How do you ask for referrals? Do you have a script or a template? Do you find yourself wanting to try something new and creative?
Referrals can be FUN! Being creative with your referral process can bring fun to your business, and increase the number of referrals that you get – and bring you those ideal clients you love to help so you can have a firm of abundance. We all know the importance of asking for referrals.
By taking a few simple actions, you can set yourself apart in the industry, making your ideal clients continue to send more clients to you so you can have the firm of abundance.
Are you ready to set yourself apart by being creative in asking for referrals?
Encouraging referrals is one of the best ways to get new business – I get requests all the time asking for creative ways in attracting the RIGHT referrals. So what are some new and unique ways to get new referrals, and new ways to gain business?
How can you get beyond the scripts and templates, and creatively ask for those referrals to have the firm of abundance?
In this episode of The Abundant Accountant podcast, I’m sharing The Pitch Queen’s 6 creative ways to encourage referrals from current clients.
If you’re ready to work with dream clients, do tasks that you enjoy doing more, and increase your revenue, then this episode of The Abundant Accountant Podcast is a MUST LISTEN!
Here are a few key secrets we talked about in this episode:
- Michelle shares why referral clients are important and will bring more life to your business.
- “Referrals are the key to the door of resistance” ~ Michelle Weinstein.
- Make asking for referrals easy! Keep referral cards handy so that your clients are able to quickly and easily give you potential future clients.
- Turn getting referrals into a game: get an Uncle Sam hat; add names, and draw a winner every month or so.
- Use your email list to connect with current clients in a fun way and ask for names of others who would be a good fit for you to work with. TIP! Make sure you know who your ideal client is.
- When you sign on new clients, donate a portion of the revenue to a good cause. Share this with your current client as they will be more likely to send great referrals your way!
- Incentivize referrals with exclusive benefits that only they get! Make a VIP club for your best referrers and give them exclusive value.
- Ask previous prospects for referrals who may be a good fit for your business.
- Make sure you ASK! You won’t get referrals if you don’t ask for them!
- Finally, Michelle ends by encouraging all accountants to implement these ideas into their business.
Learn More & Connect With Me Here!
P.P.S. Over the last 18 months, I’ve been perfecting something called the Selling Without Ever Selling System. Up until now only my high-end clients have had access to this information. But I’m so excited about this that I’m offering you a free coaching session so I can share this information with you too.
This system is all about getting your IDEAL clients coming to YOU and finally getting paid what you’re worth so you can build your dream practice and still have the time and money to enjoy your family and kids. If you’re tired of waiting around for business, relying on busy seasons, or guessing at what works, this free coaching session is for YOU.
Learn more at theabundantcall.com.
Listen to the podcast here
6 Creative Ways Accountants Can Encourage Referrals
I am talking about the creative ways for accountants to encourage referrals in our businesses. If you are in any form of business, this is imperative. Especially for my accountants out there and for your accounting firms, encouraging referrals is one of the best ways to gain new business. Numerous amount of accountants have contacted me.
I get emails all the time asking me for creative ways to engage and attract the right referrals, because not all referrals are great. We all know the common ways to get referrals, but maybe what are some unique ways to get new referrals and new ways to gain business. A lot of people have some scripts and templates already made. A lot of people do ask for referrals. A lot of people don’t ask for referrals, too, I’ve noticed.
In this episode, I will go over the six creative and effective ways for accountants to attract the right referrals because, again, not all referrals are great referrals. What will help you stand out and grow your firm and also improve your bottom line? In the show, what are we into? We are into having the firm of abundance.
In order to do that, we want to have referrals and clients of abundance. Abundance doesn’t always mean quantity. Abundance in my world means high quality, low volume. It’s not too many, but it’s the right client. That is what’s in store in this episode. In sales, a referral is the key to the door of resistance. If you think about that, a new client is sometimes hard to get or there’s this resistance or this wall, but when it comes through a referral source, and this is from Bo Bonnett, the author of the Year To Success. I love it. I always believe that a referral has a little less resistance. There’s a little less of a barrier between you and your new client.
If you really think about it, when you get a referral from somebody, the pressure’s off. I’ll give you an example because right now I am starting a new class for my accountants for eight weeks. One of the things that I thrive on is referrals. For me, they’re the best lead. It comes from, “Michelle knows her stuff.” I’ve worked in an accounting firm.
