Accounting and tax firms of all sizes live and die by referrals, but there’s a massive shift that’s happened with how prospects and clients refer EA, accounting, and tax firms. In the past several decades if someone wanted a referral, they’d likely call up a friend or colleague and find out who they were using. They might even call one or two people just to get competing prices.
Fast forward to 2020 and everyone moves online and begins working digitally. All of a sudden entrepreneurs, businesses, and your prospects started to join communities and groups at a record pace. And referrals started to happen in places that can’t be tracked. Prospects and clients are no longer just exchanging referrals through phone and email. They’re exchanging referrals online through Slack, LinkedIn, communities, Facebook groups, and industry websites. Then they’re doing research on Google and verifying expertise, looking for social proof and online reviews.
Let’s paint a picture of what one case could look like.
Suzie Smith, owner of a software startup company in California, is unhappy with her accountant, so she logs onto a startup group on LinkedIn and asks for a recommendation. A few hours later her notifications are alarmingly going off. Twenty three people responded referring an accountant. Some of them even tagged an accountant’s LinkedIn page. She goes to Google to do some research and decides to call two firms that have the most and highest reviews.
This word of mouth and referral system at scale has never existed before. People in need of your services no longer receive one or two referrals—they get recommendations for dozens of highly specialized experts.
This shift isn’t happening—it’s already happened.
How to Use the New Scalable Referral Model to Grow Your Accounting and Tax Firm
- Create content with a unique point of view.
Develop a series of stories around your unique point of view that answers questions your prospects have and solves problems that they did or did not know existed. The key here is to establish yourself as a trusted and knowledgeable expert in your niche so that you can create demand for your services and/or be top of mind when your services are needed.
Topic ideas include:
- Accounting do’s and don’t (for beginners or advanced users)
- Instructional posts about relevant financial topics
- Distribute that content in the places your audiences spend time.
Content is still your main growth source for referrals, but you need to distribute this content via the right channels on a regular basis in the places where buyers are now referring firms.
- Build your reputation online.
Leverage third party websites like TaxBuzz to build your reputation and generate reviews from clients. Review websites are becoming the trusted source for prospects to validate the services and expertise you offer.
- Use your website to guide prospects along toward being clients.
Ensure your website is always up to date and properly positioned. Oftentimes firm strategies change, but referral sources don’t know it, so you’ll keep taking the wrong clients to maintain the referral source because it was never communicated.
Web presence makes it easy to grow your firm and find more clients with this new referral system. It takes care of content creation and distribution, review collection, and full website management. Get a demo. Get your free trial today.