Obtaining new clients is a priority for 41% of accounting firms surveyed in our recent Accounting Firm Benchmarking Study .
But how to achieve this in an increasingly competitive market?
Find out below 5 proven ways to make your practice more visible in the market and attract the clients you need.
1. Target your ideal customer
At the company level, the Pareto principle applies: 20% of your customers must represent 80% of your turnover . That’s why it’s important to focus your efforts on the most profitable customers over the long term.
Sharon Pocock of Kinder Pocock touched on the topic during our panel at Accountex 2018 :
“We have a long discussion with our potential clients to see if we can collaborate effectively. This approach allows us to guarantee the winning of clients who will support us in the long term. On our site, we make it clear that we work online and with Xero to make sure that customers who choose us are compatible with us and to avoid wasting time with customers who are looking for something else. “
Tips for effectively targeting your ideal client:
Define your niche and specialties by establishing the industries, sectors and types of business you want to work with and then create service proposals around those niches.
Refine and select your software and services by analyzing the types of value-added software and services you want to offer (from basic accounting through FreeAgent to high-level advice on a custom Xero system).
Profile your most profitable customers and then have your website, marketing, sales and lead generation activities target companies that align with your long-term customer strategy.
2. Invest in effective digital marketing
Modern digital marketing guarantees a measurable return on investment (ROI) , and provides you with efficient and profitable ways to target your niche audience. Your marketing serves to reinforce the brand image of your firm , clearly present your services and your expertise and put a face on your employees. Richard Suswain of Tyrrell and Company adds:
“In marketing, it is essential to do a good job, give the best advice to your customers and meet all their expectations. They will talk about you around them and recommend your services. Your new potential customers will then visit your site, read your content, review your social media presence as well as your online presence. “
Tips for effective digital marketing:
Update your online presence with a website that targets your ideal customer that is simple, well organized and works on mobile.
Invest in content marketing to produce blog posts, support guides, and practical and useful tips for all of your customers (existing and new).
Improve your team’s profile through social media marketing to promote your expertise and your team of expert advisors.
3. Focus on recommendations from your existing customers
Thanks to the recommendations of your customers, your interested prospects benefit from an additional guarantee and have more confidence in you, which makes it easier for you to convert them. These recommendations do not come without effort and it is important that you set the right foundation upstream to gain new customers.
According to Stuart Budd, Commercial Director of FD Works , you will increase the number of quality recommendations made by your existing customers by ensuring optimal customer service:
That’s why you need to offer a wide range of services and ensure excellent customer service at all times. “
Tips for using your recommendations:
Retain your existing customers by making sure they are satisfied with your services. This will allow you to make them evangelists of your business. .
Offer the right mix of services , making sure everything is up to date and that your services, plans and prices will appeal to the customers you have been referred to.
Reward clients who refer you with perks like completing a project for free or discounting their rates.
4. Use technology to improve your value
Most modern businesses are technology-driven, and business owners are increasingly tech-savvy. To be able to work effectively, their service providers (including you, their accountant) must share the same mindset.
Armed with a solid software offering and the necessary technological knowledge, your services will gain in value and you will more easily establish yourself against traditional accounting firms. Sharon Pocock explains:
For example, we have much more practical interactions with our customers. We resolve their past accounting issues with Xero, work with them on specific projects, provide advisory support or support their growth. The transition is quick and efficient, and you can then focus your efforts on advisory work. “
Tips for earning the trust of tech-savvy customers:
Automate low-level tasks like bookkeeping, payments, and unpaid invoice reminders with in-app automation. This will reduce the workload on your team and your clients.
Improve your accessibility and your communication by offering cloud access to your customers (which will allow them to consult their figures when they want) and by facilitating communication and interactions with your teams.
Increase the value of your advice with intelligent reporting tools to improve number analysis and forecasting while providing smarter advice and support.
5. Hire the right people
Even though technology handles a lot of accounting tasks in 2018, you attract your ideal customers by hiring the right people with the right skills .
Beyond being an accounting expert, your ideal future employee will also need to have interpersonal skills and knowledge of technology. For Anoop Rehal, Director of BDO UK LLP , this is essential to be able to offer a cloud-based service:
“You have to put people first. It is not easy to find quality talent in today’s market. Being a tech expert is not enough, you have to show motivation and the right attitude. Our services are already automated and efficient. Now we just have to find the right people to promote it. “