This was another question I was asked during a recent interview. This post is drawn from the notes I made before giving my answer on air.
Many accountants and bookkeepers reference their best source of new business as being referrals and recommendations. So let’s deal with this first.
Tools I would recommend here include:
- Linkedin – you can use this to keep in touch with what clients are doing , to like, share and comment on their updates and news. It helps to have a decent profile here yourself. Check out my free Linkedin profile tips here>>>
- Your website is key of course. It’s a tool to attract people to your practice rather than to your competitors. I’ve mentioned many times on this blog how important it is to reveal who YOU are rather than hiding behind your firm’s name and brand. You don’t need to invest a fortune in your website. You can STAND OUT positively simply by addressing the basics and making it really easy for prospective clients to find key information before they get in touch.
- A decent CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to ensure that you’re keeping in touch regularly and can recall key facts about each client.
- A practice management system – monitoring time limits and deadlines, so you can avoid doing things at the last minute and provide a timely service to your clients. You only tend to get positive referrals when clients feel that you are on top of things.
- A referrals strategy – this could be a simple spreadsheet or it could be built into your CRM system.
Other tools that could also help you to STAND OUT positively to people who don’t yet know you include:
- Twitter and facebook – but only if you believe that your target audience are active on these platforms. With twitter you’ll stand out more if you tweet in your own name with a decent profile headshot than if you tweet in your firm’s name.
- Linkedin – once you have a decent profile you can use the advanced search facility to seek out either specific prospects or those who fit your target profile. Then you can ask to connect with them and start to build a business relationship with them – before meeting up if you both feel this could be worthwhile. Don’t move into sales mode until you know what they want and need.
- Giveaways – I don’t mean you need to create a promotional brochure or gimmicks. But if you have branded giveaways that people will find of use and value, you can use these to stand out from your competitors. As will focused tip sheets that highlight a specific sector or niche – as distinct from being the same old, same old generic tip sheets everyone else sends out.
If you’re aware of other tools you would recommend for sole practitioners, do please add them as comments on this post.