Tip #1 – When you receive a referral, regardless of who it is from (SOBA or not), it is your responsibility as the professional to follow up. You want to make it as easy as possible for the client to connect with you.
Tip #2 – Make sure that your SOBA profile is complete and accurate with current contact information. It is hard to get clients when they cannot track you down.
Tip #3 – Attend SOBA functions and events as often as possible, and schedule personal meetings with other members and affiliates. Relationships take time, and to send you warm referrals your colleagues need to have an opportunity to know, like, and trust you.
Tip #4 – Get involved! Members who volunteer for leadership and organizational roles in the organization build credibility faster, and show the other members that they are reliable and caring. Community leaders stay top-of-mind and receive more referrals.
Tip #5 – Have a contract or service agreement with your clients. This protects both you and the client, and it establishes you as a professional.
Tip #6 – Ask your colleagues for help when you don’t have an answer. The mark of a true expert is someone who is always willing to admit what they do not know, and they often know who does. SOBA members are here to support each other, and we have a vast diversity of knowledge.
Tip #7 – Offer a free initial consultation. This is an opportunity for both you and the client to see if the relationship is going to be a good fit before you dive in together. By knowing that all of us offer a complimentary meet & greet, it makes it easy to refer to one another knowing that there is no financial risk to the client in simply making the connection.
Tip #8 – Have a business card, and pass them out liberally. You don’t want people to have to guess at how to get ahold of you. We always pass our cards at SOBA meetings, and it is nice to have something to hand to a prospective client when recommending your services. Having a website can also really help!
Tip #9 – Run a legitimate business. That means having a business license in the city where you are primarily working, and maintain any professional memberships and certifications that you claim to have.
Tip #10 – Follow up with customers and business associates regularly. Whether by email, phone, or greeting card, do whatever it takes to be present in communications.
Tip #11 – Play to your strengths, and outsource the pieces where you feel weak. This will add great layers to your level of customer service, and provide opportunities to work first hand with other industry professionals.
Tip #12 – Have more tips for your colleagues? Start a discussion on our Facebook Page! Beginning a discussion is a great way to establish yourself as a leader among your peers. Visit https://www.facebook.com/SOBookkeepers.