Insight101 Blog

A strategic consultancy that understands that your success begins and ends with a powerful brand message and vision


A Top 30 client isn't always the ideal client. Turn your most valuable into your most cherished

February 23, 2021

At Insight101 we are increasingly having conversations with accountants about the desire to find their ideal client rather than a client that has been referred to them. "Why?" We hear you say? After all, aren't referrals half of the battle? If they are known and liked by a contact then surely they're perfect for you?

Wrong. On many levels.

When asked why they want to look further, they often reply that they want to build a foundation for their business which is rock solid and based on relationships that are mutually beneficial, respectful and supportive. After all, once the numbers and data have been attended to, the relationship is the glue that holds everything together.

These conversations would suggest that accountants are beginning to understand that a client isn't necessarily the ideal client. A client that is not ideal can be costly, time consuming, energy sapping and potentially hold very different attitudes and aspirations to you. Whilst they ensure the bills get paid every month, what is the cost to you, your firm and your team?

If you have a team behind you it's right that you should want them to be as efficient and as focused as possible. Having the right clients, the ideal clients, can be an important part of this. After all, a happy team brings happy clients and the right clients make it easy for your team to serve your clients and actually enjoy the process too.

Let's put this into context. Take a look at your client list and take the Top 10 from a revenue perspective as a case study. Look down the list and ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Do you look forward to hearing from them? Or do you inwardly groan when you see a call appear on your mobile?
  2. Are they appreciative of your efforts and respond to you in a timely fashion? Or are you endlessly chasing them for information that you need?
  3. Do you have quality conversations where you discuss their business moving forward so that you can work effectively knowing the context of your conversations? Or do they connect with the bare minimum, most often when they have a problem?
  4. Are they a client that knows and interacts with your team? Or are they the hot potato that everyone avoids?

These are some of the questions you can ask yourself. There are many others. Answering "yes" or "no" won't massively affect your business day to day, month to month in terms of revenue but it is the difference between having secure foundations for growth, a buoyant mindset and a happy team.

Far too many don't appreciate that having a quality list of clients, the ideal clients, is the formula for a sustainable business. It is the difference between loyal clients who want to work with you and appreciate your efforts, and clients that want to pay the bare minimum and are likely to leave at the first sign of a problem. After all, attracting new clients can be 5 times more expensive than keeping valued and loyal clients. Who wouldn't want the right list of clients who are willing to stay for the long haul?

So what is the answer? How do you attract your ideal client and then keep them?

Over the last week, we've put out a series of videos that speak to 5 key activities that you can put in place to ensure you attract the ideal client from the word go but the key to everything is to define your ideal client and then the rest will come.

Defining your ideal client

This sounds so easy doesn't it? How often have we heard that a firm targets SMEs with £1-5m turnover and maybe a certain number of staff? It may be that a firm adds in that they must want cloud based accounting or that they're an online business but that's probably as far as it goes. Sound familiar?

This is not the ideal client. An ideal client is a client who can be described in much more detail (see below):


Too many times an accountant says that they can serve everyone but if you target everyone the message frequently doesn't come through. It also doesn't acknowledge your own firm's preferences, areas of expertise etc and makes it much more difficult to put out meaningful information, content and marketing messages as part of your lead generation)

Time in business

Time in business makes a big difference on how an SME (if it is an SME) perceives its accountant, it also has a bearing on the levels of support that it's looking for. If you want clients that rely heavily on your strategic input, then knowing the sweet spot for this is critical

Mindset and attitudes

This is where it gets all "touchy feel-y" and accountants pretty quickly disengage or begin to feel a little lost (no hard feelings, but they frequently admit that this is the case). If you don't know what their attitude to business and life is, and in turn, how this translates to their attitudes to their business relationships and with their accountant then you're taking on clients relying on guess work. Until you know how they operate and what their attitudes to their business and their team is then you have no idea how they will work with you and your team

Values and beliefs

Think about this for a minute. When you meet someone new for the first time, are there some people who you hit it off with immediately? You just know that you have similar ideas and values and have a really good connection instantly? This is the same for your clients. You want to recognize that deep connection instantly and know that they will be a valued client from the start. Taking the time to recognize your own values and beliefs and those of your team, will help enormously in identifying what you're looking for in a client

The ideal clients puts you in a position of strength

Being able to describe and recognize your ideal client is the strong start that you need. Once this is achieved you can ensure your planning is targeted, your marketing is geared around this insight and your messaging is speaking to them directly. This is the case for your website, your social media, your email marketing, blogs, vlogs, webinars and anything else that you have in your marketing armory.

With this clear understanding you can:

  • Choose who you want to work with
  • Have the confidence to say yes/no rather than feeling obliged
  • Understand why some clients are a joy and others are a pain and do something about it!
  • Put in place a filtering process for all your conversations
  • Dramatically improve your on-boarding to suit your client's specific needs which are beautifully aligned with yours
  • Waste less money on marketing but be more targeted and purposeful so the right clients can see themselves and self-select thereby wasting less time and energy on "training" your clients to be the right clients
  • Have happier and more productive teams

Strategic intent is the backbone of Insight101. It’s our firm belief that everything should be aligned around your ideal client in order to avoid being scatter-gun in your marketing. Whilst there are many options out there for a quick fix, we take a more considered and brand led approach which means your marketing is consistent, talks directly to your target and has your personality and tone. This is what makes each firm’s marketing unique to them.

As part of the Insight101 offer, we take an exploratory and planning approach to marketing. We get under the skin of your firm and your ideal client in particular, we then plan and execute your marketing based on your objectives for your firm over the coming 12 months. This becomes your template for everything you do both within the firm and externally in your marketing. It becomes the anchor point for all work done ensuring that the outcome is brand-led and strategically aligned.

For more information book a brand led marketing assessment call: