The success of your accounting firm depends a lot on how you market your services. If you are getting a compelling message out to the right people, they will want to give your business a try.
Even though you are an accounting firm, you must be adept at marketing your business and establishing relationships with your current and future clients. One of the best ways to enhance your firm’s brand and communicate value is to get client testimonials and use them effectively.
Why testimonials are important for your business
To understand why client testimonials are important for your accounting firm, it’s important to know about a concept called social proof. In marketing, social proof is a form of group mentality that influences a potential customer’s opinion about a business because others have found value first. In other words, if many others have been happy with a business, the investigator will likely be satisfied, too. Social proof is quite powerful in marketing, especially for accounting firms.
When new clients come to your accounting firm via the endorsement of other clients, they are more likely to believe that the decision they’re about to make is the right one. Recommendations evoke trust in potential clients, even if the testimonials are from people they don’t know. You can gather testimonials from your clients and use them as a credible and effective tool to lead prospective clients to your accounting firm.
How to get testimonials from your clients
According to Hitendra Patil, Director at Accountants World, getting new clients “is one of the top five issues faced by accounting firms of all sizes.”
Attracting new clients is not a unique problem to have, but gathering quality customer testimonials can serve as a catalyst to bringing in new business . “A simple Google search for ‘accountant’ shows top local results for firms who have just eight or more reviews. In other words, prospects chase you if you have more reviews,” Patil argues.
Reviews and testimonials are crucial to a thriving practice, but too many accountants simply don’t ask for them. It can feel awkward and even embarrassing to connect with clients about providing a testimonial. Too many accounting firms believe that if they just do good work, they can wait for some good client testimonials to come along on their own. The reality is that clients won’t provide you with testimonials unless you ask for them. You’ll be in a much better position if you can create a plan to gather testimonials and use them effectively in your marketing plan.
The first thing to do is to contact your best group of clients, the ones you know will provide wonderful testimonials. Reach out to them personally and make sure they are satisfied with your services. Let them know that you are conducting some customer satisfaction surveys and ask whether you can send them an email about it. If your current clients are happy with your accounting firm, they’ll leave you excellent feedback that you can use.
When you have arranged to gather testimonials, it’s very important that you provide the proper platform to get the information you want from clients. It’s a mistake to simply ask for a testimonial and leave it up to the client to figure out what you mean. Instead, ask service-related questions that lead them to providing you with the types of testimonials you desire.
Here are a few examples of the types of questions to include in a customer satisfaction survey:
- When did you first become a client with us?
- Why did you choose our accounting firm over a competitor’s?
- What were your biggest problems before coming to us?
- What is the most valuable service we offer to you?
- How well did our accounting firm meet your needs?
- How responsive have we been to your questions or concerns?
- What problems have you solved with our services?
- How did our service compare with your expectations?
- Which services are we missing that you would like to see?
- What would you say to someone who is asking about us?
- Would you recommend our accounting firm to a friend? If so, why?
Aim for in-depth and descriptive answers to get the quality of testimonials that will really resonate with potential clients. Keeping the focus on open-ended, service-specific questions will give you great insight into how your current clients feel about you and provide you with strong testimonials to use in your marketing efforts.
Best ways to use testimonials to boost business
There’s no doubt that client testimonials are powerful social proof motivators for prospects, but what’s the best way to use them? It’s important that testimonials have legitimacy for maximum impact. Everyone has seen partial quote testimonials floating on a web page or referenced in social media. Because these are often without attribution or context, they are mostly ineffective.
To boost a testimonial’s credibility, make sure to include the client’s name and business. A date, photograph, length of time as a client, and even a link to their website can further legitimize the endorsement. Then choose the testimonials that provide a small backstory or problem that the client had and how your accounting firm helped them solve it. This before and after message should be relatable to most of the target audience you are trying to reach.
Testimonials can appear on your accounting firm’s website as well as in your marketing literature like brochures, local ads, and social media. Testimonials don’t just have to be written to be effective. Many small businesses are incorporating audio and video testimonials into podcasts and video content, and accounting firms implement this effectively, too.
Learn more about marketing your services in our free ebook Marketing Essentials for Tax Pros.