I have a question for you: Would you rather get new clients to grow your business or get paid more from your existing clients?
Most of us think we need new clients to grow our business and ramp up our revenue. But stop and think about what it takes to get new clients.
You usually need to start from zero. How are you even getting leads? Do you need to do more networking? Are you trying to run online ads? Are you hoping and praying you’ll get new referrals? It takes time, effort, and probably some expense to bring in new clients.
Now, compare that to simply expanding the work you’re doing for your existing clients. They already know and trust you. You know their business, and they’re open to your suggestions. Best of all, because you’re already doing their bookkeeping, any additional services you offer are going to be at a premium level.
Plus, there’s a bonus: When you offer additional services to existing clients, and they love what you’re doing for them, they’ll talk to others. You will get referrals for new clients too!
Bottom line: It’s a lot easier to grow your business by doing more with your existing clients.
Growing From Within
But how would you do this? How would you sell your existing clients on additional services?
Stop and think about how any of us recognize that we need something more and want to pay for it? There are five key areas where everyone recognizes value:
- When you can make more money
- You can save money
- You can save time
- You can make something easier
- You can get out of pain / solve a problem
As bookkeepers for our clients, we can do any one or more of these things for their business. It’s a matter of just thinking about how we can offer that help.
I can give you a quick example of how this can work, as it did with one of my clients. I’ve had this client for quite a while. She’s kind of a penny pincher and only ever wanted basic bookkeeping. But every now and then, she’d have clients with past-due bills. She feels uncomfortable calling them for payment. From time to time, she’d ask me if I would reach out to these clients as her bookkeeper to nudge them for payment.
I let her know that this falls under the Accounts Receivable services I offer. But she’d say, “No, I don’t want to pay anything extra.”
Over time, however, she got busy, and more clients had past-due bills. So, she came to me again for assistance. I again reminded her that I could help. I explained that it wouldn’t be a lot more, and I could help clean up her past-due balances and make sure her clients are paying on time going forward. If the clients grumbled, she could simply “blame the bookkeeper.”
She loved that idea, and we upgraded her services just a couple of months ago. Last week she sent me an email saying, “You are one of the best decisions I ever made.” Now, she’s paying me more money and singing my praises. Simple win.
So what can you do to help your clients?
How to Plant Seeds for Growth
Here are a few steps to get your clients to want to have you do more for them.
- Brainstorm ways to help your best clients kick up their cash flow
- What could you do to help them reduce their expenses, or minimize their taxes?
- What small or easy recommendations could you make that would have a good impact on their business?
- Offer these ideas and tips during your next client meeting or even in month-end emails when providing financial reports or other updates
This may sound too simple, but clients often don’t see what’s obvious to us.
Caution: DO NOT implement the ideas you offer for free! Let them know it’s a service that could be added to their existing contract. This is a low-key way to open the door to negotiations.
But like my client above, even if they “don’t want to pay for it,” you have planted the idea that you have much more to offer them to improve their business bottom line. Based on my own experience, it won’t take long for your clients to start asking you for more help on their own!