How to identify clients for the advisory services you’re offering

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In my last article, I showed you why advisory services are better than compliance services, and which services you should choose to offer. Now it’s time to identify the ideal clients who want those very advisory services. By taking these steps, you can move to a more advisory-centric practice and increase your revenue.

Let’s go!

First things first: What am I offering?

First, a story. I used to work at the IRS. As a result, you’d think that I’d offer IRS remediation services to new clients, but I don’t. Instead, I only offer them to existing clients. Before you identify which clients are best to target, you have to know which advisory services you enjoy offering the most. You’ll not be doing yourself or your clients any good by offering services you don’t enjoy delivering.

Once you’ve got that down, here’s a simple two-step process for targeting the right clients.

Step 1: What are your clients’ biggest pain points?

Compare the advisory services you’ll be offering to your prospective clients’ biggest pain points. In other words, in which client areas do your abilities in the services you offer make the biggest impact and deliver the greatest incremental value?

Here’s an analogy: Let’s say you feel like having the best steak. You wouldn’t go to a sushi restaurant, even if it’s great and even if they may offer teppanyaki on the side. You would go to a steak restaurant.

If your clients are in tech and need CFO advisory services that calculate churn, burn, and annual recurring revenue, but you don’t offer those services, you’re not solving their problem. When you address your clients’ biggest pain points, not only are they going to be happy to pay you big time; they’re also going to rave about you to all their colleagues in their industry. You want them to say, “My accountant is the best!”

Step 2: Who are my ideal clients? 

Now that you know your clients’ pain points and which services you’re going to offer, it’s time to figure out who these clients are.

But that’s not enough. “Needing” doesn’t make them good clients. Paying does. So, you’ve got to consider which ones have the budget, revenue, and culture that align with your business needs and revenue goals. These will be your top clients.

A great potential client in dire cash straits is a actually a terrible client. This doesn’t mean you should get rid of all your clients that don’t fit. Perhaps you enjoy working with someone for other reasons, and certainly, then, you should continue working with them. But when you can’t decide on that basis, always ask yourself if this is the type of client you really want. Follow this plan. Soon, you’ll only have clients that are ideal.

Suppose you specifically like working on business tax returns in which your firm prepares monthly financials and quarterly CFO metrics. You charge these clients a monthly fee. You enjoy this type of work since clients that can afford this usually have more complicated and sophisticated challenges. That’s where you shine as an advisor. Equally important, you can easily eliminate any new clients which don’t fit this criterion.

In Part 3 of this series, I’ll show you how to approach, market, brand to, and win the business of these clients. In the meantime, here’s your homework: Given the advisory services you offer, decide which clients will be your most ideal ones.

Romeo Razi, CPA

Romeo Razi, CPA, founder of, specializes in advisory services for small businesses in the professional services niche. With degrees in computer science and accounting, he is a former IRS revenue agent. Due to his background in computer science, Romeo is well versed in startups, funding, and the changing landscape of tech in accountancy. He is an advisor to Startup.Vegas, which is bringing tech and startups to Nevada. In his former life, Romeo taught chess to kids in elementary schools. Follow him on Twitter @RomeoRazi. More from Romeo Razi, CPA

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