As much as ninety per cent of new business for accounting firms comes from referrals, with 87 per cent of clients actually turning to referrals when looking for an accountant. This is the power of the referral. They are the most formidable tools you have for reaching new clients. Yet just 17 per cent of clients say they might actually recommend their accountant. What a wasted opportunity!
What can you do to land more referrals?
- Turn clients into advocates through exceptional service. Don’t assume that clients will refer you when you provide them with the service they expect. You may have a supporter, but an advocate is someone who wants to tell their friends and colleagues about you. This will only happen if you remind them when you provide great service.
- Identify industry or demographic niches where you can demonstrate specific expertise. What type of client do you want? Promote exclusively to those niches through industry publications and meetings. Use speaking engagements and articles to share information and create interest.
- Critically review existing and potential cross-referral relationships, with lawyers, financial planners, mortgage and insurance brokers, and other complimentary service providers. Ensure that you follow the law of reciprocity – start by providing benefits (including referrals) to others and this will inevitably bring benefits to you.
- Actively train your team to ask clients for referrals. You should have the courage to ask your clients ‘if you’re happy with what we’ve done, can you recommend us to your friends or colleagues?’ Inevitably the response is positive.
- Create interest in driving internal referrals through recognition and reward if necessary. If an employee brings in a significant client, give them an appropriate reward and let everyone know. Share experiences, both positive and negative, in driving internal referrals.
- Put in place a formal process in place to recognise all external referrals in a timely manner, through letter or email. By all means, thank them face to face or over the phone, but there is special impact with a formal, personalised thank-you.
- Incorporate requests for referrals in all your general communication with clients and external network partners. For example, consider asking for referrals in email footers, client feedback forms, monthly newsletters, website and other general correspondence with clients. Use strong case studies and written recommendations to drive referrals.
- Build informal networks with younger prospects proactively. If you’re discounting social media as a beneficial marketing tool, think again. Already, many progressive accounting firms are engaging and attracting clients with these networking tools. It’s free advertising.
- Ensure that all prospects are followed up quickly and the source of prospects and value of new clients are being recorded (even if it’s relatively few at this time). Ask your administrative team to manage this process. Review progress on a regular basis.
- Set up a weekly task reminder to ‘ask for one referral’ from a client or networking partner. Ask your senior team members to do the same. Give them feedback and advice on what works for you. Report on progress at weekly or monthly meetings. By letting your team know you are serious about referrals, you will start to see results.
If you are interested in learning more, we have a free whitepaper available titled “The Referral Engine” Click here for more information
How to implement your firm’s referral program. Click Here
Upcoming Online Session
On Wednesday 27th August, Training Beyond Accounting is running a live online session that will show you how to get the referrals you deserve. You’ll receive a practical step by step guide to developing true client advocates. For further information, CLICK HERE or visit www.trainingbeyondaccounting.com.au
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