If you’re like a lot of small-practice accountants, you may love the work you do but dread the idea of marketing or selling your services. So how can you ensure your pipeline is strong and your business remains vital enough that you can keep doing what you love?
We spoke to three accountants who run small practices for their insight on getting new clients. Collectively, here’s what they recommend:
1. Build Relationships
We all know intuitively that we prefer to do business with people we know, like, and trust, and that we’re happy to do favors for the people we care about. Bernadette L. Harris, a Tax and Forensic Accountant with By The Book Accounting, recommends building strong relationships, and that accountants be “genuinely interested in [clients’] success.” She notes that developing this interest helps both win new clients and retain existing ones.
This strategy isn’t exactly a secret (after all, the customer relationship management software is a $31 billion industry). But don’t think you have to invest in a digital CRM to connect with clients. As Harris notes, simply asking questions about your customers’ lives and professional goals will go a long way.
When you ask questions, make sure you actually listen to how your clients (and potential clients) answer. Harris emphasizes the importance of listening, both to what a prospect says and to what they don’t say. “You have an opportunity to see if they have any misconceptions, and you can dispel those,” she notes.
She added that in a recent conversation, she discovered that a potential client thought having an accountant meant automatically having to pay on a monthly basis, a misconception she was able to correct. Listening lets you understand exactly why a prospect is hesitating and therefore gives you a better chance to close the sale – if it’s a good match.