Networking is a critical aspect of business success for bookkeepers
Danielle Gadoury is the owner of DND Professional Services - a highly successful accounting firm. And by successful, it means she managed to attract 70 clients after only two years of running her own show.
And that was without any social media or marketing! How did she accomplish such a feat? It’s because Danielle knows that the secret lies in building relationships. As she put it, “I don’t want to milk this cow. I want to own the farm!”
That means her goal is to attract as many clients as possible and build mutually beneficial relationships. And after that, Danielle can rely on referrals from her customers and their accountants to attract more leads.
From the jump, she knew that was the winning strategy.
You see, she started her business with a gentleman whom she knew and who referred her to a few clients. And soon after, she joined a networking group where she attracted even more clients and established herself as a top authority.
Networking was essential to the growth of her business. Still, understand that keeping the big-ticket clients is not the same as landing them. That’s why you need to find out how you can attract those clients and nurture your relationship over the long haul.
And this article will help you do just that.
How to Go from Zero to More Clients Than You Can Handle
It’s safe to say that some bookkeepers don’t have enough clients. But there are also those who don’t know what to do with all the clients that are beating down their doors.
Now, you may argue that the successful ones offer better services, which could be true. But if you’re to ask Danielle, she’d single out integrity as the key factor. For her, the cornerstone of excellent client relationships and getting more people on board is putting yourself 100% into what you do. In fact, some of her clients even describe her as a drill sergeant, which is not a bad thing.
She’s a no-nonsense professional. If clients want to get something done quickly and effectively, they give the job to her. The good news is that you can develop the same level of integrity and dedication to drive more people towards your business. You just have to know who is vital for nurturing the relationship with your clients and getting more leads.
To start with, you need to build a strong relationship with your client’s accountant, just like Danielle did. It’s because they’re almost like a stakeholder in your client’s business since they’re the end-user of your product.
So, you should redouble your efforts to create a structured system that allows you to deliver neat and organized documents to the accountant, for example. It’ll make them happy since it’ll save them time, energy, and effort. Simply put, your great work and diligence make these accountants more efficient and productive. As such, they won’t hesitate to recommend your services to others. And at that point, you just have to convert the referrals into clients and set the scene for building a great relationship.
For instance, you can offer a free one-hour consultation where you explain everything about how you approach the work. On top of that, engagement letters help bring clients on board by spelling out all the requirements on their end.
Three Key Elements to Building Strong Relationships
Element #1 - Having Conviction
The goal is to educate the client right away and show them how your work will bring money - they need to see your conviction about it. In doing so, it gives them peace of mind that you’re going to do what you promise.
And there’s also leadership in conviction.
The sad fact is that people overlook bookkeepers because most of them don’t display leadership skills. After all, they just quietly come in and do great work.
But if nobody knows how transformative your work is, they won’t know how to value it or rave about it. So, you really must toot your own horn a bit and show strong conviction in your core competencies. And no, doing that won’t send the wrong message to your clients. Quite the contrary, as they’re looking for a leader who knows what they’re doing.
Element #2 - The Curse of Knowledge
The curse of knowledge will have you believe that if you know something, everybody else would know it as well. But this just isn’t true.
Many business owners who do their own bookkeeping struggle because they don’t know how to do it properly. The amounts of documents required are just too overwhelming for them. And since business owners may not understand how to organize things in a structured way, their accountant - not a bookkeeper - would have to tie up the loose ends.
They believe that accountants and bookkeepers have the same job. Of course, that causes a lot of anxiety and stress for both parties. To avoid that, you should educate business owners about the correct approach. Do your best to snap out of the curse of knowledge mindset and be the champion of the industry by explaining to business owners the importance of keeping neat books.
Element #3 - Bookkeepers Impact a Business
How impactful do you think a good bookkeeper is?
Understand that their impact is so great that it can make the difference between having average and excellent business results. That’s particularly true for small business owners.
As a bookkeeper, you need to remember that you have the power to help your client save money, streamline paperwork, and become more efficient. Therefore, there’s no reason to hide that from everybody, which goes together with the idea that you should educate your clients.
So, don’t hesitate to promote your services and tell the client exactly how you’re going to help their business. By doing that, you’re setting expectations for your relationship and helping them understand how critical they are to your business.
Build Relationships for Success
Without a doubt, your business relationships are among the most powerful tools for attracting more clients.
But before you go out and network, think about what makes you stand out from other bookkeepers. Ideally, you should have a system that helps your clients save money, improve efficiency, and reduce the stress of administrative work.
When you find your competitive advantage, start promoting it without hesitations. After all, many business owners don’t actually realize the critical contributions of accountants and bookkeepers.
To learn more about growing a successful bookkeeping practice, you might want to: