How to Get Referrals from Existing Clients without Really Asking

In the Accounting world, client referrals make up the majority of new business, so they are an important part of business growth. Here we explore how to get referrals from existing clients without feeling awkward.

We hear some Accountants who say they are too busy to take on new clients but guarantee in most cases if a great new client comes knocking they will find the time to welcome them with open arms. 

The problem with most Accountants is that they don’t really want to ask their clients directly to “please refer”.

So how do you get referrals without really asking? 

Produce Happy Clients. Happy clients can do wonders for your reputation and will tell others about their great experience!

Do you have happy clients? Not sure? Why not ask them?

Not keen to ask them directly? Let’s explore some opportunities to get feedback on your service and client satisfaction.

When do you interact with your clients?

  1.     When they need to sign off on their BAS, annual return etc.
  2.     When you are talking to them about their business
  3.     When you are sending them some information
  4.     When you are sending your clients an email like a newsletter

Let’s start with the first two points, in particular when the client signs their annual return. This might be in person, via email/docusign etc…

Add a survey question to your sign off process

We recommend that you add a question to the return that the client needs to answer as part of the signoff process – it can look something like this:

“Based on the service that we have provided you, what is the likelihood that you would refer us to a friend of yours?” (please circle one) 
(unlikely) 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 (likely)

Oh, and you could also ask for some feedback from your clients on how you can improve:

“What can we do to improve our service?”

If your clients circle 8 or 9, Congratulations! Sounds like you are doing well, your clients are happy and likely to make a referral.

If it’s a rating of 4 to 7 then you might have some work to do (don’t panic, we can help you with business improvement). Let’s hope they also give you some constructive feedback that you can take on board.

A quick little survey is great because it’s an indirect prompt for your client to refer because they think you are doing a great job and you can gain some priceless feedback on how you can improve.

Record how your clients feel

Is there somewhere or somehow that you can put this information into your Client Management System so you are aware of their feedback over time? This allows you to track interactions with specific clients and perhaps make more intentioned efforts for clients who need a little extra reassurance.

Now lets look at points 3 & 4 regarding client interactions above. 

Add a referral prompt to all your emails

Here is another really easy way to trigger your clients minds in sending referrals your way. Make sure it’s friendly and make sure it stands out.

“Happy with our service? We would appreciate referring us to your friends, family and colleagues!”

“If you think we have done a great job with your Accounts than referring us is the best way of saying thank you.”

It’s a subtle way of reminding your clients that it would be great if they could refer a new client. Now it’s your job to welcome the new client in and look after them.

Don’t forget your website


Don’t forget your website!

Remember that even if a new client is directly referred, there is a 90% chance (and yes we have seen research on this statistic) that they are going to have a look at your website. 

That means you need to have your website in a good state that differentiates you from your competitors, shows you are a progressive firm able and willing to support new clients with financial challenges. 

If you’d like to have some help in giving your website an upgrade, we are specialists in websites for accountants and are happy to assist.