Do you feel like you're always in pursuit of more top quality clients for your accounting or bookkeeping practice?
Yeah, there's no doubt about it. Not all clients are good quality clients, and some are downright burdens on the bottom line, not to mention your sanity. So is there a way to attract top quality clients so as to achieve faster and more profitable growth for your practice?
Of course you know I'm going to say ‘yes,' or I wouldn't have written this article. But more importantly, is there a way to do it consistently? The answer again is, Yes! The trick is in beginning with the end in mind.
What does a Top Quality Client Look Like?
This is a bit subjective based on the goals you have for your practice. A a basic definition of top quality clients might be, “Clients whom you can serve well at a price that's mutually agreeable, and you enjoy the process.”
Do higher level clients require higher level services? And more importantly, will they gladly pay the fees you want to charge them? Part of the answer lies in the specific description of the kind of clients you will and will not accept. Yes, this means that you will need to stop accepting every client that comes your way. While that seems counter-intuitive for growth, it saves you post-new-client headaches and actually helps you reach your growth goals faster.
Quick-Start Application: To quickly and easily define your Ideal Client, create a two-columned page. On the left side list all the things about working with clients that make you crazy. What is it about ‘undesirable' clients that makes you crazy? You'll find it's rather easy to list these traits.
Then on the right side of the page, for each of those negative and unwanted identifiers of clients, list the exact opposite quality or trait that would make a client a joy to work with.
Here's an example to get you started…
You now have your initial filter to know which clients to say YES to and which you should turn away. Remember, undesirable clients are like detours that send you away from your goals. Don't let them suck you into accepting them just for the money. It's a losing proposition in the long run. You and your staff deserve better.
How to Attract Top Quality Clients
Now that you know what your top quality client looks like, how do you attract more of them?
The first step is to turn the magnifying glass on you and your practice. Why? Because like attracts like. Meaning, in order for you to be attractive to higher quality clients, you need to provide higher level value with your services. That means more than silent compliance work.
Examine what your business currently offers, looking at it from the potential top quality client's point of view. Do you have what these kind of clients want and value most? It's time to really think about what they want.
A great way to find out is to talk with your existing (best quality) clients and ask them what they find most valuable about working with an accountant or bookkeeper. What do they wish came standard with our services? Then just listen. It might surprise you what they appreciate and want most!
Generally, top quality clients want an accountant and/or bookkeeper who is attentive to their needs, is proactive with useful advice and helps them avoid costly mistakes or pitfalls in their business. In short, they want to feel that you care about their success and are in their corner to help.
Does that caring come across in your marketing message or in how you work with your clients? Or do you tend to focus only on the numbers? What adjustments may be in order to step things up?
To attract more clients who will appreciate what you have to offer, you will need to share helpful information that demonstrates your superior, beyond-the-basics compliance services. How do you do that?
Top Level Client Services
It's surprisingly easy.
Share useful tips and advice that address typical questions, struggles and mistakes that you see small businesses making. You should share these on your website or blog as short articles, or as even shorter tips on social media profiles and company pages.
But the most effective way is by engaging small business owners in conversation. And the best place to build your confidence in doing this is with your existing clients. All of them. On a regular basis.
You may find by speaking personally with each of your clients with the goal of learning more about what they do, what they care about, what they value most and struggle with, it will become easy to demonstrate your value AND bring in more billable work as a natural result.
From there you can move onto other contacts you already have in your various contact lists. Relationships are one of the most powerful catalysts to attracting top quality clients. This is especially true when you are focused on providing what they value most, rather than solely making a sale.
Bottom line, the key to serving top quality clients is engaging and interacting proactively with them, and providing the support they need to succeed. Your success will be a natural consequence. Everyone wins.
- Target one or two of your best clients and set up an appointment to meet
- Let your client know that you want to make your services as valuable as possible to them
- Ask your client why they feel it is important for him to have an accountant and/or bookkeeper to work with them. What are the specific benefits he wanted when he hired his first accountant and/or bookkeeper?
- Take notes and ask further questions to really understand what matters most to your client – what does it feel like to be in his shoes? What would relieve his stress and help him reach his financial goals?
When you can see what it's like to work with an accounting professional from the client's point of view, you will better be able to communicate your value when speaking with prospective clients.
This is your first important step to upgrading the clients you accept. So what are you waiting for? Attracting more top quality clients is just a conversation away!
If you'd like another simple, specific method to grow your practice and bring in more top quality clients consistently, you can get free access to this short video (< 5 minutes) by Martin Bissett in Stories From The Road. (Scroll down to the Course Content, Episode 2)
In it he explains how in just 20 minutes a day one of his accounting firm clients brought in an additional $100,000 in revenue. Your success can be simple.