If you are an Accounting professional, it's likely you've dealt with this scenario before in your business. You spend a lot of time educating yourself on accounting best-practices in order to provide the best possible service for your clients. But, you struggle with consistently finding new, profitable clients that allow you to make ends meet at the end of the month.
It's a common situation. As Michael E. Gerber said in his best-selling book “The E-myth Revisited”, business owners can often be guilty of working too much IN the business and not enough time ON the business. And, this is never more true than for CPA's who strive to provide an efficient, affordable service to their clients, yet struggle to grow their own profits.
In this interview, I speak with Bob Wang who is the founder of Legacy Advantage, a bookkeeping service company based in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Bob had tried other marketing efforts to generate leads for his business. But, he was often frustrated with the results he was getting from networking, cold calling and other traditional methods as they are both expensive and time consuming.
Once he started using LinkedIn, he was able to consistently fill his sales pipeline with QUALIFIED prospects that fit his business model and industry focus. And, the end result is Bob now never has to worry about where his next client will come from.
There are a number of tips and resources discussed in this interview below that will help you learn how this unique step-by-step process can work for your accounting business.
LinkedIn Case Study Interview With Bob Wang
[TREVOR]: Hey it’s Trevor Turnbull here, Founder of 30 Day Sales Machine. And, I’ve got Bob Wang with me, he is the founder, owner, the guy that does the work and manages the team over at Legacy Bookkeeping. Bob, thanks very much for doing this call with me.
[BOB]: Your welcome….glad to be here.
[TREVOR]: Just so everyone knows why I asked Bob to do this call. He’s seen some great success running a LinkedIn Campaign following our process with the 30 Day Sales Machine. So, I wanted to discuss it with him and talk about the progress he made to get to the point where he actually landed a client. How long it took, some of the steps he took along the way to provide you with some inspiration on what you could do with your business. As well as the steps that he took to ultimately get there. So, let’s maybe start with you telling everyone about your business.
[BOB]: I used to work at a big firm called KPMG and noticed that people had a hard time finding good bookkeepers. So, I started Legacy Advantage (that’s the full name of our company), where we really just focus on the bookkeeping piece. And, we have two industry focuses. One is construction and one is non-profits. We also dabble in tech as well, but mainly the two industry focuses.
[TREVOR]: So, how were you going about generating leads in the past? Were you attending networking events and other traditional marketing efforts? Maybe just give us an outline on what you were doing, what was working, what was frustrating?
[BOB]: In the beginning, it was a lot of networking, going to events, joining networking groups. And, that’s been really great, but we wanted to take our sales to the next level and really explore what options are out there. And, I have a marketing team that revamped our website, started some SEO and we have generated some leads. But, not the ideal leads that I was looking for. I was told to just sit back and be patient with these mediums, which is fair enough, but I wanted to keep trying new things and leave no stone unturned.
[TREVOR]: So, proactively building your leads list. I know a lot of our members in our program, that’s the reason why they are there is because they don’t want to wait for the leads to come to them, they want to combine that with active outreach. And, of course, we’ll talk about how you did that in your campaign. So, let’s get into that here. What was the first step that you took to get everything in line, it was your LinkedIn profile, correct?
[BOB]: Ya, I think even before that, I spoke with Jason (your partner) and he did a great job in helping me identify the best target markets to go after. Knowing that I two (non-profit & construction) helped me get started in that step. But, building out my LinkedIn profile was a very insightful exercise. Knowing how many characters my Headline should be and what should be where. We decided that we would focus on the construction piece first. So, we outlined how to speak to those people first. And, if you look at my profile right now, you’ll see that I can save construction companies up to 50% on their bookkeeping fees. He helped me with the wording to put a tangible number on that “benefit statement” that would attract people’s attention. So that was very helpful.
