This is a guest blog provided by Patrick McLoughlin. In it he explains how sole practitioner accountants can become really clear as to who is a premium fee playing client. And, having done that, how you can then clarify your future marketing and business generation activities. As Patrick’s approach is much the same as mine I am happy to share his thoughts here.
It doesn’t matter in which industry or professional sector you operate, if you provide a specialist service you are going to get paid more. To help you attract more premium fee paying clients, this blog focuses on transitioning your work and marketing to grow your GRF.
Know your strengths, understand who benefits most from your work
If you already have specialist knowledge and clients you provide a specialist range of services to, you can skip this point. If you struggle to define your ideal clients or your answers focus on personality types, read on.
As a starting point list all your clients on a spreadsheet. Then decide what issues you want to grade them on. Typically focus on:
Level of fees paid
Profitability of work you carry out
Personality (How much you enjoy working with them)
Do they refer
Potential for fees to grow
Prospective lifetime value
Mark the client out of 10 for each category then add up your scores. Focus on your highest scoring 10% – 20% of your clients. Look at what they have in common. Maybe there’s a high number from a certain industry sector or you’ve helped many overcome a similar problem.
Profile your top clients
Now write a profile of those key similarities. Think about their turnover range, sectors to focus on or exclude, the postcodes you can reach within 30-40 minutes etc. Now we are just starting to hone in on those clients you can build your future on.
Focus on Sam
To build a greater understanding create an ideal client persona. Focus on elements of your best clients. Give them a name, a history, even a family background: For example, Sam has 2 young children under 5, an expensive mortgage and is aged 30-40 etc.
Even if you think you know, talk to your better clients about the goals they are chasing, maybe paying off the mortgage in 5-years or putting the kids through private school etc. Then list Sam’s goals, challenges and how you can help with both.
If Sam hopes to put the kids through private school you can help by planning and forecasting how the business needs to grow to achieve it. If Sam’s company has stopped growing you may be able to help by systemising aspects of the business or improving management information allowing Sam to spend more time with potential new clients.
Focus on Sam’s opinions and feelings about the business. Sam might say that he doesn’t feel in control of the finances from one year end to the next. Or maybe Sam doesn’t understand his annual accounts and they are no help to him in steering the business forward.
A great example of copy to address Sam’s lack of value & understanding of year-end accounts
You’ll find after you’ve completed the above that it naturally filters down to help you write a short summary of how you can help Sam. Try and use their language not your own. And don’t forget to focus on easing their pain and fulfilling their ambitions.
If you do your homework you’ll find it so much easier to pick your ideal clients out in a crowd or a telephone conversation. Your ideal clients will relate to you better and chose you over cheaper competitors.
To help me, to help sole practitioners grow, please could you click this link and complete the short survey.
Thank you so much for your support.
All the best. Patrick.