It's a great thought. More importantly it's not that difficult to achieve.
And for a long time those that have successfully achieved this have kept the strategy hidden.
You see, you work hard and care about what you do. You want clients that appreciate your service and pay you accordingly.
We all do.
And, if you're like most bookkeepers you already get many referrals to your business.
However, there is a good chance a large amount coming your way could be disastrous to your business.
- The Tire kickers.
- The Run-arounders
- The Shoe-Boxers.
You know the types, they all cause unnecessary stress, waste your time and want to pay you the least.
Well, the cold hard truth is the right customers will not easily rush towards you....at least... not yet.
You see, there is a way to guarantee a consistent stream of the very best leads. Clients who are excited to work with you and willing to pay premium rates.
Does this sound good?
Well, before I explain further, let me briefly describe the story of Debbie Roberts who benefited greatly from this strategy.
She’s an Australian who started as a bookkeeping employee before realizing she could provide the industry much more on the way to becoming a successful business owner whose training company, Pure Bookkeeping, now helps thousands of bookkeepers in 3 different continents.
Throughout her 30-plus year bookkeeping career, Debbie has seen many bumps including struggles in attracting the right clients.
So, how did she figure it out?
Well, it was by doing something not everyone is willing to do.
Debbie would make the leap and has never looked back.
What did she do?
She utilized a free marketing strategy that is available to anyone who wants to receive a guaranteed constant stream of qualified leads.
Introducing Preferred Bookkeeping Agreements with Accountants.
The act of setting up multiple mutually beneficial agreements with accountants to be considered for referrals.
Why are they so powerful?
If you establish a win-win accountant partnership, you’ll be plugged into a vast prospect network you would have never had access to before.
Since the accountant would trust in your bookkeeping abilities, every time one of her clients would request bookkeeping services, you’d be on top of her referral list.
In addition, since many accountants charge $150-200 per hour, once their referral is sent your way, you’ll seem like an absolute bargain price-wise.
As well, in the prospect’s eyes, if she trusts her accountant, the referral suggestion will give you instant credibility which obviously heightens your chance of being hired.
That all sounds terrific, but how do you receive accountant referrals?
Well, before you start, understand this, there are two challenges you’ll encounter.
1) How will you get in front of accountants?
2) How will you build up enough trust that they’ll want to send you referrals?
Oh, if you’re thinking of cold calling accountants, don’t even bother.
That method has very little success.
If you are wondering how else to tackle the “How will I get in front of accountants?” issue, try this…
Ask your current clients if you can contact their accountant.
If they agree, you’ll have credibility when calling because of the mutual connection.
Below are some calling scripts you can use to make things a little easier.
To handle the receptionist just say:
Hello, my name is ____. I’m from ____. I was wondering if I could speak to (Insert Accountant’s name) about (insert client name).
Usually, your call will be put through.
When speaking with an accountant, you can say…
Hi (insert Accountant’s name). My name is ____ from ____. I’m the bookkeeper for (insert client name).
I was just wondering if you could give me information about this client that might be of help?
Are there any issues that I need to know about (ie: regarding the CRA)? Is there anything complicated that you think I need to know about the entity?
I always like to meet with the Accountant of my clients just to put a face to the name. So, I was wondering if we could make a time to meet so that I could tell you more about my business and also to find out about the services you offer and your target market?”
When would be a good time for you?
Once you book the appointment, you’ll have to figure out how to build trust with the accountant.
By the way, if you’re in startup mode and have no clients, you can always ask your own accountant or your family and friends to meet theirs.
So, how can you convince an accountant to give you referrals?
Create a relevant presentation that outlines how your services will bring accountants great value by making their lives easier.
In your PowerPoint presentation you can include slides such as…
- Who you are
- What differentiates you
- Why they should work with you
- How to get started
Be sure to address any concerns accountants may have including how it can damage their reputation if you do a bad job.
When preparing your presentation, anticipate possible questions and have answers ready.
Before the meeting, make sure you practice multiple times, including in front of family & friends, so you can feel comfortable and less flustered when it’s showtime.
When you’re done presenting, you can ask the following questions to collect more information.
- Have you seen anything like this before?
- What impressed you about the Presentation or information?
- How do you currently source your bookkeepers?
- Would you like to add my business to your list of preferred bookkeepers?
- Do you know of any accountants who would like to know about our services?
- Can you think of any clients who might need our services?
Remember, when doing your presentation, be professional and conversational at all times.
It’ll go a long way towards accountants building trust and confidence with you.
Once you establish accountant referrals, you’ll realize rather quickly they are the number one way to receive profitable bookkeeping leads.
Sure, there are some challenges, but when you power through, you’ll reap the benefits and then some.
Article by Michael Palmer
Michael is the CEO of Pure Bookkeeping, the host of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast and an acclaimed business coach who has helped hundreds of bookkeepers across the world push through their fears and exponentially grow their businesses and achieve the quality of life they've always wanted.