[TREVOR]: You bring up a great point actually because I find many of our members that start our program are still using their “title” and “company” in their headline which as you know, is not as effective as what you did which is addressing a pain point or a solution you can provide your ideal client. And, of course the reason that is important is because the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section is one of the main areas that people check out on LinkedIn because it is unique….you can see who’s “checking you out”. And, why not take advantage of that real estate. So obviously, that was some good advice you got from Jason to optimize that area. You also bring up a good point as well to do a bit of discovery before you start your profile optimization since you need to know who you are targeting before you start customizing your profile. And, once you do that, you can dig in and refine your searches and setup your “saved searches”. So, give everyone an idea of who that target audience was? Were they CEO types? Were they in specific locations? What kind of targeting did you do?
[BOB]: So, our main target audience is construction and trades just because we can add tremendous value to those types of clients. We bring in a lot of technology and cost savings and ultimately add value to them. Unfortunately, not a lot of construction and trades people are on LinkedIn. And, so, Jason had a really great idea to have a main campaign and a sub-campaign. So, we started by identifying all tradespeople in a radius of 25 miles from our office. And, that was a strategic reason because I want to be able to see my clients on a regular basis. But, there was only about 1000 prospects or so, which wasn’t enough to effectively run a Linkedin campaign. So, we looked up all the non-profits within a 25 mile radius and that gave us enough. So then we broke it up into 7 different saved searches that we could run each day.
[TREVOR]: So, you are using the automation tools to view those profiles, create some awareness. Hopefully those people are looking back at you headline, something captures their attention. Again, that’s why you’re using that very benefit based statement in your headline. So, you were going after 2 separate target audiences which is a good idea if you are the type of business that can work with multiple industries. And, you brought up a good point, I know we’ve experienced this in the past as well targeting the construction industry that those people that run construction companies are very much blue collar, getting their hands dirty. They are in the field and not necessarily in the office. Now on the other side, we’ve found that people in the IT or SaaS space are at their computers a lot. And, you just never know without testing. But, it was a good idea to expand your opportunities by going after both at the same time. So, with regards to your messaging, were you actively reaching out to those people, trying to get connected and then following up? Maybe let everyone know how you created the sequence of that messaging strategy.
[BOB]: So, we started with the invite to connect. And, it goes something like “Hi, I’m looking to connect with more people in the construction industry. Would you be open to connecting on LinkedIn?” And, once they accepted, my team (or your team) would send a response back to say “Thanks for connecting. I do a lot of bookkeeping for construction trades and I noticed that there are two pain points. One is that it is a very manual process and the other is cost. So, if you are struggling with those things, I’d like to know. Otherwise, I’d like to know how satisfied you are with your current bookkeeping process?”.
[TREVOR]: So, really just opening up the conversation by addressing a pain point to get them to respond. That was your first intent. And, you brought up the point too of our team doing some of that work for you. We had some of our virtual assistants doing the work on Bob’s campaign. So, Bob is a member of our 30 Day Sales Machine program, but he also upgraded to work with some of our virtual assistants. We have a whole trained team that specializes in what you need to do to execute a campaign. From viewing profiles to sending connection requests to monitoring responses and sending those follow up messages. A lot of the work was taken off your plate. How much time have do you put into your Linkedin Campaign every day?
[BOB]: 5 to 10 minutes every day.
[TREVOR]: And, a little bit more work to upfront to get everything setup obviously.
[BOB]: Ya, for sure, a few Skype calls with Jason and I had to do some soul searching and writing up those benefit statements that I could use on my profile. But, other than that, your team has done a great job of viewing and responding to inquiries. And, I would keep an eye on the responses as they came in and would jump in when necessary. But, it took the majority of the work off my plate.
[TREVOR]: So, ya, everything is tracked along the way. You are really just jumping in when the opportunities have got to the point where they’ve shown some interest which makes it worth your time to provide a customized response to line up a meeting.
[BOB]: I’m glad you brought up that point. Jason asked me to what extent I wanted the virtual assistant team to take care of my LInkedIn Campaign. And, I mentioned that I didn’t really have an canned response to the question I was asking these prospects. I was asking about their pain points and I didn’t know what type of response they would give me. So, I didn’t know at first what kind of scripted response I could give a virtual assistant (if at all). So, I mentioned to him that I would handle those message responses and so far so good.
