Getting Clients to Come to You

attract clientsAre you having trouble getting clients? Do they seek you out for your bookkeeping services, or do you have to chase after every new client you get?

When you decided to strike out as a freelance bookkeeper, you probably envisioned spending nearly all your time doing what you love – bookkeeping. But the reality is, as a BUSINESS owner you must do more than just the billable work.

You have to actually engage the clients who are willing to pay for your services. In order to make a connection with potential clients, you must get the word out that you are open for business. That type of communication is your marketing.

Marketing is actually MORE important to your success than your ability to do bookkeeping itself! That's because you won't make any money if you can't get clients. Therefore, your #1 priority as a freelance bookkeeper is marketing your services.

There are two ways to do it – go out and find the clients…. or use attraction methods so that the clients will come to you!

For most of us, especially introverts, it is much more desirable to have the clients come to us. That's why so many bookkeepers I talk to want to use paid advertising. They simply want to pay for an ad and hope the phone starts ringing with eager new clients.

They want to do the bookkeeping, not the marketing.

Truth is, that's an expensive (and risky) way to do it. Direct advertising of bookkeeping services only attracts business owners who are desperate and haven't yet found a bookkeeper any other way, or are price shopping. And of course, you also need to figured out where to advertise so they even find your ad.

On the other hand, most business owners who hire freelance bookkeepers do so based on recommendations from friends, colleagues and acquaintances, as well as online and offline networking. This is what generates word-of-mouth referrals, which is a result of indirect marketing.

Therefore, building relationships through networking is a cost-effective and powerful way to connect with potential new clients, as well as stoke the flames for getting referrals. The downside to indirect marketing is that it takes time. It's a process. Trust is built over time, with repeated conversations and interaction.

Many bookkeepers do not take the time to build relationships because they want clients NOW! And when they start networking out of desperation, they fall back into the chasing-after-clients method. It's a Catch-22 cycle. For the would-be clients, it's a natural reaction to run away when chased.

So the lesson here is that effective marketing for freelance bookkeepers is not an event, but a process. Building relationships is the key to regularly attracting new, high quality clients.

Farming, Not Hunting

Marketing your services is much like planting a garden. In order to reap the fruitage, you need to get started on the process of planting the seeds and then watering and caring for what grows. In due time, you will have abundant results – more high-quality clients.

As with a garden, some marketing methods produce results quicker than others. While I can't suggest a single way of marketing that will give you a guaranteed bumper crop of relationships, referrals and clients, there is a combination of effective marketing methods that will attract new clients reasonably fast and regularly.

Proven ways to attract bookkeeping clients

  • Social media

It's a powerful way to get a “pulse” on what your Ideal Client is struggling with and answer questions that spark relationships. This can be done through discussion groups on LinkedIn and the Intuit Community forums. You can make powerful connections with potential clients, colleagues and referral partners.

  • Attending live events

Nothing can replace the connections made when meeting people in person with whom we have a common interest. Some of the most powerful relationships I've made have come from attending live events. These can be within our industry, meeting with colleagues for two-way referral relationships, as well as industry events surrounding the type of clients you specialize in. (Example: if your Ideal Clients are authors, then you would attend writer's conferences)

  • Running an online training class

It has never been easier to present helpful information that will attract your Ideal Clients online. Webinars are effective and low cost.  Promote your 30-minute training class through social media and forums and you will reach at least a few, and possibly many new potential clients and strategic alliances all at once. While this does take some significant preparation, I've personally had fantastic success using this method. It's especially effective for virtual bookkeepers.

  • Blogs and Email newsletters

While this is not a quick-results method, sharing tips, newsworthy information, or short educational tidbits using a blog or email newsletter is an extremely effective way to attract new clients on an ongoing basis. It's a soft-sell way to demonstrate your expertise and invite potential clients to get to know you. Because it is online, you also have a much farther reach to many more potential clients with a single effort. Coupled with social media, this is probably the easiest, low-cost marketing method available to us!

So if you're tired of chasing after new clients and struggling to grow your freelance bookkeeping practice, switch to using client attraction marketing methods like these, and as your relationships grow, so will your business.

You can use any combination of the above methods, but the most effective one to start with is an email newsletter. Even if you don't have any clients or a website yet, you can start marketing your services in a very scalable way with minimal cost and effort. That's why this month's TFB Premium training is on how to “Boost Business with Your Own Simple Email Newsletter”

What ways have you found effective for attracting new clients?

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Freelance bookkeeper, trainer and consultant who works with internet savvy business owners and bookkeeping professionals to maximize cash flow and build true win-win relationships.

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