I understand that for most accountants, sales isn’t the most fun part of your firm and what you’re doing. In order to attract the clients that you want to help and serve, what if you got amazing referrals, like the high-value clients you want to work with? What if you got another referral? I’ll give you an example. I was talking to Scott, one of my students. Scott is working with this new brain surgeon. What if the brain surgeon referred his co-partner from surgery and got another brain surgeon? Don’t you think that that brain surgeon would trust Scott a lot higher than maybe a brand new client that just found Scott online? The barrier of the resistance is removed when the one brain surgeon tells the other brain surgeon.
Follow Up On The Process
That’s what I mean by removing the resistance away from that. The first key element to all of this is not forgetting the basics. With any referral system, the number one thing, and I’m sure you’ve heard me talk about it before, is know who you want to work with. We need to avoid getting the referrals that are less than ideal clients.
Not every referral is a good referral. I’ve been referred other accountants to work with me who I think are great people, don’t get me wrong. I work with people who have an accounting firm that have been in business at least 2 to 3 years. The reason why is that for me to deliver the best results for you and to help you, it’s imperative that you’ve had a little bit of struggle on the sales side of things.Only get referrals that are ideal for your clients. Not every referral is a good referral. Click To Tweet
Maybe you’ve had a client sit in front of you and they said, “This sounds great, but I need to go talk to my husband,” or “I need to think about it,” or “It’s not a good time,” or “I don’t feel like switching accountants right now, it sounds like a lot of work.” If you’ve dealt with those kinds of challenges, I can help you overcome every single one of them.
For me, if I got a referral, a less than ideal client would be an example of someone who just started out. You just got your CPA. You started your own firm. You’re like, “I’m not going to go get a job.” Right now isn’t the best time to create the sales process to convert at a high level. I think you need to kick the tires around and experience what it’s like having a brand-new business.
If you don’t already have a referral system in place, I want to keep it simple. This shouldn’t be too overwhelming. I did go over this in one of the other episodes, if you want to go read that one. You might want to read that even before we dive in too deep in taking action in what we’re talking about. If you check that episode out, it will be helpful.
Number one, I understand that tax season typically is the busiest for you. If you’re an accountant reading right now, isn’t tax season the busiest time of year? The last time I checked in from all of my students I’ve had, it definitely is. One of the best ways to get referrals is to think about this. For every single new client and current client in your firm, what if you have them get a referral card filled out?
If you ask every client you see, or if you’re operating a virtual firm, think about having an electronic referral card that you can get a referral in for every new and current client. For example, let’s say you have 50 neurosurgeons or brain surgeons like Scott. Each brain surgeon filled out one referral card because they wanted to pass on your amazing service that you provided.
Maybe you do their monthly accounting because they have a side practice and they work in a hospital, or maybe you did some tax planning and you saved them $50,000 to $100,000 in taxes in a year. The thing is, is that we have to ask. We have to ask for the referrals. During the busiest time of year, and again, you can make some up, you can use index cards if you want to keep it simple.
Encourage your clients to fill out referral cards. It’s a great time to pick up referrals also during your slower months when you have more time to connect with your clients. If you’re running and operating a firm that’s virtual, the best way to do that is have Zoom calls, video calls, FaceTime calls, or WhatsApp calls. It’s better to actually pick up the phone and talk to them.
I always like to use the excuse of tax season, slow season, or whatever season it is. It’s a great time to ask. If we start asking, the referrals will start coming. I’ll give you an example. I was on the phone talking to Scott. We were going over some of his questions. I asked him for some referrals for our next class set starting. He reached out to two people while we were on the phone, and he also said that I can call him tomorrow to follow up to see if he got a response. It’s our job to make sure we also follow up on the process. That is the first way.
Make A Game Out Of It
The second way, I like to make a game out of it. I know that asking for referrals can sometimes be a little uncomfortable when you’re first getting started, but when you get your first 1 or 2, it’s a lot more fun. Let’s say you meet people in person and you’re seeing people in your firm. You can have them put a name in a hat. You can get a baseball cap or maybe an Uncle Sam hat for taxes.
Have your clients put people’s names in a hat. After a couple of months, maybe it’s a month, maybe it’s two months, draw a name from that hat and that person will win a prize. You can make the prizes anything that you feel is okay to give away. Obviously, in your industry, you have certain rules and regulations, which I understand, but prizes encourage more referrals.
