Marketing Networking Referrals

How to Get Your Next 50 Bookkeeping Clients For FREE

To build a successful and profitable bookkeeping firm, you have to grow your client base. Below are 4 proven ways to land your next 50 clients without spending a dime on marketing.

How to Get Your Next 50 Bookkeeping Clients For FREE

Whether you’re starting from the ground level or an established bookkeeping firm, finding new clients is one of the most difficult parts of growing your practice.

You can easily waste a lot of time and money on marketing without anything to show for it. Yet, if you want to build a successful and profitable bookkeeping firm, you have to grow your client base. Below are 4 proven ways to land your next 50 clients without spending a dime on marketing.

1) Establish Referral Partnerships

Adp Referral Program
Adp Referral Program

Referral partnerships are one of the most effective ways to get new clients.

You can establish a referral partnership with professionals who have clients that need accounting and bookkeeping services. In turn, you’ll have a constance flow of new leads and clients.

Below is a short list of the best professionals for bookkeepers and accountants to partner with:

  • Bankers
  • Attorneys
  • Insurance agents
  • Real estate agents
  • Marketing consultants
  • Financial advisors

To clarify, you are not looking for one-time referrals. You want to establish a partnership that will result in a consistent flow of quality referrals over a long period of time.

Below are a few tips to help you build a long-lasting partnership with your referral partners:

  • Grab coffee or lunch
    • Don’t just shake hands at a networking event and ask for referrals. They need to know, like, and trust you before they send you new business. Grab coffee or lunch and get to know them.
  • Meet with them regularly
    • Just like any other relationship, you need to nurture your relationship with referral partners so it doesn’t go stale. Meet with them every 2 – 3 months, so you stay fresh in their mind when a referral opportunity comes up.
  • Hand them a stack of your business cards
    • It’s not uncommon for people to forget information after they’ve been referred to a company.  To prevent this, give your partners a stack of your business cards to give their clients.
  • Clarify your ideal referral
    • Tell your referral partner what your ideal referral is. For example: what specific industries you serve, the types of services you offer, etc. It’s important to clarify this to guarantee quality referrals.

2) Ask Your Clients for Referrals

If you already have clients, this is one of the quickest ways to get referrals. Your clients already know, like and trust you, so you don’t have to spend time establishing a relationship. All you have to do it ask!

Here is a proven template to use when asking your clients for new referrals via email:

“Hey {client name} – it’s been a pleasure working with you. If you know anyone who’s in a similar situation to yourself, we’d love you to give them a discount for our services. One of the reasons we have been able to keep the costs down of our bookkeeping & accounting services for you is because we get most of our business through referrals from clients like you. I typically get about 3 referrals from every client, but would appreciate anyone you could send our way!”

There are several reasons why this template has been so successful:

  • We are acknowledging them and how great it’s been working with them
  • We are not asking for a favour, but offering something valuable they can give to someone in their network
  • We give them a reason to refer us by using something that directly benefits them
  • We create an expectation of how many referrals we would like without being too pushy

Bonus tip: Here are a few other great ways to ask for referrals

  • Ask with your email signature – “Referrals are welcome and appreciated”
  • Social media – Make a post about how you are looking for referrals and offering discounts
  • Ask verbally – Ask your clients for referrals when you speak to them on the phone or meet with them in person

3) Attend Networking Groups & Events

How To Get Your Next 50 Bookkeeping Clients For Free 2
Photo By Product School On Unsplash

This can be a great way to find new clients. Imagine a room full of your ideal clients or referral partners. You could easily walk away with several new leads after just one event! Below are 3 ways to find networking events in your area.

  • Attend events hosted by local business organizations
    • Every city has local organizations that constantly host events for small businesses. These events are great for meeting potential clients and new referral partners. Below are three prime examples that most cities have. Visit their websites and pick at least two events they are hosting this month to attend.
      • Chamber of Commerce
      • Local Entrepreneurship Center
      • Small Business Development Center
  • Join networking groups
    • Networking groups are dedicated to helping business owners grow their networks and generate referrals. These groups meet regularly, which allows you to establish strong relationships with the members, which will generate more referrals. Check if you have either of these two networking group below in your city.
      • Business Network Today (BNI)
        • Currently has the world’s largest referral network with over 120,000 active members.
      • Network Today
        • Very similar to BNI, but more casual. They typically meet up on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Use networking apps
    • There are so many apps that help you find great networking groups and events in your area. Our favourites apps are:
      • Meetup: This is great for finding common groups that meet regularly in your area. There is a group for just about everything on this site, so it’s a great way to find groups that consist of your ideal clients or referral partners.
      • Eventbrite is a great way to find events in your area. You can easily see all the events coming up and even filter them down to networking events, industry events, etc.

4) Sign Up on Freelancing Sites

Upwork Dashboard
Upwork Dashboard

This has become a more popular way to find clients recently. These sites are full of people looking for accountants and bookkeepers. Below, are the most popular freelance sites that people use to find accounting and bookkeeping jobs:

All you have to do is apply for the jobs posted there. Below are a few tips to help you get started.

  • Put together a strong proposal
    • There will be other people applying for the jobs, so you need to have a proposal that shows you are qualified and professional – this is your selling point and it’s important to spend time developing it.
  • Keep applying
    • Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get the first job you apply for. Typically, you have to apply to 10-15 jobs before you land one, so make sure you keep applying.
  • Save your proposal
    • As mentioned above, you are going to need to apply to 10 -15 jobs before landing one. Save your pitch somewhere to copy and paste into the form when applying so you don’t have to retype it every single time – it will save you a tremendous amount of time.
  • Establish a long-term relationship
    • Some postings will be one time jobs, but don’t let that deter you. If you do well, they will want to work with you again. After the first job, ask them if they would like to become a regular client. 

The Take-Away

Don’t try to implement these methods all at once, you will spread yourself too thin. Focus on executing each method one at a time, so you can give each one the time and focus needed to implement them properly. If you follow this advice, you will establish a lead engine that will constantly generate you new clients and grow your firm.

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By Shahram Zarshenas

Founder at Financial Cents

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