Newsflash: your ideal clients aren’t going to come looking for you. You need to take action to get their attention and prove that you’re the problem-solver they need, and you can use these three no-cost tactics to do so.
If you’re reading this article, then the chances are you’re not being seen by your ideal clients. Perhaps you’ve only been in business for a year or two and have received a handful of clients through referrals from friends and family. However, this approach certainly won’t allow you to build the freedom practice you’ve always dreamed of.
Your ideal clients aren’t going to seek you out, so you need to stand up and be noticed. Many accountants and bookkeepers believe that client generation is all about expensive advertisements and sophisticated marketing campaigns, but this is not the case.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the three no-cost ways of attracting your ideal clients to your accounting or bookkeeping practice.
#1 – Be Seen
Yes, there are people out there who are looking for accountants, but they’re not actively looking. They don’t take hours out of their day to trawl the internet for a great accountant or bookkeeper just like you – the pain is never that great.
What they ARE doing is scrolling through social media and interacting with their friends online. They see the practice owners who continue to show up and share value every day. If they can’t see you, they will choose somebody else.
When I teach accountants about the power of being seen, I often think back to my childhood when I used to attend church every week with my family. I still remember the congregation members who stood up, organised events and did readings every week.
I remember more than just their faces. I knew all about their likes, dislikes and their lives outside of the church. I built relationships with those people, because they were seen.
I don’t remember the people who sat quietly at the back.
Being seen means showing up religiously – pun fully intended. So how do you go about this?
One way is through networking at events where you’ll have access to a huge audience of your ideal clients. You can’t just skulk around and hand out a few business cards; you should be the one standing at the front educating the audience, giving advice and actively demonstrating how you can solve their problems.
Online marketing is another powerful tool in your arsenal. Take advantage of all of the social media channels at your fingertips, from LinkedIn to Tiktok and everything in between. But beware: posting once a week isn’t enough. In order to be seen online, you need to show up every single day.
Another way to be seen is to organise meetups and events for your ideal clients, be it in person or via Zoom.
Let’s say tradespeople are your ideal clients. You could reach out to local tradespeople and organise a Zoom meeting for them to network and get to know one another. By organising the event and being the person who presents at the beginning, you ensure that you’re seen by all of them.
Getting involved in the community is a very powerful way of attracting clients. Advertising on a roundabout flower bed in your town won’t get you clients, but becoming a prominent member of local organisations will. People buy people.
Write down all of the ways that you can be more visible and show up at the front of the room. When you put this into action, I guarantee that more opportunities will come your way.
#2 – Be Heard
Being seen is necessary but it isn’t enough. You need to be heard.
Of course, this is easier said than done. The airways are jammed. As an accountant or bookkeeper, you have a lot of valuable knowledge to share but you don’t know how to cut through the noise.
The best way to be heard is to understand your ideal client. You must go from a generalist to a specialist.
To be seen, it’s possible to be all things to all people but to be heard, you have to narrow your focus. You have to speak directly to your niche – and only your niche.
In order to be heard, you need to get clear on who you’re talking to and understand what their lives are like. You need to have conversations with your audience to get clear on their fears and aspirations so that you can create content to address these issues.
It’s not just about having the right message; you need the right medium, too. Amongst the same audience, different people consume content in different ways.
There are four key types of content you should be putting out there:
- Videos. Some audience members like to engage and see the face behind the information they’re getting.
- Written content. Others prefer to read you content via blogs and social media channels.
- Audio. This is why so many businesspeople launch podcasts. Some of your prospects want to plug you in and listen to your dulcet tones while they empty their dishwasher.
- Interaction. Certain people prefer a two-way communication. They don’t just want to hear you; they need to be heard themselves. This is where online interactive tools come in, such as direct messages, polls, scorecards and Facebook groups.
You also need to know where your ideal clients are hanging out, and at what times of day. The most popular time of day tends to be early morning or evening, but this varies across different industries and demographics.
#3 Be Helpful
Last, but certainly not least, you have to be helpful.
You need to be seen and heard in order to be able to help… but if you can’t deliver on this third tactic, the previous two steps will count for very little.
The most obvious way to be helpful is to share your expertise with your audience. Show up and provide training, tips and tools that are relevant to your industry. A few ideas include:
- How to use Xero or QuickBooks
- Saving money in tax
- Avoiding tax scams
- Managing cash flow
- Creating a business budget
When you show your prospects what they need to do, you encourage them to come to you to handle the ‘how’.
Your ideal clients also have problems that you can’t solve for them as an accountant or bookkeeper, but you can still be helpful.
I call this ‘the Oprah effect.’
The reason why Oprah is so amazing and has found such success is because she helps people. Not just by giving away free cars, but by providing tips, views and ideas that have an impact for good.
Oprah doesn’t simply share her own knowledge and opinions. She provides a platform for others to come along and educate her viewers. She effectively leverages others’ expertise to build her audience, and thus her empire.
So how can you use Oprah’s tactics to provide value to your audience?
A great way to start is to create or find a list of people who serve your clients, whether that’s marketers, recruitment agencies or web developers. These should be professionals who serve your audience, but in a different way than you do.
However, the most important way you can be helpful is not giving away freebies or content. It’s making offers.
Contrary to popular belief, selling is NOT the antithesis of helping. After all, you’re selling a service that will transform your clients lives and provide a solution to their struggles. It’s the most helpful thing you can do.
This isn’t about saying “buy my stuff.” It’s about taking your prospects on a journey. You need to be seen, be heard and share value but ultimately, you provide the most help by offering a solution your audience can buy.
Of course, these three no-cost tactics require you to flex your discipline muscle and deliver consistently.
Procrastination will get you nowhere. Don’t sit there and say “now isn’t the right time” or “I’ll start next month when I’m not so busy.”
If you want to build a freedom practice and attract high value clients, you need to take action today, because your competitors are out there doing it already. They’re starting today, and if you don’t, they’re going to snap up the clients that could have been yours.
Take action now. Be seen, be heard and be helpful.