After commencing practice in Alice Springs on 1st July 2015 with no clients I have now broken the $50,000 fees barrier in only five months. I attribute this fees growth to four main strategies:
- Asking existing clients for referrals
Each time I visit an existing client I mention at least once that I’m looking to them for referrals. If you are doing a good job they will be happy to tell others. They also need to know that you are actively looking for work.
- A high profile, signaged office in a shopping centre
My Alice Springs practice is located in the quieter of two shopping malls in town. People enter the mall and as there is no Woolworths or Coles, they are there to shop at a relaxed pace. Advertising has played little or no role in my success – passing trade – with a snappy shop front has been the foundation to my solid fee gains.
- Creating referral relationships with your bank
I leverage my bank and spend at least half an hour a day chatting with staff about prospects. It’s so easy – just refer a new client across every few days and the bank will soon be your best friend. I now refer all my clients to the ANZ as they get a fantastic deal because I refer so much work and everyone is happy. Bankers are on budgets with bonuses – get them working for you. If they are in bed with another firm, move banks!! The ANZ has now referred three significant clients to me for ongoing work.
- Communicate the benefits to clients
Fee sensitivity can be an issue with potential clients. The best policy is to be very upfront with clients at all times and always provide a fees estimate. Doing this from day one means I have not had one client yet who has baulked and renegotiated a fee. Accountants need to sell the benefits, not just try and justify the cost.
I have budgeted $120,000 of gross fees for my first 12 months of practice, and am well on track to achieve this.
By Nick Rieper – Alice Springs sole practitioner