Professional referrals are the lifeblood of any service industry. For accounting professionals, they are particularly valuable because of the importance and sensitivity of financial management. When a customer's wealth is on the line, a recommendation can go a long way toward building confidence. By understanding the unspoken rules of referrals, you can navigate the process successfully and bring in more new clients.
Offer High Performance
There is a certain element of risk associated with hiring an accountant; after all, clients are entrusting you with a portion of their finances. When it comes to getting professional referrals, the single most important rule is to offer consistently high performance. When other professionals refer a potential client to you, they are putting their own names on the line. If you perform poorly, it reflects badly on the referral source — especially given the level of emotion surrounding money. By focusing your energy on offering accurate, speedy services that benefit your clients' financial well-being, you can build a reputation of competence and integrity. In the process, you'll create happy clients who are delighted to include you in their professional referrals.
Networking is a crucial factor in getting professional referrals. If other business professionals do not know you, they cannot refer clients to you. Get involved in local chapters of financial, real estate, legal or construction associations. Attend events, and establish a presence in the business community. Over time, your name will come to mind when one of your connections is asked about local accountants. In addition to building relationships, offer referrals of your own. Make a conscious effort to notice what people need, and introduce them to people who can help. Use your unique insight into the financial world to connect startup managers with potential CFOs, for example, or introduce an entrepreneur to a reputable tax attorney. Mention open positions to people you know are looking for a change. When you identify needs and offer value, people will want to help in return.
Modern professionals are bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information each day. To stay relevant and increase your chances of professional referrals, you must become a master of communication. Add your contacts to your social media networks, and send out regular updates. Include them in your company's monthly mailing list. Share content that you think others might find useful in their own businesses. By maintaining a low-level but regular stream of communication, you can increase visibility. When a client is asked for a recommendation for a good accountant, your name may be more likely to come up.
Accounting professionals can live and die by the strength of their professional referrals. By ensuring that your services are top-notch and by creating value for influential people in your network, you can increase the chances of bringing in qualified client leads.
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