How do you attract clients? This is normally one of the first questions I ask my clients. After all, many of my clients are working with me to help them build their client portfolio. However, it is amazing how many of my clients are trusting to luck for the phone to ring. Luck or hope is never the best strategy to increase your client portfolio! Experience tells me that you need both a strategy and activities to implement the strategy. If you know why you are doing these activities, you are more likely to be successful at building your client portfolio.
There are 7 common ways that accountants, lawyers and consultants can attract clients and increase their client portfolio
Normally a professional advisor will attract them in one or two main ways. For example, I was talking with a managing partner of a strong regional accountancy practice recently, and they found they got 95% of their new clients via referrals. I was talking with a small surveying practice and they found that 40% of their business came from their membership of BNI. If you find that you are utilising three or more of these ways, take a look at the efficiency of your marketing mix. It is extremely likely that one of these ways is not yielding a good rate of return.
“It is a must for any one in a professional career that wants to get ahead.”
- An idea of the size of client portfolio you will need to be a partner in a Big 4 firm
- what due diligence should I do on my firm before buying in
- Doing your due diligence: How to assess if your firm is solvent
- the definitive guide to building a business case for partnership
- See whether you are a good fit for partner in your firm
Networking: This is where your clients and advocates ‘sell’ your services to others. This is normally the best way for professionals to build up their own client portfolio. But, how many of us have a networking strategy in place to help make this happen? Or do you just leave this to chance?
Trade shows, professional associations and formal networks: This is where contacts sell your service. This is often used very successfully by the large alliances and formal networks of small professional practices. If you are the appointed representative of the alliance for the firm, you may be more successful at generating leads via this route.
Sales calls: This is where a team of business development professionals or telemarketers sell your service. In fact this is a favourite of accountants – and can work reasonable well. However, this is an expensive option to generate leads, and your firm may not be happy to use telemarketing for you to generate your client portfolio.
TV, radio or print ads: This is where you are using advertising to sell your service, which normally doesn’t work very effectively for professional services. It is unlikely to help you quickly generate a client portfolio. You may find that the leads generated by these means are all routed via the partners, to help them grow their client portfolio…
Product demonstrations, free sessions: Your services sell themselves – e.g. free teleseminar. This can work exceptionally effectively for professionals trying to growing their own portfolio. These take time and effort. It’s not always easy to get the right bums on seats. Both these reasons can often be a barrier to making this happen. Our book, ‘The Go-To Expert‘ includes a whole chapter on how to sell using seminars.
Websites and newsletters: Internet information sells your services. This is a great method to help you grow your own brand and reputations; regardless of what marketing and BD activity the partners and firm is doing generally. Our book, ‘The Go-To Expert’ includes two chapters on how to use your website and content to generate new business.
Placement and appearance of buildings: Your location sells your service. This can work if you are in the right place. However, any decent leads from ‘walk in’ potential clients will probably be routed to the partners. If you let the receptionist know that you are happy to talk to anyone who wants to speak to a lawyer, accountant, architect, you may find that you get these leads routed to you first.
You will have your own optimum mix of marketing activities to grow your own client portfolio. To many activities and you will be spread too thinly, too little activities and you wouldn’t be getting enough leads.
Which methods are you focusing on? Are they working for you?
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