Whether you’re starting from the ground level or an established bookkeeping firm, finding new bookkeeping 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 bookkeeping clients without spending a dime on marketing.

4 Ways to Get Your Next 50 Bookkeeping Clients for Free

  1. Establish referral partnerships
  2. Ask your bookkeeping clients for referrals
  3. Attend networking groups and conferences
  4. Sign up on freelancing sites.

1) Establish Referral Partnerships

bookkeeping clients - ADP Referral Program
How to Get Your Next 50 Bookkeeping Clients For FREE

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

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

Below is a short list of the best professionals 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.

Tips to Build Lasting Partnership with Your Referral Partners

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 you, like you, and trust you before they send you new business. Grab coffee or lunch and get to know them.

  • Meet with them regularly

Just like other relationships, you need to nurture your relationships with referral partners so they don’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

People often forget information after they’ve been referred to a company.  To prevent this, give your partners a stack of your business cards to give to their clients.

  • Clarify what you’re looking for

Tell your referral partner what specific industries you serve and the types of services you offer. It’s important to clarify this to guarantee quality referrals.

2) Ask Your Bookkeeping Clients for Referrals

If you already have clients, this is one of the quickest ways to get referrals. Your clients already know you, like you, 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 that it’s been great working with them
  • Instead of asking for a favor, we’re offering something valuable that they can give to someone in their network
  • We’re giving them a reason to refer us by using something that directly benefits them
  • We’re creating 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 an email signature, saying something like: “Referrals are welcome and appreciated”
  • Social media: Make a post about looking for referrals, and offer 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 & Conferences

How to Get Your Next 50 Bookkeeping Clients For FREE

Networking groups can provide a great place 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 accounting conferences/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 bookkeeping clients and new referral partners. Below are three prime examples that most cities have. Visit their websites and try to attend at least two events they are hosting this month.

Networking groups are dedicated to helping business owners grow their networks and generate referrals. These groups meet regularly, allowing you to establish strong relationships with the members, which generates more referrals. Here are two networking groups that may be in your city.

Currently has the world’s largest referral network with over 120,000 active members.

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 favorite 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 and industry events.

4) Sign Up on Freelancing Sites

Upwork Dashboard

Recently, freelancing websites have become a popular place to find clients, including bookkeeping clients. 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 to copy and paste into the form so you don’t have to retype it every single time.

  • Establish long-term relationships

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’d like to become a regular client. 

The Take-Away

Don’t try to implement these methods all at once; you don’t want to spread yourself too thin. Instead, execute each method one at a time, so you have the time and focus to implement them properly.

By doing this, you will establish a lead engine that will constantly generate new bookkeeping clients and grow your firm.

And at Financial Cents, we can’t wait to help you succeed! That’s why we offer numerous services designed to help you grow your firm, including: