To be successful in business you must choose your clients as much as they choose you. By extension of the Pareto principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, the majority of your business is going to come from your priority clients. Cultivating a good client base is key to maximising your time and your profit. Finding the right clients for your accounting business doesn’t have to be daunting. Try out these simple marketing tips and help your business soar.
Step 1: Identify your perfect client
First of all, consider what your perfect client looks like. Create a detailed buyer persona that covers everything from their annual salary to the industry they are in.
Other important factors to consider when looking for new clients include how easy-going or high maintenance they are, their connections to other influential potential clients, and the amount of positive exposure they could bring.
Look at your existing client base and decide which relationships you would like to build on. Your existing top clients are also an excellent reference point for what you might be looking for in future.
You might also consider preparing a ‘negative’ buyer persona so you have a clearer idea of what you are not looking for.
Step 2: Build a plan and implement it
When entrepreneurial accountant Matthew Snelleksz asked Brendt Munro, Director of Altor Capital, how he attracted such a quality client base, he replied, “the types of clients you are attracting directly relates to the type of marketing you are doing”.
There are a variety of tactics you can employ to adapt your marketing to target your ideal clients. They are limited only by the imagination. Below we explore only a few of them.
1. Targeted digital campaigns
With your buyer persona in mind, you can prepare a targeted Search Engine Marketing (SEM) campaign. Prepare an appropriate landing page on your website and use targeted keywords that you think will appeal to your ideal clients.
The advantage of SEM is that you can target very specific demographics in specific locations. Also, don’t underestimate the power of remarketing for customers who show interest in your website.
2. Asking for referrals
A satisfied client is the best salesperson. Don’t feel ashamed to ask your best clients for referrals. You could even ask for testimonials for your website, ask for endorsements or recommendations on LinkedIn. If you want to structure your referral rewards program you might consider offering discounts or benefits to clients as a result of a referral.
3. Upselling to existing top clients
Upselling to your existing clients is a lot simpler than spending the money looking for new clients to sell to. Pick your moment and take your time. You could offer them cost benefits, more accurate data, better service or improved productivity.
4. Raising your profile using seminars and speaking engagements
Think about a particularly memorable conferences or seminars you have attended. There was probably at least one speaker that resonated with you. Speaking is a powerful tool to building your brand and visibility.
5. Partner with other trusted professionals
Your clients may use other firms or services you don’t, from legal representation to technology. Think of other businesses you can partner with offering referrals. You may be able to receive mutual referrals.
Depending on how specialised your firm is, you might be able to collaborate with other accounting firms – so long as you are not in direct competition. For example you might offer bilateral referral to a business that might have robust company tax expertise.
Step 3: Maintain relationships with key clients
You’ve done all this work to find a quality client base, but the hard work is not over, it has only just started. Building long-term relationships with key clients requires patience and effort.
According to Forbes magazine, there are several key things to consider in order to develop ‘productive and enduring relationships’. The first being maintaining an open channel of communication. Update them on key projects, and let them know of any setbacks.
It also goes without saying that you should be honest at all times and punctual with all deadlines. As American business magnate Warren Buffet famously said, ‘it takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.’
Also, find ways to reward loyal clients and show your appreciation. This can be as simple as expressing gratitude for their business, or could even be exclusive discounts.
Hopefully, this article has spurred you to consider your client base, and what possible steps you can make to finding the right clients for your firm. What is your experience with your clients? Let us know in the comment section below.