Accountants are the unsung heroes of business.
Their expertise saves, and can even make, their clients’ money. They keep businesses on the right side of the tax law. And they provide wise counsel on key financial decisions.
Given the positive influence a good accountant has on a business, is it any wonder their trust rating is second only to medical professionals, teachers and police officers?
For any accountant looking to grow their business, this position of trust is a powerful platform to build on.
Indeed, without trust any business will die.
But if you already have trust, what else do you, as an accountant, need to attract new clients?
First, if you’re an accountant, your LinkedIn strategy needs to offer more than a “number-cruncher for hire” service. Yes, that does solve a huge problem for your clients and is your core service, but it is also the main selling point of every other accountant and accounting firm out there.
What else can you offer? I’ll discuss this topic more in-depth in this article.
Second, you need a platform to display your expertise and build relationships with potential clients and referral sources.
And there is NO better platform to do that on than LinkedIn.
You see, for an accountant, LinkedIn offers the most plentiful, profitable source of work in the digital world.
Did you know that 41% of millionaires use LinkedIn, and LinkedIn is the only social platform where you can directly connect and establish relationships with executives of all major companies?
In other words, the pool of high-net-worth individuals and companies who need your skills is deepest on LinkedIn.
How you as an accountant can benefit from LinkedIn:
- expand your network, filling it with your ideal prospects
- build stronger relationships with potential referrers
- position yourself as a trusted authority within your community
- tap into a higher quality client base.
I have helped thousands of professionals in high-trust professions, including accountants, to connect and build relationships of trust with their ideal clients. In this article, I show you how you, as an accountant, can build a trusted, respected personal brand that connects and builds relationships with more of your ideal clients and referral partners.
Accountants’ Guide to Using LinkedIn
Establish trust by offering peace of mind and expertise
No one is going to tell you the intimate details of their business and finances unless they trust you.
And although the accountancy profession is highly trusted, that only removes the first barrier to building relationships, making people open to talking to you. You still need to establish trust with them on a personal level before you can start getting new clients.
Money is a very private, personal issue as well as one that your ideal clients may often not completely understand – that’s why they’re hiring you!
When it comes to choosing an accountant, people need to feel two things:
- peace of mind.
They need to trust you because you’ll know the inner workings of their personal and business finances and advise them on very important decisions.
They need to feel peace of mind because the majority of business owners find the financial side of things stressful. Plus, it takes them away from working on the things they really love.
They may have a decent working knowledge of the financials, but they don’t want to be involved in the nitty-gritty of it.
What they really want is the peace of mind that they have an expert in their corner who is taking care of their financials so they can concentrate on other things.
Keep these two aspects of clients’ psychological needs at the center of all your online marketing activities. Think of them as recurring themes you want to demonstrate in your profile, messaging and the content you share and produce.
If you do this, potential clients will see you as smart, capable and reliable – and that hiring you will be a good decision for them.
Who are your ideal clients or referral partners, and what language do they use?
Before you begin leveraging LinkedIn for lead generation, take a minute to think about the types of clients you really want and the sort of work that interests you the most. This is an important step that is often overlooked. The mentality of “I’ll work with anyone” means you’ll most likely end up working with no one.
Think of it as of fishing. You need the right bait to catch the right fish; otherwise, you won’t catch any.
As a starting point, consider the following questions:
- In a perfect world, what does your ideal client look like?
- Whom do you enjoy working with today?
- Whom do you want to spend more time working with?
- Do you already have a relationship with some of these people?
- If not, can you find more people like these on LinkedIn?
- Who are your best referral sources?
- Could your current referral sources introduce you to similar people or companies?
Answer these questions to strategically target and connect with the people and companies that can open the doors to the work you want the most.
Once you establish your ideal clients and industries to target, learn what language they use to communicate their needs and challenges.
To give yourself an even better chance of appearing in their search results and appealing to them, figure out the words they specifically search for when looking for someone who does what you do.
