As an accountant, your clients are your lifeblood. While some firms chase after the “big fish,” many realize they can do quite well by dealing primarily with small, local businesses.
This leads to one very important question: how do you convince a small business you are the right accountant or firm to manage their finances?
From payroll to managing quarterly tax payments, you understand the responsibility associated with taking on a new client. However, proving to a small business that you are the right person for them is easier said than done.
You can implement a variety of sales and marketing strategies in an attempt to boost business. Here are five ways to improve your chance of success:
1. Be clear in regards to what you provide clients. This is important for two reasons:
- It shows your prospect exactly what you can do for them.
- It helps you avoid trouble down the road.
It is easy to believe that all accounting firms are relatively similar, but this isn’t always true. You may soon find that you provide a greater variety of services than most of your local competitors.
2. Discuss how you are unique. There has to be something you do better than others. There has to be a reason why your current clients selected your service over the competition. Here are some basic points to consider:
- Your experience
- Your client list
- Your customer service
- Your availability
- Your service offerings
By showing how you are unique, you can quickly give yourself a leg up on the competition.
3. Show your experience with similar companies. Let’s face it: most individuals and businesses don’t want to be the first to try something new. This is why you should play up your experience with similar companies.
Do you provide accounting services for companies in your prospect’s industry? Let it be known. Have you worked with some of your prospect’s partners in the past? Again, bring this to the forefront. There is nothing more important than the ability to show your experience.
4. Provide references. There is a big difference between saying what you can do for a small business and proving what you have done for others.
This goes along with point #3 above. In addition to discussing your experience with similar companies, take your approach one step further. Ask your current clients if they can provide you with a letter of reference. Even better, ask if your prospects can contact them by phone for more information.
Often times, a reference is all it takes to seal the deal.
5. Ask for referrals. Are you well connected within your local small business community? If so, it is safe to assume you already have a list of clients who enjoy your service. Rather than pound the pavement in search for new business, ask your current clients if they can refer you to others. The more people who pass your name along the more business you will generate. Remember, your clients are your best sales people.
It doesn’t matter if you are an individual accountant or own a firm with employees, nothing changes the fact that you want to bring fresh clients on board as often as possible. The five tips above can help you reach your growth-related goals.