Want Methods for Asking for Referrals? Here’s How Accounting Outsourcing Can Help
If you’re looking to grow your firm then accounting outsourcing is a great move. It provides you with the time to woo more clients and the ability to handle both an increased workload and a wider variety of work.
What it won’t do for you right out of the gate is pull those juicy new clients in for you. So now that you have the time and ability to handle bigger workloads, what can you do to bring new clients onboard your growing firm?
Accounting outsourcing provides the time to ask for referrals the right way
Here are a couple of methods that we’ve found impress current clients and motivate them to help you pull in more business. Do keep in mind though that you only want to go to your A-list clients for referrals – like breeds like. If you go to your D-listers you’re only going to get more low-calibre clients which is not the kind of growth you’re looking for.
The Direct Ask
In this case you’re just going to verbally ask for your A-list clients to recommend more people like them. However, we recognise that not everybody is a born salesperson, so here are some tips.
First, you’re going to want your client to be familiar with the stellar work you’ve done for them and the ways you’ve helped boost their business or personal financial health. This way when they try to describe to their friends or colleagues why you’re so awesome they won’t be fumbling about for a description.
Your best bet is to make your request at the end of a meeting in which you’ve gone over with your existing client all the ways you and your advanced accounting outsourcing firm have benefitted them. That’s not to say you beat them over the head with this information; rather, make the meeting about them and how well they’ve done in the past year using language that includes you as part of their team.
If you want to let the clients lead the way you can take this approach further by saying how much you enjoy working with people like this particular client, and how good it makes you feel to get over particular financial speedbumps faced by people in whatever industry that client happens to be in.
This way you’re subtly displaying that you and your accounting outsourcing team are the people to go to for businesses like your existing client, which may spark in them some ideas for names of clients who could use some expert help just like yours.
Be it by email or traditional mail, letters can help you pull in new choice clients. Language is of obvious importance in such notes so make sure you’re telling your clients that things are going great but do not tell them that you’re stuffed to the gills with work. Nobody is going to want to work with a firm that is overly busy.
By using accounting outsourcing firm you’re guaranteeing that there’s no such thing as “too busy” and that you’ll always have room for new clients – but it’s important that your language doesn’t indicate that you’re overworked.
If you think sending out a letter like this is still too bluntly sales-ish then consider making a request for referrals part of your system of working with clients. In this case what you do is write up an agenda of what both you and the client can expect from each other during the duration of a project or time-frame together. One of the points of this early agenda letter is that, at a specific time near the end of the project or duration, if your client is happy with your work you will be asking them for 3 recommendations. This way it’s completely expected and will save yourself some squeamishness if the previous letter approach is too blunt for your liking.
Want to earn some bonus points with your client? Spend a little bit of that extra accounting outsourcing time to word this so it sounds like an exclusive offer for only your best clients. This is exactly what it is, since you’ll only be asking your A-list clients for recommendations. Everybody likes to feel like they’re part of the Insider’s Club, and it gives a little psychological push to sweeten the letter.
As soon as someone sends you a referral, make a point of thanking them. This thanks can even take the form of a gift – perhaps a free service that your existing client has never used but you think would be of benefit to them. The added bonus here is that it may introduce that existing client to a service that they’ll decide they simply cannot do without and will start paying for it in the future.
If the referral comes onboard, being all impressed with your utilisation of accounting outsourcing benefits, then let the previously existing client know. This makes them feel good that they helped make a match, and it also informs them that they’re recommending the right type of people to your firm.
If the referral doesn’t work out you should still let your existing client know, but in this case slip in some info about your ideal type of client so your existing client will make better recommendations in the future.
(Also, thanking people is just the classy thing to do.)
We mentioned earlier that you want to give your clients a concrete idea of exactly what they can see to friends, colleagues, etc. when they recommend you to a potential referral. Another way to give them more positive points to put across is to make sure that your firm and yourself look like success.
If your office isn’t decorated, hire a decorator, or take a look in some magazines or browse the pictures of high-end hotels for ideas to make your office look like a successful place of business. Your practice of using accounting outsourcing is going to free up some overhead and the one-time expense of giving your office some flair can pay dividends for years to come by impressing your clients.
The same goes for you. Dress like you’re a successful business person. Drive a decent car. Get some business cards that look like they’re made for a professional. All of this is going to make it much easier for your existing clients to recommend you to others.