How To Gain Referrals From Clients
While there are countless ways to gain new clients, few methods can match the benefits of acquiring new clients through word-of-mouth referrals.
Client-firm relationships are built on trust. As an accountant, you trust your clients will provide what you need promptly so you can meet deadlines. Similarly, your clients trust you will be able to communicate with them regularly, meet deadlines and establish reasonable expectations. By building that relationship of trust, your happy clients will provide you with a steady stream of new clients who are engaging your accounting practice with the expectation that they will have a fruitful relationship with you.
Referred clients have a degree of confidence that other potential clients do not have, and they are more likely to stay with you for years and sometimes even suggest you to their friends. Acquiring referrals is critical if you want to establish a flourishing accounting practice in the long run, and the sooner you start, the better. Here are some tried-and-true methods for acquiring new referral clients.
- Keep your internal communications in sync.
When your accounting practice is small, you may rely on memory to remember who to call and when, but as your practice grows, this becomes untenable. Far too many clients are seeking specialized assistance, each with distinct and changing needs.
The first step toward a synchronized system is a customer relationship management platform. You may keep track of client data and information in a central location that your entire team can access.
Then, you should choose a commercial VoIP solution. Rather than having messages and data strewn over your email, phone, and other devices, you can save it all in one place. Integrate your communication software with your CRM to ensure that all your sales, marketing, and work teams are on the same page.
This organization degree is essential in ensuring your firm operates smoothly. One of the quickest ways to deteriorate relationships with your clients is through disorganization. You spend a lot of time communicating with your clients and staff. Centralizing that information makes it easier for you or your team to recall what was noted during future client engagements. That will help your clients feel less like a number and more like a valued members of your accounting practice’s operations.
- Pay attention to your clients’ needs.
Finances may be about numbers, figures, and projections, but each client approaches your practice from an emotional perspective. To them, they’re coming to you with their hopes, dreams, or even fears. They want to save more money for retirement to live a happy, post-career life. They want to avoid losing their business due to improper bookkeeping, so they come to you for help. These are just a few examples of clients' emotional perspectives approaching your practice.
Exploring the emotional aspects of their financial demands fosters trust, a stronger working relationship, and more recommendations.
If you generally stick to business, don't be hesitant to delve into personal matters. Learn about your clients' families, personal lives, and financial goals, and take those into account while assisting them with their finances. You'll have a far better notion of how to help them after you understand what they wish to change in their lives.
- Set appropriate expectations
If you’re just starting your accounting practice, it’s easy to focus all your attention on one or a few clients. After all, there are only a few of them, so their demands fit into your schedule. But as your practice grows, you need to take a step back and evaluate your expectations with your clients.
That is to say, be reasonable when you communicate with them and be transparent about when you can meet deadlines. Clients value honesty, and setting deadlines that fit within your schedule shows that you care about your clients' needs without sacrificing their trust.
Missing deadlines because you were too advantageous regarding your ability to complete projects within tight windows only serves to deteriorate your clients’ trust in you. Instead, by ensuring you can complete work within an appropriate time frame, your clients will trust you further, and that trust could then be converted to new referrals.
- Leverage your existing services
You have existing clients who regularly come to you for help with their financial needs. And just like a mechanic may spot a future issue with your car or a doctor may diagnose a problem before it becomes urgent, you too should use your leverage your experience with your clients.
Start taking notes on follow-up conversations with your clients and log that into your CRM for future reference. By compiling that information, you may identify potential areas of need from your clients before they come to you for that help. An example could be identity theft or even leveraging your tax and bookkeeping services into financial planning such as retirement.
By thinking of the future and predicting your clients’ needs, not only can you add another set of services they’re using you for, but they may convert that helpful guidance into referrals to their friends and family.
How Taxfyle can help
Finding clients is a challenging aspect of running an accounting firm. With Taxfyle, we can make that process a little easier. By becoming a Taxfyle Pro, you can gain access to a constant stream of clients as a freelancer. We're an on-demand platform that links customers and businesses needing assistance with tax returns and forms with tax experts like you. Working with us means interacting with thousands of people who require tax preparation assistance. Through the platform, job orders are quickly directed to you.
Taxfyle was founded by CPAs to help CPAs increase their earning potential at their leisure. Today, thousands of Pros are picking up work from individuals and firms across the U.S. Working with us means you can still keep your full-time job and benefits while taking home more money.