CPAs and other financial services firms largely rely on referrals to grow their client base and stay in business. This business model has worked for a countless number of years. However, the way clients make decisions has changed, which affects your rate of referral. Under the new model, a referral is only the first step. Used the right way, technologies like websites, email and social media can energize your current client base to make referrals and increase the conversion rate of referral prospects.
There is no longer one linear funnel for client referrals, but rather a series of influencing points that lead to channels where the prospect is most comfortable making contact. Today, a referred prospect is likely to make initial contact in a number of ways:
- Through your website. They will visit your website to understand why your firm is different and whether your value proposition aligns with the prospect’s expectations.
- Social media. A prospect will turn to social media to get a sense of your firm’s focus and culture. They may also turn to review websites that allow users to leave feedback, such as Yelp.
- Email newsletter. Prospects might sign up for your e-newsletter to get a preview of what it is like to be your client.