Visit the Web sites of several software resellers and traditional CPA firms and one key difference emerges very quickly, beyond the fact that the former sell goods and services and the latter primarily market services.
Even the language is different. Both sites usually have a section labeled “Partners.” To most resellers, Partners are the vendors who provide complementary services, including other software packages, hardware, and networking to enable their software applications to work. The partner section for most CPA firms lists the business’ owners, often with pictures of the partners, sometimes senior staff, and often providing a brief bio, credentials, area of specialization, office location, telephone number, and email. At best many reseller sites feature a single contact such as firstname.lastname@example.org or a form for submitting requests to an unseen Webmaster or sales. Web sites for reselling pages often lack addresses. Those of accounting firms rarely do.
A case can be made that both parties can learn from each other. But in terms of giving a name and a face to the services, most CPA firms have it all over the reseller companies.
True, some CPA sites have so many names and faces that it can get in the way of the message. But anyone visiting these sites can associate a name with a service and pick up the telephone and feel comfortable in asking for a specific individual.
This difference probably reflects the nature of the business of both resellers and firms. Accounting firms have to sell their people. Reselling firms should, because the thing that differentiates one Microsoft or Best reseller from another Microsoft or Best reseller pushing the same products is the people. Both have access to the same basic product, add-ons, support from the parent, and often the same pricing. It is the people at the local level who deliver the service that make all the difference.
In both businesses, referrals play a major role in providing new leads. Leads come from people and making prospects comfortable is a first step in getting them to buy. It’s about making it easier for the prospect.
What better way to make prospects feel they know a reselling firm, than to provide a face? What better way to remove the discomfort that most people feel in making a buying decision?
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