The fastest way to accelerate revenues? Just accelerate referrals! | AccountingWEB

The fastest way to accelerate revenues? Just accelerate referrals!

By Barbara Bix -

Let me ask you a question. Are you missing out on business opportunities because prospective clients either don’t know about all of your services—or don’t fully recognize the value that you could deliver to their businesses?

Would these companies be more likely to buy if they knew how others have benefited from your services? If so, maybe it’s time to tell them.

Better yet, let your current clients do the talking. But, make it easy for them to share their experiences with a wide audience—rather than just telling those they know who are in similar circumstances.

Launch a customer case study program.

Customer case studies showcase successes

A customer case study program showcases the successes that current clients have achieved as a result of engaging your firm. Whereas your service descriptions merely describe what you do and how you do it; your client success stories bring your services to life. Each paints a picture of the situations your clients typically face, the obstacles they need to overcome, and the dramatic impact that using your services has had on their companies’ overall success.

Everyone loves a good story

Effective case studies engage prospective clients by telling a story that captures their attention—because it’s also their story. These narratives begin with a description of your client’s business. Next, they describe the crisis that caused that client to seek out your services.

Then, customer case studies detail exactly how your firm helped the company overcome the obstacles standing in the way of their success. This helps your readers easily visualize how you would help them address their own situations. Finally, the most effective client case studies drive home the value that your firm delivers by translating the technical merits of your services into dollars and cents.

Client case studies shorten the sales cycle

Well-written success stories are invaluable marketing tools at almost every stage of the sales cycle. Deploy them in on your website, as sales collateral in pocket folders, and as featured articles in your monthly newsletter to accelerate your clients' buying process .

Early on, case studies help prospective buyers recognize their need for your services by describing your client’s dilemma in a way that is painfully familiar to them. Later in the sales cycle, these same case studies create a sense of urgency about buying because everyone wants to “keep up with the Jones”.

Client success stories also help your organization raise awareness of your services. They can elevate your company above the competition by associating your brand with the better known brands of some of your high profile clients.

Customer case studies also attract media attention because they are relatively easy to turn into meaty articles. Reporters especially like the fact that you have already identified sources willing to speak on the record.

Client success stories attract web traffic because they are rich with the keywords that your most promising prospects enter when searching for solutions like yours. Placed in newsletters—or featured in your practice’s blog—client success stories can help keep your practice top of mind with prospective clients.

Finally, client success stories remove obstacles to the sale. They build confidence that your solutions will achieve the promised results. Moreover, by quantifying the value that your clients received, client success stories help decision makers justify an investment in your services.

Client case studies keep on giving

There’s no doubt that client success stories are versatile sales tools. Yet, many of our clients hesitate to launch customer case studies programs because they worry about imposing on their best clients.

To their delight, however, our clients often discover that their clients are happy to discuss their experiences and look forward to being featured in an article that positions them as leaders in their industry.

Many also find that that the interview itself strengthens the relationship. It turns out that just reflecting upon the benefits they derived from working with our clients, reinforces our clients’ clients’ perception of the value they received. As for our clients, they benefit from gaining a deeper understanding of their clients’ requirements and often uncover other opportunities to serve them.

You can never have too many client success stories

Once they realize all the benefits of doing client case studies, many of our clients ask all their clients to collaborate on customer case studies. Their goal is to get at least one success story for every service they provide in each industry they serve—since all their clients continue to believe their needs are unique.

So, here’s another question. Shouldn’t you start leveraging your clients’ satisfaction to cross-sell your business to existing clients and attract new business?

This blog

by Barbara Bix - In tough economic times, more and more clients are looking to their accountants to help them improve the bottom line. Often, the best way to do that is to start with the top line-since one can only decrease expenses so far. This blog discusses concrete actions you and your business-to-business clients can use to accelerate revenues.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.


Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.


Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.


Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".


William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.


Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (, a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.


Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.


Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website:
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.


The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.


FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.


Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.


Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.


AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.