Use the language and specific keywords they use in your LinkedIn profile, status updates and shared content. By speaking their language, you will appear to them as someone who understands their challenges and can provide the solution they are looking for.
Create a compelling, professional LinkedIn profile guaranteed to grab attention
You know your targets.
You know how to speak to them in their own language.
Now it’s time to create your LinkedIn profile in a way that will attract your ideal clients.
But there’s an art to this. You could set up a LinkedIn profile in a matter of minutes that’s all about you and how great you are, but that won’t draw people in.
People don’t care about you or your business. They care only about how you can help them.
When writing about yourself, imagine your leads reading it and asking themselves “what’s in it for me?”
If you can consistently answer that question for them, you will increase your chances of connecting with them and converting them into clients.
Your profile should certainly share information about you, but you must focus on how you can help your ideal clients. When discussing your expertise and experience, do so in the context of how it can solve the problems your ideal clients face.
You also want your profile to:
- be easily found when someone searches for the types of services and expertise you offer
- intrigue people, prompting them to connect with and learn more about you.
It all starts with your headline. To get your ideal clients’ attention, your headline needs to be more than “Senior Accountant at James, West and Jones Accountancy Firm.”
That will NOT capture your potential clients’ attention.
Instead, you should highlight your skills and ways in which you solve your targets’ problems.
For example: “Helping SME business owners discover intelligent financial solutions and save money on taxes.”
Take the guesswork out of creating a powerful and client-focused headline by using our free LinkedIn Headline Generator.
Once you’ve created an attention-grabbing headline, fill out your About section.
Here, you have 2,600 characters (NOT words) to craft a story that reveals your background and why you’re passionate about what you do. It’s also a place to highlight your achievements to enhance your credibility.
Include information about who your ideal clients are, the problems they face and how you solve them. Speak directly to your ideal clients so they feel you understand them.
When you write your About section, remember you are building trust and offering peace of mind. To achieve that, you need to come across as warm and experienced.
If you’re wondering what information to include in your profile, it all comes down to being relevant to your reader.
Analyze what you’re writing. Does it solve your ideal clients’ problems? Does it dig into their pain points and nail what keeps them awake at night? Does it offer insights, solutions and the promise of an easier life if they hire you?
If the answer is “No,” then it shouldn’t be in your profile.
When possible, include rich media such as videos, slide shows and PDFs you have written for your website or used in presentations. It’s an extra opportunity to highlight your skills and knowledge.
If you have any video clips of yourself speaking, you can add those to your LinkedIn profile. Video is an amazing humanizer, allowing you to convey warmth, create a connection with the viewer and make them feel as if they know you without ever meeting you. This gives you a real head start when it comes to connecting and starting a conversation with your ideal clients.
One final word about profiles… Use a warm, friendly headshot of yourself! People buy from people, not logos, so it’s critical you use a headshot that gives a personable, welcoming vibe.
Leverage your network to create strong referral partnerships
Even in the digital age, good old-fashioned word of mouth is still one of the key pillars to any business’s long-term health and success.
Where have some of your best clients come from? Most likely, you acquired them as direct referrals from clients (past or present) or professionals in different industries who target the same market as you.
Accountants’ clients often overlap with the clients of lawyers, bookkeepers, financial advisors and consultants.
In fact, even just a handful of consistent cross-referral partnerships can be the bedrock of a strong accountancy practice. It’s really where the law of reciprocity becomes evident. If people in your network refer work to you, you’ll be more inclined to refer work to them in return. And back and forth it goes.
Building relationships with other businesses or professionals with similar audiences and complementary products or services is an often-missed opportunity on LinkedIn.
If you focus only on getting clients – which is the primary aim of your marketing activities, of course – you’ll fail to build a network of strategic partners, critical for broadening your sources of potential clients.
If you want to create more cross-referral relationships, start by assessing your existing network. Identify not only the people who already refer work to you but also the people you know, trust and think have the ability to refer the work you want to you. Continue to expand your reach by asking your trusted network to make further introductions for you, and offer to do the same for them.
