What does it take to become a black belt in the martial arts? Having reached this level of success in my martial art of choice, Tang Soo Do, many years ago—I can speak from experience. First you have to really want it. Half measures get you nowhere. If you’re not totally committed to the goal there’s no way you’ll push through years of grueling workouts and the bumps, bruises and pulled muscles that you’ll along the way. Next you have to practice and practice often. I received my black belt after only two years of training which is pretty quick by most standards. This is because I went to class diligently four to five nights per week. When I trained, I trained hard. I added a dojang, Korean for training hall, in my basement so I could train at home on days where I couldn’t make it to class.
I had excellent Korean masters who taught me not just about martial arts but about honor and commitment, to honor your parents and your country and to choose with sense and honor when and where the use of martial arts is appropriate. I went to the best because I wanted to be the best possible martial artist I could become. To continue to challenge myself I entered tournaments to compete against others. I earned many first, second and third place trophies in point sparring and forms. This helped me improve my skills and provided a great sense of accomplishment.
So what does all this have to do with marketing? If you want a black belt in marketing it’s no different from my experience with the martial arts. You need to commit to being the best. You need to constantly train yourself by attending classes, reading books, finding masters to emulate and teach you and studying everything about sales and marketing in the accounting profession. You need to go on as many presentations as you can and constantly refine your skills. You must practice your pitch until you could recite it backwards. You need to know how to handle client objections and answer their questions to demonstrate your knowledge without giving away too much free information. You have to commit to working with your appointment setters to maintain peak performance since high quality high and volume appointments are the life blood of the NCI marketing program. You have to work on being confident and assertive when it comes to asking for a commitment from a prospective client and be prepared to handle the many delaying tactics people employ to avoid making a firm decision. In short, if you do all of the above consistently and diligently, you will be on your way to reaching black belt status as a marketer and salesperson for your business.
Next month we’ll go into more detail and get you on your way from black belt to grand master!
Bruce J. Clark, CEO Author, NCI Effect, Explosive Client Growth Plan for Accountants and CPAs; Beyond The NCI Effect, Sales Strategies That Matter to Grow an Accounting Practice www.ncieffect.com
P.S. NCI is starting a black belt marketers program. More details will be forthcoming in our next issue so stay tuned for details on how you can join. Now get down and give me 50 knuckle push-ups, grasshopper!