On February 15 this year, Sarah Twigg of Twigg Accountancy Services shared with Jo Wood and Zoe Whitman of 6 Figure Bookkeeper that she was now fully booked. Sarah also said she was earning more running her practice than the salary she used to earn as an employee.
Her business started trading in January.
Given how many times we have conversations with bookkeepers who are struggling to find clients, such a claim might seem unbelievable.
In fact, Sarah told us that she didn’t just have the leads who became clients, she had 40 enquiries in that short time, and didn’t take them all on.
How can somebody like Sarah, new in practice, find so many clients so quickly, and how did she find clients who were ready to pay the right fees for the work she wanted to and was most skilled at doing, allowing Sarah to leave her job and go all-in on self employment?
While many practitioners would quickly put down such exceptional growth to an investment into paid ads, cold calling, discounts or any of the other standard tools in a practitioner’s arsenal, readers may be surprised to learn that Sarah required none of these.
Instead, she utilized a set of tools that any one of us can implement in business. So whether you’re new in practice or looking to reach more clients for your growing firm, here are three ways to quickly reach new clients.
1. Use Your Network
One of the secrets to Sarah’s success was her existing network. Whether you have clients or not, somebody you know directly or through other contacts runs a business and needs your help.
The first way to reach new clients is to spread the word amongst your network. This can include family and friends, your network of small business owners, your teams’ networks, networking events, and even your existing clients.
To do this effectively, you need to be really clear in explaining what you do and what you can help with. Our families and friends are great cheerleaders for our businesses, but that only helps us when they are able to explain what it is that we do.
Your existing clients might be additionally incentivized to refer you when there’s a referral scheme or a gift voucher on offer, if your existing clients already love you though, simply ask them to spread the word or to make one or two introductions. It doesn’t have to cost a penny.
Tip: Ask to be introduced in an email or social media message, so you are brought into the conversation at the earliest opportunity and can follow up.
2. Embrace Social Media
The second secret to Sarah’s success was that she’d established herself within a niche, using a social media platform her ideal clients were using.
Sarah is also an artist, connected with a lot of creative businesses and has a strong presence on Facebook. Her previous connections already knew the real Sarah, so when she announced her new business and was able to communicate in a way that showed that she knew her clients’ struggles, it became clear that she was the best option.
This level of trust happened because Sarah shares her true self online. She’s an artist and a gamer; she uses funny “twigg” related puns regularly. It’s this comfortable and approachable demeanor that helps her reach the right audience.
Tip: It’s tempting to post as your business online – don’t. Be yourself and be the face of your business. Your personality will sell.
3. Give Your Time
Being more visible matters. That means getting into rooms filled with people you want to meet.
The best way to do that is to be an expert and to support those people with something they need. That might mean hosting design thinking sessions to come up with a new service or niche.
Once you find a service that is relevant for the client base you want to attract, you could put together a training session, followed by an accounts “surgery”, and run it regularly at the business events spaces your ideal client is likely to spend time at. This will give you the opportunity to talk to business owners who could become clients – or could recommend others who will.
Tip: It’s essential to know who you want to reach to identify where to run these sessions, but gifting your time builds relationships and will lead to clients and further referrals.
Each of these three ways of reaching new clients ultimately come back to personal branding. A long-term personal branding strategy will help you find clients over and over again, long after your friends and family have understood what a bookkeeper does and mentioned you to everyone they know.
Personal brand is something so many bookkeepers resist, but it matters and Sarah’s proven it. Know who you want to become your clients, find out where they are, connect with them, and start to speak their language so you are always front of mind.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, AccountingWEB UK. It has been edited for a US audience; the original article can be found here.