Let’s be real, here. Accounting isn’t the most glamorous of industries. While your clients may recognize the necessity of having an accountant, they’re probably not that excited to schedule their monthly or quarterly meeting or to increase spending on accounting services.
Believe it or not, you can provide your accounting clients with an experience that makes them not only likely to stick with you, but can turn them into raving fans of your accounting practice.
The good news is, it shouldn’t be too difficult to impress your accounting clients with next-level service. If your firm is able to consistently go above and beyond for your clients, there’s a good chance they’ll be seeking your services more often.
This article offers some tips for building great relationships with existing clients while continuing to attract new business.
You would think this one is obvious, but common sense doesn’t always translate to reality.
We’ve worked with thousands of accountants over our 20+ years in the industry, and it’s safe to say that accounting doesn’t always attract the most charismatic or gregarious personalities.
That’s not to say you need to get all buddy-buddy with your clients. But you will be amazed at the major difference just a little kindness and camaraderie can provide.
Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. They’re probably not looking forward to their next call with their accountant. Not because their CPA is a jerk, per say, but because it’s probably not that enjoyable speaking with them or facing the financial realities of their business.
What if you could be just a little more friendly, patient, and personable during your time with clients? You will likely see an uptick in not only their satisfaction as your client, but even the frequency with which they reach out, their openness to new services, and the referrals they may send your way.
Not all business owners have the time or foresight to think ahead about their financial needs. They may have a general idea of when their taxes are due and what they need to have prepared, but it’s more likely to be a fleeting thought than a well-thought out plan.
You can be an asset to your accounting clients by anticipating their needs and being there for them, before they even realize they need you. This can be done through proactive outreach at certain times of the year (and not days before a deadline).
You can take this beyond taxes, too. You probably already keep track of government programs, grants, and resources that may be helpful for small-medium sized businesses. What if you proactively reached out to your clients with opportunities that are relevant to them?
If you’re wondering how you’re going to manage all this, it pays to have a practice management solution like TPS Cloud Axis, that’s designed exclusively for accountants. Using TPS, you can easily maintain detailed client historical logs including notes, invoices, emails, and work flow. You can also set up client mass mailing and emailing, which comes in handy for keeping in touch as described later in this article.
Accountants are some of the least likely professionals to take advantage of social media marketing. There is an outdated notion that social media is still dominated by teenagers and very young adults, neither of which are likely to become clients of your accounting practice.
The notion is, quite simply, wrong. Every demographic is represented on social media, including older generations such as baby boomers (ages 57-75 in 2021), Gen X (ages 41-56), and even the Silent Generation (ages 76-93). Even millennials– the oldest of which are now entering their 40s– can be considered fair game as potential accounting clients.
Remember– millennials aren’t that young anymore! With the oldest of this demographic entering their 40s, it makes sense to divert some marketing resources to the platforms they use most.
Once you figure out where to focus your social media marketing efforts, develop a content strategy to help guide your marketing. The how-to on that goes outside the scope of this article, but as a rule you should create and distribute content that aims to serve your target audience. That could be through education, entertainment, and yes– occasional sales promotions and messaging. (The key word there is occasional.)
Upselling is a proven strategy for revenue growth. As a rule, upselling or cross-selling to current clients is much easier than attracting new ones.
These terms may conjure images of used car salesmen, but upselling doesn’t need to be a sleazy or one-sided process. As long as you’re seeking to provide real value, upselling is just another way to help clients grow their business while you grow yours.
The first step is identifying potential services you can upsell to current clients. Maybe you work mostly in the areas of bookkeeping and tax preparation. Perhaps you could expand to include general financial consulting or group coaching programs.
When considering new services to incorporate or offer your client, consider what your clients actually need. While profitability is important, your clients’ experience and return on investment should be the priority.
If you’re not sure what relevant services you can add to your repertoire, reach out for input. You might consider asking some of your most trusted clients, or polling employees and partners to see what they think could be of value.
It’s also important to consider the appropriate circumstances in which to attempt an upsell. Brand new clients, or ones that have been unsatisfied with their current services lately, probably aren’t a great fit. Instead, identify older client relationships and clients who are generally happy with your firm for potential upselling opportunities.
You probably don’t need us to tell you the importance of keeping in touch with your accounting clients, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually doing it. Maintaining active channels of communications with clients is critical. Not just for making progress on current projects, but for staying top-of-mind for clients who may not realize they could use your help with something else.
Email marketing is a tried-and-true solution for keeping in touch with clients. Using a platform like TPS Cloud Axis which provides client mass emailing and mailing capabilities is helpful in this. So too is our firm calendar and scheduling function and employee “to-do” list, helping your maintain a consistent outreach schedule for current clients.
Inconsistency is one of the great thieves of effective email marketing efforts. Sending out an email once or even twice a month isn’t going to cut it– you should strive for at least weekly email communications.
Another key consideration is the content of those emails. Nobody wants a barrage of emails that sell, sell, sell. We are all more likely to open and read through emails that contain helpful guidance or at least some light-hearted distraction. Strive to maintain a consistent schedule of interesting, engaging emails to your client base that aim to actually serve your clients.
Technology is great, but there’s something to be said for old-school marketing and relationship building tactics. Now that just about everything has moved online, there is more appreciation than ever for the lost art form of real-life marketing and relationship management.
Consider mailing letters– actual, physical letters– and other physical marketing materials to your clients. As with client mass emailing, TPS Cloud Axis supports client mass mailing, too.
When it comes to what you’re actually mailing to clients– the rule remains. Keep it interesting, engaging, and helpful! A dry sales letter will be quick to meet the wastebasket. An informative booklet on bookkeeping tips, for example, is more likely to get saved (at least for awhile).
If your budget allows, you can incorporate higher-value marketing gifts. Remember the days of receiving gift baskets from companies courting you? Or how about the free branded calendars, pens, and bookmarks that we all hang onto for years to come? These classic marketing tactics are often overlooked in the digital age, but that makes them all the more noticeable– and appreciated.
Designed exclusively for accountants, TPS Cloud Axis simplifies just about every step of the client management process. With dozens of features to help your accounting firm streamline its day-to-day operations, you’ll have more time to focus on things like wooing your accounting clients.
What are you waiting for? You won’t find a better solution for time and billing for accountants. Browse TPS Software plans today, or schedule a 15-minute consultation to see the platform in action.