You can widen your search for a potential partner by using LinkedIn’s Advanced Search.
When you find a good match, send them a concise, personalized connection request, and initiate a conversation by showing interest in them or their business.
Status updates and sharing content
The simplest, most effective way to give an insight into who you are as well as provide value to your potential clients and demonstrate your expertise to them is to regularly share useful information on LinkedIn.
It could be an opinion, a question, or educational content – anything that could show your knowledge and help your ideal clients.
But remember, LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. People go there to do business, so make sure anything you share is relevant to your ideal clients.
When you post, ask yourself these questions:
- What is the goal of the post?
- Will this post provide value and insight?
- What problem or challenge are you solving for your ideal clients?
- Does it build your brand and increase your authority in your field?
- If you saw this post in your newsfeed, would you like, comment on or share it?
Always think about your audience, how you’re helping them, and what action you want them to take.
Accountants have a real advantage when it comes to content, especially on LinkedIn.
Finance is a mystery to many people, which is why your insight is so valuable and welcome – especially if you can explain complex issues in simple terms that make your audience feel smarter, better prepared or better informed.
News and industry websites are full of stories with financial relevance. Share such stories while commenting on them, providing your insight. Your background as an accountant gives your opinion more weight than that of a layperson. It is a perfect way to build authority and demonstrate your expertise with very little effort.
Be seen! Be heard! Get published!
Regularly writing articles on LinkedIn Publisher is a surefire way to establish authority, credibility and trust.
It’s an opportunity to showcase your knowledge, provide value and solve a problem or challenge for your audience upfront, which will build trust between you and them.
Articles also appear in the article box on your profile. Think of it as a shop window into your skills and expertise.
When people see a body of work that shows off your expertise, they are more likely to trust you with their business.
When coming up with content ideas, think about your audience and whether what you write is relevant and helpful to them.
Engage with your LinkedIn network
Successful accountants use LinkedIn to build relationships, have conversations with prospects and potential referral partners, and establish their trustworthiness.
But the key to a successful conversation with your prospects is to make it all about them. Use the language they use in their industry. This makes them feel comfortable talking to you and also gives the impression that you have done your research and understand their world and their challenges.
The most important thing you can do to really make an impact is to ask them questions about themselves and/or their business!
Show them you are interested in helping them be successful. Engage authentically and make your engagement about the other person, not about you.
The fastest way to build trust is to be helpful, answer questions, follow people who interest you and who appear to be good prospects for referrals.
The business development edge LinkedIn provides accountants
LinkedIn marketing for accountants has three distinct advantages over traditional marketing methods:
- LinkedIn is less expensive than traditional marketing. Setting up a profile and building relationships is free (unless you hire someone to do it for you). Doing this right is vital, so consider investing time and money into creating a professional profile and messaging that will ensure you are seen as a trusted accounting professional by your ideal clients.
- You can reach the right people with your message faster. You can laser-focus on your ideal clients and referral partners through online searches to avoid wasting time and effort on the wrong audience.
- Establish trust with a community of potential clients. Building trust one person at a time can be time-consuming. Using LinkedIn, you can easily scale your efforts to increase trust and establish your authority as an accounting expert with an entire community of your ideal clients.
You have a big opportunity to stand out from the pack by concentrating your efforts on building your authority and increasing trust between you and your ideal clients.
Granted, your ideal clients won’t magically fall into your lap, but if you:
- strategically target them in their own language
- talk to them about solving their problems and reaching their goals
- create a personal brand that inspires trust and authority
- provide them with valuable insight and information upfront that addresses their challenges
- commit to spending as little as 15 minutes a day connecting, sharing and engaging on LinkedIn…
…you will never have to worry about where your next client will come from.
When you take the time to build a reputation of trust and expertise, you will be seen as a financial expert by the people who most want and need your services and you’ll have a plentiful referral network!
As an accountant, you might find it difficult to find the time to write a LinkedIn profile that makes an impact and attracts connections. If you would like our experts to do it for you, check out our done-for-you service! Click here to learn more.
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