your address
- A workable link to your website
- Your telephone number
- Your Xero certifications on display (Raffingers do this beautifully)
- A concise and compelling “About Us” section
- Your affiliations listed
- Link to where people can find you on social media.
- Meet the team section completed with your key team members clearly displayed.
- Bank connections (if you have them)
- Industry experience and industries served
- Your apps that you use that connect with Xero
- Where to find you
What is going to stop you from making this a priority?
You will notice that many of the larger firms have more complete listings. If you are a smaller firm with only you or a small team you might start to tell yourself some stories in your head.
Maybe you are too busy to make this a priority
Maybe you don’t see the point because people will go with the larger firms
Maybe you don’t have a team and you are nervous to just put up a picture of you
Maybe you don’t have many Xero certificates
Maybe you don’t link to many apps
Maybe you are not on social media
If you are thinking any of these things you WILL NOT do yourself any favours. The biggest thing that enabled these larger more established firms to have success is that the partners thought big and got out of their own way.
If you want to leverage the Xero directory and get incoming enquiries then you need to sweat this amazing marketing asset Xero have provided for you.
- Make updating the listing a priority.
- Businesses don’t always want a larger firm, they prefer working with boutique accountants that seemingly give the personal touch.
- Put up a picture of you. You have to get out of your own way.
- Don’t worry if you only have one Xero certificate. You will get more when you stop worrying about where your next client is coming from.
- Don’t over think Apps. If you don’t currently have an app stack enjoy the moment. A time will come when you must have more apps to serve your clients and deliver an outstanding experience. Right now you may not have the client base.
- If you are not on social media then you need to get on it. People must see you are active and that you are providing value online. Who is your ideal client and where are they hanging out?
To conclude this article I just want to mention that what you get out of marketing is what you put into it. Xero provides a great marketing opportunity that so many of you are not leveraging. Those who will survive the next few years and thrive in the changing landscape will be the ones who make the most of technological opportunities and marketing and sales platforms.
The choice is yours.
*please note all Xero statistics in this article have been taken from Xero research and are available on their website.
P.S. When you’re ready… here are 3 ways we can help you with marketing and growing your accounting practice:
1. Grab free copy of my book
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2. Take the test.
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3. Join the tribe and connect with firms who are growing too.
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