Before a newly started accounting firm begins to casually approach probable customers, it is important to build a systematic methodology for customer acquisition – this will keep the firm away from replicating efforts or missing evident things. To begin with, a firm must create a database where details such as business name, key decision makers of the business, contact information (phone number, e-mail address) of decision makers’ must be captured. While an individual is exploring details about different businesses and their owners, look for points around shared aims which can be referred to in a conversation. As an individual begins to contact the business owners, make a note of the minutes of the meeting. A quick statement or two about how the meeting went, what was discussed etc. will be helpful. If an individual learns anything particular about them, make a note of that as well. Later, when the owner or a sales representative of the firm reaches out to customers, to follow-up, they won’t have a problem setting the context. Another method to follow-up with customers is to send them e-mails.
Below mentioned steps can be followed while approaching clients for an accounting/bookkeeping firm:
Identify the Target Audience
Identifying the target audience can provide insight about the market and the people who essentially need the services. Bookkeeping services are essential for all type of businesses. Selecting the target audience depends on the firm’s expertise, available resources etc. – narrow down to the exact type of clients and spend time and money on the correct ones. To identify the target audience, begin with answering the following questions:
- Is there a particular industry that has numerous businesses in a local area such as automotive, garments, professional services etc.?
- Which are the high net worth businesses in a local area?
Focus on the client’s pain points, and try to find answers to the following questions:
- What are the main pain points of a business?
- How much time an organisation spends, internally, to manage payroll, books and similar processes?
- What benefits an accounting firm can provide a business? – focus on a WIN-WIN situation for both
Marketing and Promoting the Business
In this day and age, having a website is just as essential as having business cards. A good website enables a business to reach more customers and expand its reach globally. Additionally, Google advertising is a very effective way of marketing the business. Few ways to promote a business through Google advertising are:
- Paid Google results: Through the pay per click service, businesses have a greater chance of their website featuring on the first page of a Google search
- Local results: List the newly started accounting and bookkeeping firm in the firm’s local area. Characteristically, the locations nearby to the individual’s location will show up first
Another practical way to build up clients is by visiting the freelancer websites that out-and-out help businesses to discover qualified freelance accountants and bookkeepers. Most of these websites a free to use, however, will charge a certain fee if the newly formed firm gets a project through their website. In order to find freelance accounting jobs, follow the below mentioned steps:
- Sign up for all the authentic free job site
- Complete the user profile including work experience, skills, and services offered (including rate per hour/project)
- Sign up to get job alerts
Furthermore, accounting and bookkeeping firms can create a professional social media account to promote their business. Popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter can help the business to expand their customer base. Below mentioned steps can be followed to use social media for business purpose:
- Create a social media account for business purpose: It is advised not to use a prevailing personal account, with personal posts and photos, for business purpose. Keep the business and personal accounts separate
- Complete the business profile: Add information about qualification, services provided (taxation; merger and acquisition; accounting; auditing) and other relevant information
- Follow people within the industry: Conduct a peer analysis to assess the content posted by them and how they work together with their followers
- Establish a agenda of when to post content and stick to it: Keep the social media page active and use relevant #tags to enhance viewership
Start Networking – Join meet-up Groups
Join a local discussion groups such as Toastmasters to present the business ideas to a wider group – this will help to reach many local clients. Also, make a list of colleges and universities alumnus and try to approach them with the services provided
Business Network International (BNI) is an American franchised networking firm with ~233,000 associates in 8,399 local chapters globally. Associates meet once-a-week to have a discussion about business ideas, new business trends, and support each other's trades by sharing referrals. BNI has an office in India, and its associates are helping each other to build a robust customer base. Below mentioned is the address of BNI India:
BNI India, number 2002, 100 Feet Road
Salarpuria Landmark Building
Bangalore, Karnataka, India
Use Business Development Tools
Firms can use business development tools to get more clients:
- LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a forward-thinking sales tool that helps organisations, sales teams, and individuals to build and develop customer relationships on the network. With LinkedIn Sales Navigator, account holders can reach the exact customers through the search and filter options
- ZoomInfo is a business-to-business (B2B) contact data provider. It’s a paid database and provides information about key company contacts, their designation, e-mail address, office phone number, mobile number etc.
Use of Secure and Cloud-based Tools
In order to acquire and retain clients, a new firm must ensure that it has the latest tools and also, make certain that the client’s business data is secure. Modern cloud-based accounting tools enable clients for access data on the move. Cloud computing is a style of computing in which scalable and elastic IT-enabled competences are delivered as a service using internet technologies. Cloud IaaS is a type of cloud computing service; it parallels the infrastructure and data center initiatives of IT. Cloud IaaS includes not just the resources themselves, but also the automated management of those resources, management tools delivered as services and cloud software infrastructure services. Cloud compute IaaS are highly automated offering, where compute resources, accompanied by storage and networking capabilities, are owned by a service provider and offered to the client on demand. The resources are accessible and elastic in near real time, and metered by use. Self-service interfaces are exposed directly to the client, including a web-based UI and an API. Another key focus area is cyber-security – keeping the client data secure from cyber-attacks
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