Marketing to professionals such as accountants, attorneys and doctors is good because these relationships bring in other customers. Banks offering sometimes free business services conduct seminars and staff trade booths at other events catering to these professionals.
Reyno Giallongo said, “They’re a wonderful referral source. This is a market segment we (bankers) all like to call on. It’s a segment of the market place that is generally profitable,” according to the Fairfield County Business Journal. Giallongo is the senior vice president at First County Bank.
Banks also sponsor profession continuing education seminars. Although applicable to most banks, Robert Torro of Fairfield County Bank said, “We want to be the community bank for professionals.” Torro is the bank’s vice president for professional services.
Torro continued in the Fairfield County Business Journal, saying that accountants want close ties with the banks they deal with. They also tend to include the bank in a team relationship with customers. They develop long-term relationships with both customers and their banks.
“What the accountant wants is your cementing a relationship with them and with their client, and for them to fare well with their client, having the client think well of them (for recommending the bank), saying, ‘Look how I'm being treated,’” according to the Fairfield County Business Journal.
Businesses should understand their clients and their referrals. You should show competence. Sally Schmidt recommends clients or referrals should trust you and your ability to offer services. Using personal contact helps develop a good rapport with your clients or referrals. Treating a referral like a client is necessary. Providing value to your clients or referrals is your bottom line.
The Home Business Network also offers tips on marketing and finding new clients. They recommend attending conventions and local Chamber of Commerce meetings to create opportunities to meet accountants and other professionals. Cold calling is also a way to tell them what you can do for them.
Harnessing the true impact of referral marketing is something some business owners do not understand, according to Duct Tape Marketing. One thing to realize is that referrals are the same as transferring trust from one person to another. Referrals tend to spend more money than other clients and refer others of the same quality. Referrals are very cost effective, especially when comparing their cost to the cost of other advertising.
Duct Tape Marketing also offers ideas for obtaining referrals. Do not wait for people to offer them. You can pay $20 for each referral and advertise this in your marketing and sales campaigns. Give each client three business cards to make it easy for them to pass them on to future clients. It is important to follow-up with clients for referrals, using phone or mail. Build referrals into your marketing and sales plans and create a referral system to attract your target market.
Your mission is to fill every need your clients may have, according to BusinessKnowHow.com. It is also recommended you build your own strategic referral partnership network. When a client has a specific need, you can quickly refer members of your network to satisfy their requirement. By impressing your clients, you may never need to search for business again.
A marketing strategy should be devised to thank and track referral sources with an update feature to apprise them of additional issues, according to Sally Schmidt. You can conduct focus groups and place advertising in specialized publications targeting future clients. Becoming members of professional and trade organizations, as well as writing, speaking, serving on committees and generally participating in these organizations help facilitate regular contact with your target group.
Voice of the Editor
Which isn’t completely true. I mean, occasionally I drop by when I manage to sneak out of the nonstop frat party over at Going Concern, but I’m mostly a wallflower over there. I’m happy to say that I’ve been given express permission (or explicit orders, if you like) to wander over here to AccountingWEB more often.
Why is that, you might ask? My job is to replace the irreplaceable Gail Perry as Editor-in-Chief. What does that mean? I don’t really know! I think it’ll be fun getting a feel for things, throwing in my own thoughts here and there, and listening to the discussions you’re having about the accounting profession.