Master motivator and $100 million salesman Sean McArdle kicked off the 21st Association for Accounting Marketing Summit here with a keynote about mastering the challenge of change.

“If I had known accounting marketers were this good looking I would have changed careers years ago,” he joked to the audience.

More than 400 attendees are here in the nation’s capital to glean marketing strategies and network with others who are legitimizing the marketing efforts of their firms. McArdle spent more than an hour offering inspiration on how to lead change when change is difficult.

“Is there anybody here who doesn’t feel some trepidation?” he asked. “How do you master the challenge of change? You can suffer change, you can enjoy change, you can witness change, or you can cause change. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore change and expect to prosper.”

McArdle, who is a former faculty member of the American Management Association, talked about what makes people resistant to change and offered reasons why they don’t change. Either they don’t have the chance because of systemic problems, they have a motivation problem, they don’t know how to change, or they aren't able to change.

“It takes seven to 10 meaningful communications to move a stranger from hello to yes,” he said. “Most firms only do three to four things and then they give up on the marketing process. If you plan to do 10 things in advance, you’ll close twice as many deals.”

He named three types of fundamental motivators: power orientation, or those who move toward winning and defeating others and move away from personal defeat; affiliation orientation, or those who move toward appreciation and applause, and away from letting people down; and achievement orientation, or those who move toward goal attainment and away from failure.

The key to meeting your potential is your willingness to change, McArdle noted. He said firms looking to retain clients should hold seminars, to “get the human beings into the seats,” and once they are there, “you want to make love to them so to speak.”

“You need to give them new valuable information that they can take back and make them look good,” he said. “They need to be visited by someone who is important in your firm three times a year.”

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