With big changes causing instability and uncertainty, accountants are looking for opportunities to improve and stablise their businesses by responding to new conditions, and rightfully so.
The bottom line is: how do you not just retain your clients, but grow and increase billings?
First step is to focus on an enormous change that’s underway: It is expected that around 80% of accounting firms’ billings will be a result of advisory services in 2017.**
Seeing this as an opportunity and not a threat, your next steps will determine how your business weathers the change.
This is where new tools and techniques comes into play. This article focusses on social selling using LinkedIn, the pre-eminent business-to-business sales platform that has 484 million members globally and 9,000,000 in Australia and New Zealand***. Yes, it seems like every progressive business person is on LinkedIn… and that’s pretty spot on.
Social selling using LinkedIn is a huge chance for accountants to showcase their skills and highlight how they can help their clients with their number one concern: building their business. LinkedIn can be used to offer services, amplify thought leadership, position expertise, educate and build broader relationships with current clients. There are a few steps to do this:
- You need to create and communicate your personal brand. Your profile image, banner, experience and summary sections should appeal to your network by showing them how your skills can achieve their aims and solve their problems. Don’t dot point your achievements, instead briefly write how you helped a client achieve a goal or solve a problem. There are a series of best practice tips for this, and you should research them thoroughly.
- Show that you understand your clients and their businesses. Check their interests through what groups they belong to and see what you can connect on. This can show that you are truly interested in them and have a clear idea about their wants and needs.
- Did you digitally connect with that new client you spoke to last week? If not, then you are making a mistake. Connecting with clients on LinkedIn is important in keeping you top of the mind. In the longer term, it can also help with relationship building.
- Become a thought leader. Use created or curated content depending on whether you have the time or skills to write and create informative pieces for your clients. When sharing content, post frequent, valuable targeted updates to your network. This will keep them engaged and they may even share your content. If you can’t write, there are plenty of services available to help you. We use specialist financial writers for a range of clients.
So, what does all this achieve?
It showcases who you are and what you do to a massive, targeted audience, shows you understand your client’s pain points, that you care about your clients and that you have the experience and a passion for helping their business. It humanises you and the work you do. This will help in building trust and loyalty so that when you start cross-selling your advisory services, your clients are likely to welcome you.
Want practical help to create a LinkedIn strategy?
We run events throughout the year, and our Social Selling for Accountants workshop is one of the most popular ones. So that you don’t miss out, sign up to be alerted when we have our next one!
In the meantime, for more information or just a chat email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 1800 737 266.
- *The new value equation Accounting and Financial Services Benchmarking Report, 2016, Macquarie Group
- ***User trends, LinkedIn 2017