One of the hardest parts of starting a bookkeeping business is attracting your first clients and making sure they stick with you. With an investment into marketing, advertising, and sales, you might be able to solidify a pipeline of new prospects and leads – but those potential customers are only going to patronize your business if you make an excellent impression with them.
So how can you make a better first impression with your new bookkeeping clients?
Earn (and Show Off) Your Credentials
You can technically practice bookkeeping without any formal education or certifications, but if you want to become a more successful and esteemed bookkeeper, it’s important to earn – and then show off – your credentials in the field.
For example, you could earn an associate degree or higher in bookkeeping or a related financial field. You could become a certified public bookkeeper (CPB). At the very least, you can attract more bookkeeping clients and show off your experience keeping records for a variety of different organizations.
The point is, it’s important to prove your value to customers or prospects who are meeting you for the first time. How do these people know that you’re a knowledgeable and experienced bookkeeper?
During your initial communications, it’s important to respond as promptly as possible. When a prospect reaches out to you through your website, or response to an e-mail you sent out, send them a message as quickly as you can. It shows that you value your prospects’ time, it bodes well for future communications, and it allows you to keep the conversation going, rather than allowing it to fizzle.
It’s also important to dress well, whether you’re meeting in person or virtually. You can technically practice bookkeeping in any set of clothes you can imagine, but you’re going to make a much better impression with your clients if you wear professional business attire. Wear the best quality clothes that you can afford, hire a tailor to make sure they fit properly, and practice good hygiene and grooming so you look as professional as possible.
Master the Art of Communication
You should also spend time mastering the art of communication. Your clients are going to think much more highly of you if you can communicate with them effectively.
- Conciseness. Concise communication is both efficient and effective. Try to optimize your words to convey as much meaning as possible and as little space as possible. You’ll sound much wiser and more knowledgeable, and you’ll waste less time.
- Clarity. Focus on describing things as clearly as possible. Your clients may not understand the fundamentals of bookkeeping as well as you do, so use an appropriate vocabulary.
- Tone and inflection. It’s also important to watch your tone and inflection. You’ll make a better impression if you speak charismatically and with appropriate emphasis.
- Body language. If you’re meeting in person or over video, you’ll want to keep control of your body language as well. Make sure you hold a confident posture, look your clients in the eyes, and occasionally gesticulate when you’re talking.
Be on Time
Though punctuality isn’t as common or consistent as it used to be, it still makes a big difference in your professional interactions. Whenever you set a time for a meeting or a conversation, make sure you arrive at least a few minutes early.
Form a Personal Connection
Whenever possible, form a personal connection with the people you meet. Start with some small talk and try to figure out if you have something in common. Pepper in a few compliments, ask about their interests, and make them feel special; while these things have little to do with actual bookkeeping, they’re indispensable tools for building stronger relationships.
Build a Consistent Brand
It’s important to build a consistent brand, whether you’re marketing yourself or an abstract bookkeeping business. Hire a professional graphic designer to help you solidify your branding, then use this branding consistently across your website and all your marketing and advertising channels. You’ll look much more professional and cultivate a much more consistent image.
Hire the Right People
As your bookkeeping business begins to grow, you’ll need to start thinking about your organizational culture – and how it can influence client first impressions. Make sure you hire the right people, and train them to appropriately embody all your brand values.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be in a much better position to make a better impression with your new bookkeeping clients. That means you’ll win more sales, you’ll land more clients, and the clients you have will be much more likely to stick with you indefinitely.
In other words, you’ll set yourself up for a much more successful bookkeeping business.