According to a survey conducted by the Hinge Research Institute in 2015, 70.5% of the 530 professional service firms that were surveyed stated that attracting and developing new business was the top challenge they faced. However, as millennials are entering the workforce and technology is making information instantaneously available, we put together some tips your firm can use that combines both old and new ways to expand your client base.
1. Identify your target market
Whether you’re a local, small, medium, or large-sized firm, you have to know where and who your niche markets are. So before you go on the hunt looking for new clients, take into consideration what your firms’ expertise is and who that appeals to.
2. Make sure new business is good business
Not all new business is going to be good business. We’re sure you’ve had your experiences in dealing with clients that are difficult to work with and ultimately weren’t worth the time or money. So narrow down your prospects by looking at how profitable they are, whether they’re connected to other great clients, how much revenue they generate, and if they’re easy to work with.
3. Build rapport
Of course, one great way to determine whether new business is good business is by establishing a strong connection with potential clients. Take them out to lunch, visit their offices, and speak to their staff. You’ll get a much better sense of who you’ll be dealing with and what the general company culture is like. Both parties will also be able to make a stronger decision on whether or not they want to move forward.
4. Understand their business
Think of your interaction with a potential client as a job interview—because that’s essentially what it is. If you’re meeting a prospective client for the first time, do your research. Get to know who they are, what their mission is, what values they stand by, and what their pain points are. Show how your firm aligns with their goals and has solutions to their problems while simultaneously offering insight and empathy.
5. Use social media
Don’t underestimate the power of social media when it comes to brand awareness. You may be looking for new clients—but new clients may also be looking for you. And they will be looking not only at your website, but your social accounts as well. So make sure you’re posting content that shows your company culture; that you’re up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry; and that you’re providing valuable, relevant information for your clients to show that you’re on top of your game.
6. Create trusted business alliances
Some of your clients may also be looking for other services you can’t provide. So if you haven’t already, make sure your firm has formed some alliances or partnerships with other well-trusted businesses or organizations such as law firms or non-profits. Your clients will view your firm with more legitimacy and feel more inclined to hire a firm with established connections.
7. Make employees ambassadors
We think this last tip is a crucial one. Many public accounting firms will lose their staff to former or prospective clients, so it’s important to treat your staff as well as you possibly can. Consequently, if they are recruited by such clients, they will continue to be ambassadors for your firm, helping you to maintain and grow your client base simply because they valued their experience with you.
Take into consideration all of these factors, and we’re confident that obtaining new clients won’t only be more effective, but efficient as well.