As any business owner can tell you, acquiring new customers is the driving force behind successfully growing a business. The same applies to financial services firms. But with the right skills and the resources it does not have to be a bridge too far. Consider the story of one of the members of the Bookkeepers Hub who made savvy use of the Bookkeepers Jobs Board widget. This is her story:
To get new clients without waiting for referrals, she searches ‘part-time bookkeeper’ ads. She sends her website link in a cover email; she details her focus on helping the business owner and describes how the business will save money in the long run using her services instead of hiring a part-time employee. Of 10 ads she answers, four ask to meet her and two become clients. She makes sure the job is for 10 or less hours a week. Her income has doubled in 12 months. You have to give her points for smarts.
The brutal truth is that referrals alone can rarely build a professional practice. It’s brutal because there are two kinds of businesses: those who are winning new customers, and those who are dying. There are also two kinds of professionals and business owners: those who want more customers, and those who are lying.
The perfect pitch
It’s much easier to win new customers when you’ve got great stuff or a great service. Everything flows from quality—mediocrity is the enemy of professional and business success. How does your service stack up against these tried and proven attributes?
• Is your service more than just compliance; does it have depth?
• Does your service project a solid understanding of the customer’s needs?
• Do you offer support and value-add services?
• Do you go the extra mile to empower the customer to do better business?
• Do your marketing collateral – website, invoices, and brochures – present as professional and trust-building?
How unique is your service?
If you have a valuable service, but it’s not unique, you always have to compete on price. What you really want is a great service that’s also unique. This is the place where margin and money are made.
What’s unique about doing the books? Start with the benefits people receive from using your service. It’s very hard to be unique with pure compliance work but not impossible. Consider how UK accounting services firm crunch www.crunch.co.uk positioned itself in a unique way – same basic accounting as others but a unique pitch.
Food for thought? The next step is to make it easy for people to become your customers. You can’t give potential customers a sample of the ‘books’ but you can figure out ways for them to test-drive your service.
The point is to communicate a professional value proposition to your prospects. You might want to chase down some glowing testimonials that speak to your “unique and value-laden” service. If your service is truly exceptional, your customers will want you to do well, and one way to ensure this is to encourage others to do business with you.