If you’re not working in a virtual environment, if you’re seeing clients, especially during tax season or during your busier months, a great way is to encourage them to drop something in the hat to win, let’s say, a day at the spa with their significant other. Another idea would be Amazon gift cards. Who loves to shop at Amazon? I think we all do.
Entice Through Catchy Headlines
There are a bunch of ideas, but putting things inside a hat is really fun and encourages a lot. You can have your admin staff help you. If you don’t have a staff, you get to run the show. Prizes are something fun when you can make a game out of it. Another way to do this is having catchy headlines to entice referrals in your emails.
Maybe you want to send out an email blast to your client list to let them know that you’re running a referral game like, “Can we count you in?” “Help us help you.” “We’ve crunched the numbers. This is a win-win.” Those are all fun, catchy headlines that you can put in the subject line to send to your email list.
For me also, by the way, I do a lot of online giveaways. In the online giveaway space, you can also use the same thing we’re talking about here, where you’re creating not only an opportunity for your clients to win, but you can use online winner things. If they enter an online thing, then they can win prizes. Maybe you want to give away a Logitech camera as one of your giveaways to your clients if, let’s say, you’re working with entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs are very remote. They do a lot of meetings online on Zoom and it’s a great way to not only create engagement but make it fun. It’s getting referrals. This is all about gaining referrals and growing your business. I’ve done giveaways, I’ve done Amazon gift cards, and I also pay out referral fees of anywhere from up to $500 per new referral if they’re a good client. Whatever you feel comfortable within the guidelines of your industry. If you’re a CPA, you have certain rules you need to follow. Just keep that in mind.
Do It For A Cause
Another way is you can do it for a cause. Who has thought about maybe having a referral giveaway, but for a cause? What about a social cause? You feel good about doing it but let’s say that for every new referral that you bring in, you’re going to donate $100 of the revenue from that client to a particular charity in your area. It’s sort of like the TOMS method. If you’ve purchased TOMS shoes, they do a One-for-One. For every pair of TOMS shoes you purchase, they give a TOMS pair away as a donation.
I would think for a lot of the accountants I’ve worked with, and this is a great one. If you have a local cause, let’s say you’re in LA. In LA, there are a lot of fires right now. What about for every new referral sent to you, you would donate $100 to the fire rescue to help them with the shelters going on for all of the people who have lost their homes?
If you live in New York and the blizzards are about to come, you donate $100 of every single new client revenue to the blizzard shelter department in New York. Think about what’s ever closest to you in your city. This is a great opportunity to give back to your local community and make the referral seem very connected.
People want to help people. When we help each other, it’s like a domino effect. People want to refer. I get referrals all the time, but what’s the one thing I do is I ask. For me, I like to pay $500 per referral. For you, you might not want to do that, but for every person they refer, you can donate it to a local cause. What works best when you work with social cause and it’s tied to your firm, it could end world poverty.
Maybe you want to help people who don’t have a lot of money, or maybe you want to do something for the homeless. Think about what feels good to you. I think that is a great way to ask for referrals and share with the people that are referring to you what you’re going to do for that referral and tie it to a social cause.
Offer Unique Benefits/ Incentivize Referrals
The fifth thing is a great one that offers unique benefits. For those of you who have been reading for a while, discounting your value is never a good idea for accountants or any professional. There are other ways to incentivize referrals. One unique way is having a VIP club. What if you were to create a VIP club situation where you provide them the newest tax information first?Discounting your value is never a good idea for accountants or any professional. Click To Tweet
They’re like your VIP where they get the latest insights that are valuable that you can give, not for free, but for referrals. Let’s say out of your 100 clients, you get 20 of them to give you a referral, and they get entered into your VIP club. Your VIP club sends them a newsletter with the latest new tax information of the month. Let’s say it’s a once-a-month email.
That might be a very unique benefit that they’ve never had before. I know a lot of you might do some company swag, which means maybe a calendar, a mug. What is something that they can take back to their house, back to their office that reminds them of you as their CPA or accounting professional? That would be in addition to a VIP club or a referral-type program, giving it to a social cause.
I always believe in handwritten thank-you notes and gift cards if you feel comfortable giving away gift cards as the referral. iTunes. Who doesn’t love iTunes anymore or Amazon? I know the value of any referral for each of you is a minimum of $400 to $600. Some of your referrals, like Scott’s, will turn into $10,000, $20,000, $30,000 referrals.
