Asking for referrals from your clients can be awkward, but they can be necessary for a growing accounting firm. Though times have certainly changed, word of mouth remains the best way to find new clients. People are going to trust their close friends and trusted colleagues more than they’ll trust complete strangers, and it always helps to be able to showcase examples of how your work has provided value to other businesses. 

What is a Referral?

A referral is just what it sounds like — when a client recommends your services to a potential client. How often do you give your friends recommendations? Surely you’ve recommended movies, songs, restaurants, and even other businesses to people in your circle. That’s just what you do when you’re satisfied with a good or service you’ve received. Referrals can be individualized, from one friend or colleague to another, or they can take the form of reviews that you feature on places like your website. But we know that referrals can be useful, so how do you get them? 

Be Selective About Who You Ask

No one likes to admit they have favorites, but when it comes to referrals, you should start by asking your best accounting clients. There are a lot of different metrics you can use to determine this, like which clients are the most pleasant to work with or which clients provide the most income to your firm. 

Ask Directly

If you’re going to ask for a referral, you want the request to be personal and direct. This will help your clients feel more valued and important, which in turn will give them more positive things to say about your firm. You can ask clients either in person or over email. Pro tip: be sure to remind them of the scope of the services you have provided and how your firm has benefited their business. 

Look for Connections

The more specific you can be with your ask, the better. If you know that your client has connections with another business owner, you can ask them directly to speak to that potential client on your behalf. 

Ask at the Right Moment

Do you remember when you were a kid and you’d be careful to catch your parents in a good mood before asking them for things? Likewise, you should ask clients for referrals at the right moment. Choose a time when you know they are not going to be busy with work. Ideally, the best time to ask for a referral is directly after you have demonstrated your value to their business through your hard work. 

Ask for Reviews

In addition to direct referrals, you can ask for reviews that you can display prominently on your website and share on social media. While these may not be as personal as direct referrals, reviews can also help potential clients feel good about their decision to work with you. Think of it like this: if you’re shopping online, are you more likely to buy a product with zero reviews or several positive ones? 

Referrals can be a vital key to scaling your accounting firm. Need to bolster your client relationships first? Be sure to check out our other blog here!