How to Get New Clients Using QuickBooks
If your business has slowed down due to the rocky economy, or just because we’re in the dog days of summer, your thoughts may be turning to how you can bring in more business quickly, or rev things up as we head into the fall.
Either way, if you know QuickBooks well, here’s an easy way to not only get the word out about your bookkeeping services, but expand the services you offer to a wider audience at the same time. All without any hard selling.
The Plan in a Nutshell
Offer to do a health check-up of QuickBooks data files
While this doesn’t sound sexy, it’s something that 95% of all small businesses using QuickBooks really need, whether they know it or not. The fact is, the vast majority of small businesses are NOT using QuickBooks correctly. Some of them have SERIOUS problems with their books that may cause a HUGE problem for their bottom line.
But you can save them from this peril!
Bookkeepers and Dentists
I’ve often compared keeping bookkeeping records up to date like going to the dentist. We all know we SHOULD do it to avoid BIG problems later, but many of us do not eagerly anticipate our next dental checkup.
In this simple comparison, however, we, as bookkeeping experts can take a cue from our dentist friends. They are pretty savvy about overcoming this hurdle and keep a flow of return patients… and revenue… coming into their office!
Yes, they take in patients with toothaches and broken teeth and make big money from those emergency services. But the foundation of their STEADY income is from the patients who are coming back for regular checkups every six months or so.
Because that’s how they uncover additional work that needs to be done. And their patients appreciate it because it takes care of problems while they are still small.
How do we apply this to bookkeeping and QuickBooks?
Not only can we help clients who have neglected their books and are in trouble because they have a tax deadline looming or some other “urgent” need to get their books straight…
But we can also help clients who have been attempting to handle their books themselves (and will ultimately get themselves into trouble).
Through education, regular check ups and “repair” services.
How to Put This Simple Concept Into Action
1. Offer a free or low-cost “class.”
It could be on something like, “The Most Common QuickBooks Errors that Could Be Costing You a Bundle”
You could teach this at your local business networking groups, to past clients, or even offer it free to clients of local CPA firms who do not specialize in QuickBooks. (That gets you good exposure from two angles!)
2. Present a simple but educational session that lasts 30-60 minutes.
Brainstorm your class content by thinking about all the problems you see whenever new clients come in and their books are a mess. Show them the tell-tale signs of the most common problems as they show up on their financial reports.
If you’re part of the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program, there are also plenty of free QuickBooks training materials you could use for this and other types of QuickBooks-based classes that could serve the same basic purpose.
You want to make them aware of problems that could be draining them of profits that they need to address within their bookkeeping records.
3. At the end of the class, offer a free 30-minute QuickBooks data file check-up.
This should be by appointment and can be done at the client’s site, in your office, or via online meeting. Whatever works best for you is the way to go. The point is to get them to raise their hand and say that they want more information from you, and give you their contact information so you can follow up.
To conduct the check-up, use the Client Data Review tool available in QuickBooks Accountant Edition 2009 and newer. Or create your own diagnostic checklist.
IMPORTANT: The purpose of this “check up” is NOT to FIX problems with the client’s books! You are simply identifying issues found and providing an overall report (I suggest a written report) on how “healthy” their bookkeeping records are.
Discuss your findings with the client and then come up with a mutually agreeable action plan for…
- Prioritizing and addressing any important problems found, including your suggested solutions
- Decide whether or not the client will engage your consulting or bookkeeping services, will need guidance in fixing problems themselves, or require training to avoid repeating the same problems again
- Offer ongoing maintenance with regular check-ups to keep the books in a “healthy” condition (just like dental cleaning & checkups every 6 months!)
This process naturally leads to new client prospects, referrals and more billable work both in the short term, and over a long period of time. You will be remembered for providing this valuable, professional service!
Even if you’re not a QuickBooks specialist, you can use these same principles to help small businesses assess the overall accuracy of their bookkeeping records, even if they’re using a pencil and paper system.
Using this simple strategy, or some variation of it, will position you as a top-notch expert in your community AND attract high quality clients at the same time.
If you’d like to learn more soft-sell, high-value ways of attracting new clients, then you’ll want to take a look at my NEW Freelance Bookkeeper Marketing course.
It’s the easy way to fill your business with more clients than you can handle, using simple, but powerful relationship-based strategies!
Get more information HERE
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