Accounting practices often rely heavily on referrals for new business, but scaling this source of clients can be challenging. To leverage your network and reputation effectively, Jay Abraham, renowned marketing expert, provides valuable insights in his book “Getting Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got.” In one chapter dedicated to the topic, he outlines key strategies that I will summarise here for conciseness.
How to Do It
Step 1: As part of your interactions with clients, whether it be in person, over the phone, through written correspondence, or via email, make a consistent effort to inquire about potential client referrals. Take the time to explain to your clients the specific types of businesses or individuals who would greatly benefit from utilising your services.
Step 2: Extend an offer to consult with any referred clients or provide them with a sample of your services. This allows them to experience firsthand the quality and value that you can deliver.
By following this guide, both you and your clients will be more equipped to identify and refer additional clients who could benefit from what you have to offer.
Referral System Template
1. What are the demographics of your ideal prospects?
- Type of Business
- Business Revenue
- Geographic Region
- Buying Preferences
- Any other demographic group that applies to your business
2. Who can refer those prospects to you?
- Prospects who did not convert
- Neighbours and friends
- Association Members
- Other businesses and professionals whom your prospects trust
- Leaders or prominent people whom your prospects admire, respect or trust
- Magazine editors or writers of publications
- Special interest groups (e.g. hedge fund investors, yacht owners)
- Companies or individuals who deal with the clients you want
3. Set the stage for getting referrals. Some ideas are:
- If you can, position yourself as different from your competitors.
- Show interest in your current clients by asking them about themselves.
- Explain that even if the referral does not become a client, you will have opened their eyes to what is available, what pitfalls to avoid, what they might overlook and anything else that could positively or negatively affect the referral.
- Give them both logical and emotional reasons why they should give you referrals.
- Explain to your clients that you get most of your business through referrals and therefore can devote more time and money in providing a better service.
- Offer to give them an incentive for the referral.
- Offer to give their clients a service for free or at a discount.
- Have your client call or directly contact the referral.
- Do something in advance before asking for the referral.
- Keep in frequent contact with the people who have provided referrals in the past.
- Update your contact of any referrals that became clients.
- Ask for referrals when clients are most receptive. Perhaps when you have done something great for them or when that person has received a promotion or been elected to a special office.
4. Help your clients locate the referrals for you.
- Ask them, “Who do you know who __________?” (Fill in the blank with as many different groups of people and scenarios as possible.)
Referral System Template
When a referee provides you with a referral, it is essential to express your gratitude by sending them a thank you note along with something like a lottery ticket. Additionally, inform your referrer that you will offer the prospect a complimentary one-hour consultation. This consultation can be tailored to meet the specific needs of high-net-worth individuals, such as tax minimization and asset protection strategies. For businesses, the free session could include management accounting assistance, like cash flow forecasting or cost accounting analysis.
(Jay Abraham’s book offers numerous other examples of successful referral strategies.)
The steps and template may appear straightforward, but the key is to implement a systematic process to increase your business through referrals. By utilising the sources of referrals mentioned above, you have the potential to significantly expand your referral network. All that remains is to simply ask for those referrals.
Speaking of which, do you know anyone who could benefit from access to highly skilled accountants? Our accountants produce top-notch work at a fraction of the cost of in-house accountants, all while following your firm’s procedures. This could be a solo practitioner or someone in a partnership who struggles with finding and retaining experienced staff, desires cost savings, or wants more time for valuable value-added tasks.
If someone specific comes to mind, we can offer them a Free Trial!