When it comes to finding clients, many accounting professionals would simply prefer they walked through the door. If they need to do something to make this happen, they prefer it be as painless as possible.
Buy a Practice: This might sound extreme and expensive, but it delivers a ready-built clientele base. Within your professional association and circle of business contacts, discretely let people know you would be interested in growing through acquisition. Business owners do it all the time. Buying a company isn’t a transaction, it’s a transition. The two businesses join, often keeping both names. The owner of the acquired firm stays on, introducing their clients. They gradually retire.
Speak to Groups: You belong to a service organization. Each business category has a local professional representing it. There’s a speaker at almost every meeting. When was the last time you spoke? There are new tax laws out there. Business owners and professionals will start to feel the impact when they file their taxes in 2019. Could you put the changes into simple language during a 15-minute talk? The answer is simple: Yes. Now, here’s the opportunity: Many of those professionals and business owners belong to the local chapter of their trade organization. Let them know you would be glad to deliver the same talk for their group. For more information on this topic, click here.
Visit Clients at Their Offices: During the average workday, you probably don’t get out much. Clients come to you, or they submit paperwork online. Let’s suppose you have customers who work for a big local corporation. You do their personal taxes and are on friendly terms with them. You give periodic advice. Maybe your value-added services include investment portfolio guidance. Suggest the next meeting be held at their office. Make it more convenient for them. They will think it's pretty impressive their accountant comes to them! They may also share this information, introducing you to the other executives. You will be accepted as a professional, a resource. A couple will have questions. You’ve got your foot in the door.
Participate in a Co-Branded Seminar: You know one or two financial advisors or planners with high ethical standards. You have a referral relationship. Wouldn’t it be great to do a seminar together? They invite their clients, you invite yours, and costs are split. Concerned words like “seminar” might scare people away? A financial advisor in the Midwest called them “briefings” instead. You will likely be in demand as an accounting professional who can put the tax law changes into simple language. You bring incredible value because most financial services firms prohibit advisors from giving tax advice. Some of their clients now become yours, and vice versa.
Market to People with a Problem: You are advertising to find these people. They have dug themselves into a hole and need help getting out. Many times, they don’t have a good accountant and are motivated to find a solution quickly. This is where you come in. You might start with banner ad on the Internet and progress to radio or TV advertising. People will start to seek you out.
What do these ideas have in common? Well, you aren’t cold calling anyone. You aren’t asking for referrals. You aren’t doing mass mailings. You are maintaining your professional demeanor. Which one might work best for you?
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, Captivating the Wealthy Investor, can be found on Amazon.com.