Like many professional services businesses, accountants still rely on referrals to generate more work. Referrals are, and always have been, a great source for new clients and prove you are doing something right to keep referral partners on your good side.
But what happens when your referrals hit a dry spell and you realise you have very few options to generate new leads for your firm? On the other hand, what if you did have a larger volume of referrals coming through, but they’re far from your ideal client?
Implementing marketing strategies focussed on bolstering alliances and stimulating your referral activity gives you more control over the consistency and quality of your leads from referrals.
Here are 3 simple ways you can stimulate more referrals to your firm.
Keep the communication constant
This one is a bit of a no brainer. To stay top of mind, you need to stay in touch with people. The phrase “out of sight, out of mind” really does apply when it comes to referrals and lead generation. Your referral partners will soon forget you if you are no longer visible or present.
You can catch up for that usual “coffee” meeting with your referral partners, but who has the time to keep that up each month with all of our other responsibilities.
The easiest way to keep up the communication with your referral partners is to do so over email. I’m not talking about emails to individuals, rather to your entire referral network. Create a segment in your database that is solely for referral partners, and create monthly emails that go to this list with some relevant content, seminars and webinars, and company updates. Tailor the message of this email so it is clear it’s exclusive to your referral partners only.
This will make your referral partners feel like they’re getting the “inside scoop” from the experts (you), but also keep you top of mind when they’re talking with their clients, potentially triggering a referral conversation!
Offer to speak at seminars and virtual training sessions
Like your firm, your referral partners have clients who need answers to some questions. Sometimes your referral partners may not have the expertise to answer those questions so they may get in touch with you to provide some insight on the topic.
Instead, you should proactively reach out to your referral network offering to address their clients (and their team as well) in a seminar on a specific topic that is currently on people’s minds. Preparing this presentation and delivering it to a complimentary audience brings exposure and credibility to new potential clients, plus bolsters the relationship you have with your referral partner. They’ll see it as a sign of “giving back” and they’ll only benefit from educating their clients in a seminar presented by you.
Remember though, this doesn’t necessarily need to be a live seminar. You can easily offer this as a webinar, both live and pre-recorded.
Clearly articulate who your “ideal client” is
When we ask the question to our clients, “Who is your ideal client for your firm?”, 90% of the time the answer is vague and lacks the detail they need to truly understand who their ideal client actually is. When you fail to understand the intricacies of the client that you want to work with, you are inviting relationships into your firm that will do more harm than good.
So if you are not 100% sure of who your ideal client is, your referral partners, and your current clients, will have little to no idea who you want to attract to your firm. Many accountants tend to describe their ideal clients as “anyone who is ___________”. If you’re targeting everyone, in reality, this means you’re targeting no one.
The type of client you are attracting directly relates to the type of messaging your referral partners are receiving from you and your firm through your conversations, your brand, and your marketing. Creating a perfect client profile sharpens the lens on who you are trying to attract to your firm and ensures that your firm, your team, and your referrals partner have a clear understanding of your ideal client is.
If you want to market your accounting firm to the types of clients you want, you must first be very specific in describing who you want.
These are 3 simple, yet sometimes overlooked, ways you can implement to inspire more leads coming your way from your referral partners. Instead of waiting for the referrals to come in, be more proactive so they are coming into your firm more consistently. Doing so will give you more control over your lead flow instead of relying solely on others.