Nowadays, if you want to get bookkeeping clients, running an ad or making cold calls is a difficult and ineffective way to do it. The reason why can be summed up in the well known expression…
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
While it’s not clear who actually said this, it’s definitely true when it comes to successfully marketing bookkeeping services.
Human nature is that when we have a problem, a burning question, or have hit some kind of roadblock, it’s all we can see until we find a solution. This is true of potential clients looking for bookkeeping help. Whatever marketing message you are putting out to get bookkeeping clients, will only be noticed by those who see that you have what they want.
Most marketing bookkeepers try (if they do any marketing at all) does just the opposite. It’s focused almost totally on credentials, a laundry list of services (communicated using accounting speak – which is a foreign tongue to small business owners) and is usually impersonal. To prospective clients, it comes across as noise, so they tune it out.
Truth is, there are A LOT of small business owners who know they need to hire a bookkeeper, and some are desperately LOOKING for help. But they have trouble finding us. Here are 5 ways to help them cut through the noise and find you more easily.
1. Frame a quick introduction on the key problems you solve
Whenever you meet a small business owner (or others who may know small business owners), which is most human interactions, use a simple 10-second introduction that shows (1) who your best clients are, and (2) the biggest benefit you provide your clients.
Formula: “I work with [CLIENT TYPE] to provide [BIG BENEFIT]”
Example: “I work with Independent Consultants to provide Relief From the Cash Flow Rollercoaster of Project Work”
Using a simple line like this will spark curiosity and start a conversation with those who either want that type of service or who may know others who do.
2. Show prospective clients you care by helping them out
Free is powerful. Use it to give away help for potential clients’ most painful problems and they’ll flock to you! Offer a subtle “try before you buy” sample of information that gives “quick fix” tips and hints for solving common problems clients face.
How to do it? Brainstorm the top 10 questions or problems you see most often, and offer easy tips and solutions. An example might be how to keep business and personal expenses separate.
3. Stand out as different than other bookkeepers
Using the first two methods we’ve covered will already help you to stand out. But to get the exact type of clients you WANT to be serving, you need to focus your efforts. How? By specializing your practice.
Offer solutions specific to a certain type of client, and you will instantly get their attention.
An example might be if you specialize in law firms. What are the problems they face to properly manage their IOLTA account (so they don’t get into trouble)? Or offer helpful hints on how to streamline the use of a popular legal practice software. Doing this will quickly make you an in-demand bookkeeper / consultant in the legal community.
4. Listen for what THEY feel is most valuable
Questions are a key way to engage potential clients, wherever you meet them. Show genuine interest in their issues, and they will find YOU fascinating! It goes to the principle from the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood.”
HINT: If you are an introvert, this is a fantastic way to start networking conversations as well. Most everyone loves to talk about themselves. Ask an open-ended question and then just listen. They will magically become interested in you. If there’s a win-win connection to be made, you will definitely find it this way.
5. Proactively lead prospects to what they want most
Small business owners hire professionals to do what they can’t (or don’t want to) do themselves. Step up as a proactive professional who focuses on getting the client the exact results they seek, and you can command premium fees. Focus your communication on the specific end result a potential client wants, and show how you can lead them to it, and they will see you as a partner to their success. This is as irresistible as it gets.
The key to presenting your services in a proactive way is to play the role of consultant. Ask questions and offer solutions that you can implement for them. Your prospects will see you as the perfect bookkeeper for their unique needs.
The bottom line to successfully marketing your services and getting more than enough new clients is simply getting out of your own way (and your comfort zone) and demonstrating that you care. Listen and show that you can give them what they want most. Use these methods wherever you find small business owners, in person or online, and you will easily get all the clients you can handle.
If you want to polish your proactive skills for both marketing and actually serving your clients, join us this month in the TFB Premium lesson on “The Proactive Bookkeeper: How to Get and Keep Top Quality Clients.”
What “new” ways of marketing your bookkeeping services have you found most effective?