Getting New Clients: What’s Working, What’s Not

Referrals remain stalwart. Social media weakens. Websites advance.

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By CPA Trendlines

Some practices just need more clients. Some need a more cost-effective way to find them and sign them up. Some are looking for ways to liberate their less profitable or more difficult clients and replace them with others more conducive to getting the job done with minimal hassle and maximum moolah.

The new Accounting Firm Operations and Technology Survey gives us some insight into what firms across the nation are doing to attract clients.

To no one’s surprise, referrals from current clients remains the most common source of new clients. No fewer than 95.1% of respondents report referrals as a sales channel. That number was close to consistent across all sizes of firms. For solo practitioners, it was 94.2%. It was highest for small firms (1-10 employees) at 96.8%. It was lower for mid-sized firms (11-50 employees) at 93.9%, and lowest of all for large firms, where referrals are the source of 92% of new clients.

What’s interesting, however, is that the overall percent has increased since last year, when 92.6% reported new clients by referral. With all the new and burgeoning sources of information — social media, websites, Internet advertising — why are referrals an increasing source of clients?