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7 Key Ways to Get New Clients

Oct 29th 2014
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You've done it all: become involved in your community, networked with other professionals, joined the boards of nonprofits and made presentations at business associations. You've raised your visibility by communicating who you are, what you do and why you are good. In the meantime, you are learning three things about everyone you meet: who they are, what they do and where they work. This is great: you've set yourself up for the key channels for new clients. The next step is to learn the seven main sources for new clients.

  1. Business With People You Meet. They've filed their own taxes, seen the H & R Block "Get your billion back America" ads and realize they need a professional on their side. Maybe they are unhappy with their accountants. Perhaps their CPAs are retiring or moving to Florida. Rationale: Most people find good professionals and stick with them long term. Situations change. Most people prefer to do business with someone they already know.
  2. Referrals from Others. Even though they are satisfied with their CPA relationship, they know others who aren't. Perhaps their neighbor is a relocated senior executive. Friends are getting divorced and someone needs a new accountant. They know you socially and perceive you as competent. Rationale: The average American knows 600 people. (N.Y. Times) Often someone is in transition. They need guidance. It's human nature to want to help.
  3. Business from an Organization You Belong To. Plenty of CPAs provide accounting services for nonprofits. The organization may have its reasons for changing accountants. You might think this piece of business goes to an accountant serving on the board. You are wrong. Accredited nonprofits are usually prohibited from doing business with firms directly connected to their board members because of conflict of interest rules. Rationale: Several candidates need to be considered before making a change. Many organizations look favorably on professionals who are already members. They understand the mission. This should get you into the running.
  4. Referrals to Other Organizations. The leaders of your local nonprofits know their peers and the challenges facing them. Although your organization might be satisfied with its professional service providers, a fellow executive director might be looking for a new accounting firm. Someone at your organization can suggest your name. Rationale: Heads of different non-profits often collaborate and share advice.
  5. Life-Changing Events. Death and divorce involve money in motion. Often people discuss them informally with friends before telling their professional advisors. For example, an impending divorce might mean bankers must require both signatures on joint checks. Friends might mention difficulties and changes before they actually file the paperwork and make the news public. Rationale: Major life changes involving moving money often require an extra set of financial professionals who are either independent or will represent the interests of only one party.
  6. Speaking Engagements. Many people attach celebrity status to professionals who speak, making the assumption they are subject matter experts. An organization you work with might have a project requiring the support of the Chamber of Commerce or local service clubs. You might be an amateur actor and enjoy standing up and presenting. When you visit other organizations you are introduced as a representative of your organization and your professional credentials are announced in your biography. Rationale: You gain visibility in other parts of the community. You and your credentials are showcased. People are impressed and assume you are equally competent in your professional life.
  7. Building Off a Seminar. You might grow your business by presenting public seminars on tax law changes. These meetings often are held in a community center (possibly dingy) or a hotel function room (better). If you belong to a museum or cultural organization you might be surprised to learn they rent out space for functions, too. Rationale: Holding your seminar at your cultural organization piggybacks on their prestige. It's likely centrally located and has parking too!

Getting business through community involvement isn't all about being pushy and acting like a salesman. Raising your visibility and taking advantage of opportunities is your objective.

About the author:
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book "Captivating the Wealthy Investor" can be found on

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