The Third Annual Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey conducted in 2016 revealed that attracting new clients is a key challenge facing accountants. In order to ensure the longevity of your accounting practice, attracting new clients is critical. This can potentially help increase revenue by increasing total billable hours. It is important to identify the type of clients you are targeting to ensure appropriate strategies are used. You may want to consider the following ideas to assist building relationships with new clients.
Generate More Referrals
As well as relying on traditional referral strategies, such as using your existing client base, you may want to consider generating expertise-based referrals made by an external individual or organization that is aware of your proficiency in a specific area of accounting, such as specialists working with mining organizations. Your accounting practice’s public brand and reputation as an expert can be enhanced and given credibility by presenting at industry conferences, writing articles for prominent journals and engaging with targeted groups via social media. For example, using the professional networking site LinkedIn can be effective for building working relationships with customers in a specific niche.
Increase Your Visibility by Building Relationships With Clients
Donating to or sponsoring a charity is an effective strategy for gaining visibility and free advertising. In addition to increasing your accounting practice’s exposure, it demonstrates you are prepared to give back to the community. For example, an accounting practice that targets nonprofit organizations may consider sponsoring a church-based charity to source potential clients. It is also essential that your accounting practice be easily found online.
Getting to the top of a Google search may seem like an expensive time-consuming task; however, undertaking initiatives such as listing your business on Google Maps and sharing links on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest can help with search engine optimization. Hosting complimentary educative seminars and/or webinars can be effective for increasing visibility by allowing you to showcase how your accounting practice’s services can provide the perfect solution for potential clients.
Build Your Network
Partnering with businesses that offer complementary services can be an effective way of expanding your client base and building new relationships with customers. For example, if your target market focuses on community businesses, you could initiate a referral agreement with a regional bank where you refer customers to the bank, and in turn, it refers customers to you. It is important to foster and build human relationships; face-to-face interaction allows you to capture a potential client’s attention that isn’t possible in a virtual environment. It is still one of the most effective ways to enhance a client relationship as it allows you to build trust and empathise with the client’s particular needs. Strategies could include taking a potential client to a sports game or out for lunch. Strong relationships with other businesses and influential individuals in the community may assist with creating referrals and attracting new clients.