So many professional firms seem to focus on winning new clients – it’s scary. What about the existing clients? In some firms around 90% of fees come from the same clients year on year. Here are some questions to ask about your recurring clients before you start focusing on trying to win new ones:
- Are they well served? Are you sure that’s what THEY perceive? How do you know?
- Would they be happy to recommend you to other people? (yes – Are you sure? no- what would you need to do to improve their perceptions?)
- Are you aware of what other services they need that you or your firm could provide? (That’s not the same as focusing on what additional services you could sell them!)
- If the client expresses a need that you’re not best placed to satisfy, Are you well placed to introduce complementary service providers, who are not in competition with you? [If the client needs tax advice that’s outside your area of expertise, do consider the Tax Advice Network – the UK’s first independent network of tax advisers]
- Have you asked your clients to recommend you to people they know who might need your services?
- Do your clients know what sort of people you are targeting or where you have a degree of expertise or specialism?
- Do your clients know HOW to introduce you when they act as your advocate? Is it sufficient to say ‘My accountant’ or ‘My solicitor’? Do they know of any specialisms that help distinguish you from other accountants or solicitors?
- Do you spend too much time working for ‘duff’ clients? – I’ll explain this further in a future post on this blog
It has been suggested that it can take 6-10 times as much time and effort to win new work from new clients as to win new work from existing clients. That’s why it makes sense to first focus on the ones you have before devoting enormous time and effort to win new clients from scratch all by yourself.
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