Over the past decade or so in working across professional services firms of various shapes and service lines, i’ve spoken to dozens of practice leaders and asked one simple question:

How do professional services firms win new clients?”

Every time I heard a new tactic, I wrote it down.

Over time these responses began to grow into a massive list of the various tactics used to win new business.

Before diving into the list, I want to make the critical point that not all tactics are suitable for all practices. The right tactics (or more specifically, the correct balance of tactics), differs greatly based upon your existing ideal client, team, growth objectives and stage of business. There is no one size fits all!

So without further ado, here is our list of tactics professional service businesses are using to win new clients in 2021.

*Note that these tactics are in no particular order of importance.

The list of tactics you can use to win new clients

The Bread And Butter – Where almost everyone starts (and some choose to stay)

  • Word of Mouth
  • Referrals

Thought Leadership

  • Blogging
  • Podcasting
  • Videos / Youtube Channels
  • White Papers / Articles
  • Write a book focused on your target audiences pain points
  • Hosting Webinars

Outbound

  • Cold Email Outreach
  • Email Newsletters
  • Apply to companies who are hiring for your skill set until one hires you to work on contract
  • Sign up for newsletters of job opportunities
  • Utilise job sites like Upwork

Networking

  • Online Communities where your prospects hang out (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • In person networking events
  • Attending conferences where your clients congregate
  • Being present at physical hubs of clients (e.g. office near legal precinct / CBD)
  • Become actively involved in a local or national association of your target clients
  • Join boards
  • Create a monthly exclusive event for your target clients
  • Sponsor a conference / golf day

Promotion

  • Speaking Engagements in front of target clients
  • Appearing on Podcasts
  • Guest Blogging / Article Writing
  • Advertising in industry publications
  • Building your own case study
  • Answer questions on online forums
  • Build a niche micro-site blog separate from your practice that positions you as a leader in a specific industry

Digital Marketing

  • Linkedin Prospecting
  • SEO
  • Advertising / Paid Traffic (Google Ads, Facebook Ads)
  • Starting conversations with prospects on Social Media

Strategic Partnerships

  • Channel partnerships with software vendors
  • Partnerships with other accountants or bookkeepers
  • Partnerships with companies who resell your services
  • Referral partnerships with others who sell to your clients

Relationships

  • Upselling existing customers to new services
  • Stay in touch with existing network
  • Keep a CRM of your leads organized so you never drop any
  • Looking for mutual connections at prospective companies and ask for intros
  • Client retention. Keep as many clients as possible for 10+ years and grow with them
  • Go back to all customers who said no, and try to resell them on a different offer
  • Hold quarterly “strategy calls” with clients to provide value and create opportunities for new projects

Acquisition

  • Purchasing an existing practice or fee parcel

It is worth repeating the critical point that not all tactics are suitable for all practices. The right tactics (or more specifically, the correct balance of tactics), differs greatly based upon your existing ideal client, team, growth objectives and stage of business. There is no one size fits all and is why understanding the right strategy for your firm from the get go is so important.