By Patrick McLoughlin
Referrals are without doubt the most successful type of sales leads accountancy marketing can deliver. Their conversion rate offers you a massive advantage over outbound marketing leads (outbound marketing involves you reaching out to potential clients).
Referrals work because they transfer trust and credibility, from the referrer, to your potential client. Trust and credibility are the essential building blocks of winning business for professional service firms.
But, assuming you marketing extends beyond a referrals strategy, how can you harness their power throughout your new business development? If you are involved in marketing accounting services the simple option is testimonials and case studies.
Building effective testimonials is a piece of cake
Where to get your Testimonials
More than likely you are already sitting on a bank of testimonials. Look through your client’s emails and letters. They don’t have to run for paragraphs. It might just be a note thanking you for ‘doing a great job,’ or ‘going the extra mile.’ Get in touch, flesh them out, and you are up and running.
Otherwise approach clients and make it easy for them to help you. Ask them to describe, in just a couple of sentences, what they like about working with you. Then get their response over to them for authorisation. It saves a lot of time and embarrassment in chasing them up.
The next time a client tells you how happy they are with your work ask them if they would mind you using their comments in your marketing. Who would say no to that?
Client care research is also a great tool for unearthing the gold dust.
4 Tips for Client Generating Testimonials / Case Studies
1) Be Specific
The more specific you are, the more convincing you will be. Which of the following comments sounds more enticing?
“David is an excellent accountant. I can whole heartedly recommend Smith & Co to anyone looking for a new accountant.”
“David’s in-depth review of the business has saved us over £10,000 per year.”
2) Address Objections
Case studies are a great opportunity to align yourself to the concerns and problems your ideal clients are experiencing.
Let me give you an example. One of the most popular services A4G provides is ‘New Client Introductions’ – telephone made sales appointments for accountants. I know that many practices have attempted telemarketing and struggled. Therefore, many accountants approach this service with suspicion.
To hold their interest I want our testimonials to acknowledge this and demonstrate that we provide an incomparable service. See the first words of the testimonial below from Chris Martin of Beyond Profit in Dunstable:
“We’ve used telemarketing companies before, for our accounting services, and we’ve not had an awful lot of joy with them. When we spoke to you it was clear that you were a different sort of firm…..”
3) Make them Convincing
Make sure the language you use sounds natural. Resist the temptation to slip into corporate formality. Make sure you bring the story to life by listing the full contact and business names of those involved.
If possible, use pictures and links to their website. The more they appear to be ‘just like me’ – your ideal client, the greater the impact.
For maximum impact, video your testimonials and case study.
4) Where to use them
LinkedIn allows you to gather and detail endless recommendations on your personal and practice profile. LinkedIn is the social media platform for professional services. The quality and quantity of your recommendations differentiates you from your competitors.
Testimonials and case studies are so powerful you can use them throughout your website. Don’t just dedicate a page to them. Rather than listing your services, like every other accountant’s website, use testimonials / case studies to bring them to life.