The best place to find new clients is to look at your existing clients … for three reasons.
First, in a comprehensive CPA/accounting and advisory firm, there is typically always something else you could be doing for those clients. Second, existing clients are great referral sources, and third, your best clients are the template for the new clients you want to obtain.
What about the other two ways to find new clients? Look on the web and then do it the old-fashioned way: Shake a few hands.
1. Cross selling
In the first existing client scenario, this is cross serving at its best. We know all of the services our firm offers, but that doesn’t necessarily mean our clients know all of these services. Tell them. Often, clients are looking for exactly a service we can provide, but end up buying it from another firm because they didn’t know we offered it. Pipeline sessions, niche meetings, and firm summits are great opportunities to share this information.
2. Clients as referrals
Want new clients? Ask your existing clients if they are willing to introduce you to a colleague who could also benefit from the same tools and services. This is a great exercise. If they say yes, the cold call is now very warm. If they say no, then it’s time to find out why and/or enhance your service level so that they do become raving fans. Many accountants may be hesitant to ask for referrals, but remember, this works both ways. Chances are, your clients want referrals just as much as you do, so you can both help each other by offering and receiving referrals for new business.
3. The template
On a blank sheet of paper, write down all of the best attributes of your best clients. This can be size, type, services purchased, the people, culture, something else, or some combination. Whatever recipe makes your best clients, attempt to duplicate it. It’s that simple.
Beyond your existing clients: The Web and the handshake
As more and more outsourced accounting and CFO services move to the cloud, it makes sense that marketing and prospecting also have moved from traditional sources to online sources. Your website has to be set up for Search Engine Optimization, social media efforts must be frequent and targeted, and you should be blogging. Then, you must analyze all of these efforts. Your next clients are going to find you, so make sure you make it easy for them. In fact, a near $100,000 client found us just this way. If you are not digitally savvy, find someone who is to help you out.
4. The web
Staying on top of digital marketing and communication is so important in our technological society. Start by getting a handle on optimizing your website, which can be as easy as using relevant keywords you specialize in and that you believe your audience will be searching for.
Social media channels are another great way to get in front of your target audience, but make your involvement strategic. It’s better to be active and engaging the right people on a couple of platforms than being a jack of all trades and master of none. Start with what you can handle and expand strategically if resources allow it.
Blogging can be another great resource for your clients and prospects. Putting out timely, relevant and informative content positions you as a thought leader in your industry. In fact, you’ll be the first one they turn to for advice. Sharing your keyword-rich blogs on social media is a great way to tie together all of your digital efforts. After sharing this great content, revise your strategy based on what people enjoyed and engaged with, as well as what they didn’t.
5. The handshake
From trade associations, to charity boards, to coaching your child’s soccer team, you never know where your next client will come from. Forming these relationships is an integral part in starting the conversation. Although you probably won’t gain a new client immediately from going to one of your children’s soccer games, you may gain a trusted friendship and be the first one they call if, and when, your product or service meets their needs.
Bottom line: Whether you use any or all of these five tips, come up with a plan and change portions of the plan based on what’s working and what’s not working. Be flexible and nimble, and you’re sure to find new clients.