Institute of Certified NZ Bookkeepers

Over the last 17 years that I have been in business, through trial (and definitely some error – we are human right?) I have really learnt the difference between having a “transactional” client vs a “sticky loyal’ client and what you need to do to build those strong client relationships.

Statistics shows that we traditionally work five times harder trying to attract new clients than retain existing ones. So why not add more value and create more “stickiness” with your current clients?

The best thing about creating a sticky fan is the relationship that can unfold and the opportunities that come along. If you build a relationship that forms a loyal client, then you are on the right path to success.

So what is the difference between a transactional client and a sticky one?

Transactional clients are much more price-driven, tend not to be the strongest relationships and are more difficult to work with / manage.

A sticky client on the other hand is quite the opposite. They want to create long lasting, profitable relationships where their Bookkeeper or Accountant is seen as their strategic partner and a core part of their business. They also really value the guidance, support and insight they receive.

To help you create stickier, loyal clients I thought I would share some tips on how do you show value and create client ‘stickiness’.

The first strategy is to sell an emotional solution. Clients won’t shop with their wallet if they can see the benefits and solutions available.

If you get down to the core of what your client needs, they will be completely on board. If all you do is prepare GST and tell your client how much they owe, they will not see the value or the emotional solution that you could potentially be offering.

Another thing to remember is to be authentic. Nobody likes a phony or someone who is all words and no action. That includes clients. Do what you say you will do. Honesty and integrity makes clients feel connected and creates trust and respect for the brand. Being authentic establishes a meaningful connection that compels clients to trust you and come to you more for guidance and support.

Growing a business can be pretty full on, but it is important to stay involved in your client’s lives regularly. Show an interest in your clients beyond the day to day work/compliance you may complete for them. Drop them tips and tricks every now and then that help them with everyday problems. Create an emotional engagement that transcends the immediate need for your client to ask their family member, friend or worse another Bookkeeper or Accountant for advice.

Another great tip is to use the methodology they use in BNI. Who do you know who…?

If you hear of someone who could benefit from one of your clients services, why not make a referral or recommendation.  By bringing new business to your clients, you will not only build a raving fan, you will also be seen as supporting your client and encouraging their journey. If you start referring to them, and keep providing them with amazing service, your clients will refer others to you. It is a win win!

The other really important thing to remember when building those sticky clients, is to make it as easy as possible for your clients to do business with you. The easier you can make it, the more business you will have. Determine all the ways you can eliminate the “hassle factor.”

Emotion and brand connection sells. Maybe not right away, but over time. So be real, be relatable, and invest in your clients long-term. It takes more effort to develop these campaigns, but they reap benefits in the long run. Create your own sticky client solution and your business will flourish. You will move away from transactional clients and start creating really success relationships with sticky clients.

I look forward to seeing you all at conference for a #hugabookkeeper moment and lots of fun and learning.

If you have any queries on the above, please contact

Lisa Martin
Vice President
Institute of Certified NZ Bookkeepers


  • 12 July 2019