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Attracting Clients With Incremental Marketing

Jun 26

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26 June 2013  RssIcon

Do you ask prospective clients to go too far?

Must your new clients take a “leap of faith” when they engage you?

Or, do you gradually draw them closer using a series of pre-planned contacts designed to address their concerns and build their trust in you.

Too many service providers, including accountants, wait for potential clients to take that leap of faith. And in doing so, they force their would-be clients into making an all-or-nothing choice.

Prospects either say, “Yes, we want you” or they never contact you.

This is a high-risk strategy for both your prospect and yourself. It is risky for your prospect because they could feel as though they have to make a decision before they feel comfortable about working with you. They haven’t got to know you yet. Do they have all the information they need? How do they know if they do?

It’s a risky position for you because all your effort in attracting a prospect is hanging on this one all-or-nothing decision. Have you spoken with your prospect and impressed them with your insight and expertise? Have you had a chance to understand what your prospect really wants to achieve? Probably not.

A more effective way to attract clients is to create a path of contact points. At each point you give your prospect a reason to proceed to the next point.

I call this “Incremental Marketing”.

When you practice incremental marketing your focus should be on helping your prospects make incremental steps towards engaging you. At each step you build trust, enhance your credibility, and answer any concerns.

Get them to take the next step, not a leap of faith.

With this approach you’ll also have the opportunity to explain how you work with clients and suggest the best starting point for that particular prospect, such as – signing an agreement; conducting an evaluation or assessment; meeting with key stakeholders; making an appointment; or simply getting started with a relatively straightforward (and low risk from client perspective) matters such as tax work.

Incremental marketing is about creating a structure for prospects to make smaller, safer steps towards finalising a commitment with you.

The “path of contact points” will vary from business to business, depending upon on the services you provide, and the type of clients you are working with.


An Accountant may create this path:

  1. Referral from client or networking contact; or inbound contact from an article in the firms regular email newsletter.
  2. Respond immediately (same day) via email to let them know what you will be doing i.e. calling them the next day.
  3. Personal contact #1 - by phone; ask a few qualifying questions; request a personal meeting.
  4. Send additional written information to establish more trust via post or email (a report, profile, or link to helpful information on the firms website).
  5. Personal contact #2 - meeting with prospect. Discuss the clients business and/or personal requirements; suggest a suitable starting point - possibly a review to identify areas that need attention.
  6. Provide written results of the review, discuss in person or over the phone.
  7. Client agrees to commence full service.

A business management consultant may create this path:

  1. Article published in industry journal.
  2. Link to web site for more information.
  3. Contact page on web site (or a phone call/message from prospect).
  4. Personal contact #1 - initial discussion with prospect over telephone (or in person); and arrange appointment for detailed meeting.
  5. Send supporting documents (such as business profile or report).
  6. Personal contact #2 - meeting with prospect in person.
  7. After meeting provide service agreement, notice of engagement, or additional detail as required; suggest starting point.
  8. Client agrees to commence.
Remember, in most cases prospects are looking to minimise their risk in choosing a service provider. They want to feel secure with their decision. Incremental marketing helps you to work with human nature, instead of fighting against it.
Don’t force prospects to take a leap of faith to choose you, because usually they won’t.


Stuart Ayling

Business Development Studio

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Copyright ©2013 Business Development Studio

3 comment(s) so far...


Re: Attracting Clients With Incremental Marketing

Great article on some really interesting stuff. ive never heard of incremental marketing

By sophie on   16 July 2013

Re: Attracting Clients With Incremental Marketing

Thanks for your comment Sophie. I'm glad you found it helpful.

By Stuart Ayling on   17 July 2013

Re: Attracting Clients With Incremental Marketing

Its actually interesting and helpful.
I would try to apply it in my business.

By Muhammad Ilyas on   10 March 2015

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