A really nice handwritten thank you card that you can use a company called SendOutCards. They’ll actually hand write them out to you and send it. What if you did a handwritten card, an Amazon gift card, or an iTunes gift card in the same envelope? Wouldn’t that be amazing? Those are my other unique ideas that I don’t think any other CPAs or accountants are doing for their clients. Personally, I’ve never received anything like that for any referrals. You can set yourself apart from your competition that way.
Follow Up With Your Reach-Back-Out/Retarget List
The sixth way. This one is based off your boundaries checklist and having a follow-up plan. What about a lead that didn’t pass your boundaries check from before? Let’s say that you were working with a client Bob a year ago. Bob wasn’t a good client. You didn’t take him onto the firm, but it might be a good time to reach back out.
I call this your reach-back out list or your retarget list. People change, businesses grow, and following up is the most important rule for success, but also it’s the best way for referrals. You can get so much business by just following up. As long as you know it’s the right kind of person and you put them in a good follow-up plan.
Asking these people for referrals is also a great way. Let’s say you’re working with Joe, and Joe is not a good candidate for your business or not a good client for you. Joe might know a good client. Scott, for example, since we’ve been talking about Scott, he is working with brain surgeons. If Scott got someone who is in the real estate department or real estate investments, that person is not going to go into Scott’s firm.
However, the real estate investor might know of other brain surgeons. Scott could say, “Real estate investor, do you have any friends who are also brain surgeons? I’m looking to grow my firm with more brain surgeons. Most of the brain surgeons, I’ve been able to help them save anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 a year in taxes.”
“For any referral you do, I’m going to donate 1% of the total revenue that I generate to my local charity. The local charity that I’m helping, I live in LA and there are a bunch of fires right now. Due to all the fires, I want to make sure I can support the shelters and help them. For $40,000 in revenue, if I donate 1%, that’s going to go to the shelters of the fires that are going on.”
I’m giving you an idea on how you can ask for referral for even someone that’s not a good fit for your business. You can even integrate with the social cause. The social cause in that example was the fires and you’re going to donate 1% of revenue from the referral business that you generate. That’s an example. There are 1 million different examples. For one of my students, Carmen, she’s in Miami, and there’s a lot of hurricanes in Miami. Carmen works mostly with businesses that do over $250,000 in revenue.
For any business that doesn’t meet those criteria, she is going to get more referrals from other people that meet those needs. Also, for the business that’s doing $100,000, she might want to put them on the follow-up plan and follow up with them in about a 90-day period. Those are some examples of what I call a retarget referral list or a reach back out, or a follow-up referral list. Whatever suits you best. Keep that in mind.
My takeaway for each of you, because if you don’t put things into action then nothing ever happens, is apply 1 or 2 of these 6 ways to start encouraging more referrals from your happy clients. If you don’t have many clients, it doesn’t take much. You just need at least 1 or 2. The 1 or 2 will turn into 2 or 4. The 2 or 4 will turn into 6 or 8. The 6 or 8 will turn into 18 and 20.If you don't put things in action, nothing ever happens. Click To Tweet
It happens quickly. It happens flawlessly. We just need to make sure that we have a process in place, and that you’re following the process, and you keep asking for referrals. If you have a business that’s in-person or if you have a virtual business, whatever business you have, come up with the best plan, but apply 1 or 2 of these strategies now.
Thank you so much for joining me on the show, discussing referrals and maybe some new ideas that you can implement into your firm. I always say, if you can put 1 or 2 into action, then you’re ahead of the curve. As an accounting professional, I know you’re used to chasing clients or you may feel like you have to take anyone who knocks on your door, calls you.
You’re always worrying about where the next client will come from. Getting tired of not getting paid what you’re worth for your knowledge and struggling with that inconsistent cashflow during the off-season. It’s not your fault. There is nobody training you on how to fix those problems and connect the dots. I created the selling without ever selling system, and I’m excited to share this with you because I am offering a free coaching session.
If you are an accountant, CPA, or EA who’s been in business for at least two years, I can share this information with you, too. Let me help you get your ideal clients coming to you, so you can build the firm of your dreams and still have the time and money to enjoy with your family and kids. Head on over to TheAbundantCall.com and schedule your free coaching session with myself and my team as long as you’ve had your business for a minimum of two years. Thank you so much for reading.
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