[TREVOR]: Ya, and I think you brought up a good point there too regarding letting your LinkedIn Campaign play out and seeing what kind of responses you get and then you can adjust along the way. It’s likely you’ll get the same response come in multiple times and then at that point you might be able to script a response and hand it off to the virtual assistants. And, as those common questions come in, you can take even more work off of your plate and only jump in when you can justify taking your time to provide a custom response. Now, let’s talk about results as that’s what everyone always wants to know. So, what transpired here, you started your LinkedIn campaign a couple of months ago and within a couple of weeks you started to get some tangible results so maybe speak about what you saw happening over that time period.
[BOB]: There were quite a few responses saying “I am struggling with those things” and “what can you do to help?”. Not every single one led to an opportunity. Luck played a huge part of it. But, what is luck, it’s opportunity and preparedness. Had I not done this campaign I would not have found these opportunities. There was a result in the sub-campaign where I focused on the non-profits. Usually non-profits suffer from a very manual system and employee turnover because it’s really tough to keep good bookkeepers on your staff. And, the gentleman said “yes, our charity is struggling with bookkeeping and can we meet?”. So, I said, “yes, absolutely, let’s grab coffee”. So, he introduce me to the Managing Director. We met and it was a great fit. I was able to solve their pain points. And, it turned out to be a great contract for us doing the bookkeeping for two related entities and a contract for around $2,000 per month. So, your program paid for itself very quickly.
[TREVOR]: Awesome, that’s great to hear! And, of course, that’s always what people want to know when they start a training program like 30 Day Sales Machine which is how much work is it going to be and what kind of results can I expect? Now, let me be transparent and say that we don’t necessarily know what those opportunities are going to be and how quickly they will convert, but I think your particular case is a great example of taking time to really frame your business, your message and your value proposition and all of the pieces that make up WHY a prospect would potential want to connect with you. and putting the system in place so you can create those opportunities every day. You can warm up that lead list. I know one of the stats that I see a lot today is that people do their research nowadays. They are researching online, they are finding out about providers and many times they don’t even know your business exists yet. So, by you doing some of that preliminary work to introduce yourself and invite them to dive around and check out your website, it’s all part of the process. It’s never one particular thing, it’s about being consistent. And, really nailing your messaging and I think that’s what you’ve done a great job of and I want to encourage everyone watching this to take some time to get your messaging down, get your target audience dialed in and you could be seeing similar results in your business where you can land a new client in a couple of weeks that will pay for this program 10 fold in a very short time period. Any other final words that you’d want to say to people watching this Bob if they are on the fence wondering if this will work for their business as well as the process and the time involved?
[BOB]: I want to echo your point in that it’s probably not just one thing. For example, my teams SEO work probably helped the LinkedIn research. And, had I not done a LinkedIn campaign, I would not have that connection. Also, I think I was really lucky in getting results so quickly because I was skeptical at the beginning. But, your results may come in 1 month, 2 months, 3 months. And, your deal may be worth $10,000, $20,000, $50,000. Really, it’s an investment and if you stick to it, I think it will work.
[TREVOR]: Thank you that, I think it’s a great way to put it. It is an investment to build a sustainable, long term sales pipeline that will reap rewards in the long term as well as the short term in some cases. It’s great to hear about your quick success and I have no doubt we’ll talk to you again when we follow up and find out about more deals you’ve closed because you are going to be doing this consistently month over month. So, for anyone watching this that is interested, go to 30DaySalesMachine.com and there is a bunch of information on that page about what’s all include in the program including all of the training videos, resources, the support systems that we offer through our Facebook & LinkedIn groups, we have monthly Mentoring Sessions, we have quarterly Challenges for our members as well that will keep you accountable and motivated. We are really all about getting you results and providing your the support that you need so you don’t feel frustrated along the way like a lot of online training programs might make you feel. That’s not us, we are here to help you and we want to get you the results that you deserve. So, thanks very much for doing this Bob, I appreciate it.
[BOB]: Your welcome, see you later.
Have you had similar success in using LinkedIn to grow your accounting practice? Or, are you struggling to land new clients? Leave a comment below to let me know.