We’ve talked before about the benefits of shaping your client list into an all A-list roster:
- Less work for more pay.
- Their word-of-mouth spreads to other A-listers.
- They’re not as concerned with costs as much as they are with receiving high value.
- Their association with your firm elevates your firm’s status.
- You need far fewer clients in order to meet your firm’s financial milestones.
- They’re highly unlikely to bring in D-list clients in their wake.
But if your firm is still in its infant stages, how do you attract these big-time clients? Let’s use this article to flip things around a bit and look at accounting firms through the eyes of an A-lister on the prowl for an accountant and/or business advisor.
They want people who demonstrate not just competence, but brilliance
Anybody can get someone to do a fair job with their books. But A-listers don’t just want run-of-the-mill bookkeepers; they want financial wizards handling their affairs. And if you’re charging A-list prices, it’s only fair that you meet these expectations.
So how does your firm demonstrate your brilliance if you don’t yet have direct contact with the top tier client crowd? You use social media. You give seminars. You give awesome advice that saves/makes people out there a lot of money. You become known as the go-to guy/gal when it comes to whatever niche you’re looking to serve.
You might be thinking that it seems kind of suicidal to give out all your tricks – if you show how the trick is done why will they need the magician anymore?
But here’s what happens – the more advice you give out, the more potential clients are going to see just how much work goes into being a financial rock-star. They’re in the market for an accountant, not for accounting lessons.
So if you have heaps of fantastic content out there, all with a picture of your smiling face next to the author credit, they’re going to see you as being the person who can get all the work displayed in the tips and advice done and they’ll be able to brush off the stress associated with keeping their finances healthy.
Cheap = low quality
A-listers don’t have to gamble that cheap prices are too good to be true. They can afford to pay for top-quality service without the gamble.
Raising your prices raises your status in the eyes of potential top tier clients.
If you are looking for some way to offer discounts, don’t do it on your initial service package. Instead offer the discount as a special perk to a valued customer (we’ll get more into the idea of extra perks below).
Every part of your operation should cater to class
If you wow a potential client online your job probably still isn’t done. While some clients might prefer to handle everything digitally, you’re more than likely going to have to meet most of your potentials face-to-face. This means that even if your online presence is awesome there’s still a chance you’re going to blow the booking if your operation looks low-end.
Serve them some seriously good coffee or tea in fancy cups or mugs. Even better, have someone else serve them – you, as the big boss, are above such things (unless you want your brand to be that you’re they’re easygoing pal – this depends on the direction of your overall branding).
Drive a nice car. Wear well-tailored clothes. Spruce up the office with nice-looking furniture and décor. Get a professional to design your website, logo, letterhead, and business cards.
The side-bar question here is – can you be the quirky firm that’s full of financial whiz-kids who show up to work in Hawaiian shirts and shorts? As long as you can back it up with amazing financial skills this branding approach will make you stick out from the crowd, right?
It’s possible. But remember that the upper crust have associated suits and ties with austere financial institutions for a very long time. The quirky approach is likely to turn off a few clients no matter the quality of your services. It’s a gamble.
Whichever route you choose, it’s incredibly important to never give your client a reason to say “no”. A Business Insider survey showed that 60% of consumers (U.S.) have stopped a purchase of goods or services because of a bad customer service experience. It takes 12 good experiences to win back the offended client or customer – something that’s not likely to happen if they take their financial ball and go down the street to your competitor.
A-listers expect extras
They’re paying you a lot of money. They expect to be treated like they’re special. And that’s fine, because slinging a couple of perks their way is actually a form of marketing.
If, for example, your A-lister is paying you for bookkeeping for their business you could throw in a quarterly financial projection, or maybe an analysis of how they could boost their widget prices without losing enough customers to make it a loss, something along those lines.
Now your A-lister has bragging rights. Most A-listers are influencers – they’re wealthy so they must be doing something right. Other people want to learn how to be an A-lister too, and other people on the same level as your existing client want sweet perks thrown their way. Nielsen says that a whopping 92% of people trust word-of-mouth above any other form of advertising. So when your client brags, others will listen, covet, and then check out your firm.