7 Biggest Mistakes Accountants Make When Asking for Referrals

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Everyone wants their practice to grow, but this often involves marketing which is a long-term strategy that costs money. 

McDonalds spent $1.46 billion in advertising in 2016. Their aim was to get individuals into one of their 14,000 US stores, then spend an average of $4.72 per person. 

Bottom line: Seeking referrals from current clients is a lot cheaper. But how do you do that without making some serious mistakes?

7 Biggest Mistakes

1. Clients know, so I don’t need to ask -- Accountants are considered members of the professional classes and soliciting referrals is often seen as a sign of desperation, because business isn’t doing that well.  They rationalize clients know you do a fine job.  If they come across someone needing a similar service, they will volunteer my name.  This way, I’m accepting clients if they come to me, but not lowering myself to actually asking.

Better:  Politely ask.  Everyone should have the opportunity to say no.

2. Assuming clients know what you do for them – You and your client have a great relationship.  You understand their specific industry. You keep current on regulations and trends.  You remind them to top up their retirement accounts. You’ve discussed succession planning.  However, from the client’s point of view:  “She does my taxes.”  Put another way, it’s amazing the amount of work it takes to make something looks effortless.  (Watch pro golf or the Olympics.)

Better:  Make it a point to remind every client what you do for them.  Adding in additional details about services they might use is a good idea too.

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About Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders

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.


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