Brad Golchin is a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) with an extensive background in Accounting, Business, Training and IT. He’s Director of both Wise Advice in Auckland, New Zealand and XO Accounting Pty Ltd in Sydney and Melbourne Australia.
Brad first started using LinkedIn in 2008, having been active on Facebook prior to that. He initially used Facebook to connect personally with friends but soon received friend requests from clients. Both groups began messaging him their accounting-related enquiries through the platform.
As a result, he began using Facebook as a way to position himself and his accounting firm: by asking his clients the sorts of information they would look for online and then answering these questions and sharing them along with third party content that would help people.
He did this via posts and in four Facebook groups for property investors. A few of these investors then asked him to connect and one engaged Brad’s services. Others in the same investment group subsequently engaged his firm too: resulting in fees of around $30,000 per annum and highlighting that clients and prospective clients do use social tools.
Because Wise Advice works with business clients, Brad set up a comprehensive LinkedIn profile when he first joined the platform. He sees this as his online CV. His credibility is demonstrated through his experience, client testimonials (recommendations) and, more recently, content he has uploaded to his profile and posts he’s published to LinkedIn.
Brad’s biggest success was being contacted by a large US corporation who had found him on LinkedIn and were interested in the way in which he used the latest technology in his business. They sent their 2IC to New Zealand to talk to Brad and subsequently flew him to the US to meet their team and discuss collaborating.
As another example of him winning work via LinkedIn, he connected with a Board Member of a New Zealand Charitable Trust on LinkedIn who saw his content and his involvement in the not-for-profit sector and recommended to her fellow Board Members that they move the Charitable Trust’s accounting work to Wise Advice.
LinkedIn hasn’t just benefited Brad and his businesses in terms of generating new work, it’s also enabled him to:
- Easily keep in touch with his existing network – particularly when they change job. As Brad says “it’s easy to go into LinkedIn and quickly say ‘congratulations’ whereas email and phone take longer. This is often sufficient to stay top of mind.”
- Set up meetings with first and second degree connections (i.e. your connections and their connections) and to look up people’s contact details if he’s out of the office and wants to get hold of them.
- Find a licensee for Wise Advice.
- Find an Australian partner to run XO Accounting. Brad posted in two accounting groups that he was looking for someone, had 10 interested responses and then interviewed these people to find the best partner.
- Have better new business meetings. Brad always looks at the personal and company profile of people he’s meeting and their LinkedIn activity.
- Search people who have sent him an email who he doesn’t know so that he knows a bit about them before responding.
- Find out who key decision makers are in a particular organisation. Brad uses LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature to uncover this information.
- Collect debt. Brad’s team have used it to find late payers!
Brad also uses Twitter, primarily as a brand awareness tool and to drive traffic to his blog and website.
Brad’s advice to others?
“When I talk to other accountants they’re usually reluctant to use LinkedIn and other social networks because they think it will take a lot of time. However, if you build it into your daily routine (much like checking your emails) it doesn’t take long and there are helpful tools such as Hootsuite or Buffer to assist.
I believe you have to be out there to get noticed. If you’re looking to build a sustainable practice then the next generation of clients are using these tools – so you need them too. At the very least make sure you’re listening to see what’s trending and what people are saying about you and your firm.
Big companies use social networks for customer service. I’ve found that I get a much faster response if I contact them via Twitter than phoning them. As this becomes more mainstream clients will expect their accountants to respond to them via these channels too.”
This is an excellent example of an accountant using social networks in an integrated way to win work and increase the success of existing planned initiatives.
This case study is one featured in my upcoming book ‘LinkedIn for Accountants: connect, engage and grow your practice’, published by LexisNexis.
Do you have a good story to tell? If so, I’d love to interview you. Please leave a comment below or feel free to connect and I’ll be in touch.