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Selling Clients

Best way to go about it

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I have written an article on tax for a magazine.  Normally when I do this I would expect 3-4 new clients in the week of the publication and a couple in the following months.  They are small clients.  Around £1,000 - £1,500 fee maximum, but they will be ongoing.  

I am offloading by current client base, and want to concentrate on writing, so I am thinking of "sellling" the clients which will contact me.

Has anyone got any ideas on the best way to to this?  What would be a fair price?  A percentage of first year's fee, and a smaller ongoing percentage?  A flat rate?

What would be fair and reasonable and what would be the best way to go about it?  

Perhaps speak to someone first before the article is published?  Wait till the clients call?

Looking for ideas?

Replies (37)

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By Bendy Wendy
07th May 2019 12:34

Duplicate post. Will try to work out how to delete this one.

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Replying to Bendy Wendy:
By Tom Herbert
07th May 2019 13:14

That's deleted for you now BW :-)

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By andy.partridge
07th May 2019 12:47

Do remember that what you describe is not selling fees, you are merely selling a 'lead'. That lead is from someone who is interested in working with you and not a 3rd party.

The hard work of securing the client, building a relationship with the client and doing the work for the client will be done by someone else, not you.

In my opinion your value in the process might be less than you think. What do you think?

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By Red Leader
07th May 2019 13:21

The fee in the marketplace is normally a one-off between 10-50% of the annual fee. Depends how far along the sales process you get the prospect.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
07th May 2019 13:27

I have from time to time sold leads on a 1/3rd annual fees basis to other, usually new firms who are a similar set up to myself. This was one due on conversion.

It tends to work for about 12 months or so and then they lose interest. The main issue tends to be trust. My last lot were quite rude, and never coughed the final fees so I wouldn't bother with them again, but some other firms I am in touch with and we trade clients from time to time if something comes up in their area or for them in mine.

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By Bendy Wendy
07th May 2019 14:09

Many thanks for the replies.
Ireallyshouldknowthis, did you have a written agreement with the firm which you passed work to? I believe that when claims farmers pass work on to PI solicitors they have a written agreement. I am not sure how the CFs find out whether the solicitor has taken on the client.
I would not intend to go very far down the securing the client route. I would be willing to have the initial chat with them, then pass them on to someone else. The ones that I tend to get would generally sign up anyway. What would the % fee be on this basis? I know that these ones are pretty small fry clients, so am not expecting miracles.
I have another article in a journal in a couple of months, but I know that these clients would be big. Too big for me anyway.

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By mrme89
07th May 2019 14:23

As Andy has stated, it's a lead that you have.

It would be up to the person taking the lead to convert it, which can create a problem in itself.

And yes, you ought to have a written agreement.

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By Bendy Wendy
07th May 2019 14:33

Many thanks for the replies.
Ireallyshouldknowthis, did you have a written agreement with the firm which you passed work to? I believe that when claims farmers pass work on to PI solicitors they have a written agreement. I am not sure how the CFs find out whether the solicitor has taken on the client.
I would not intend to go very far down the securing the client route. I would be willing to have the initial chat with them, then pass them on to someone else. The ones that I tend to get would generally sign up anyway. What would the % fee be on this basis? I know that these ones are pretty small fry clients, so am not expecting miracles.
I have another article in a journal in a couple of months, but I know that these clients would be big. Too big for me anyway.

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By Kaylee100
07th May 2019 15:29

Maybe find a firm that can offer your skills (you need to pass them to someone you think is reputable and will maintain your good name, so to speak) and is prepared to pay a commission for leads?

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By Kaylee100
07th May 2019 15:29

Maybe find a firm that can offer your skills (you need to pass them to someone you think is reputable and will maintain your good name, so to speak) and is prepared to pay a commission for leads?

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By Kaylee100
07th May 2019 15:30

Maybe find a firm that can offer your skills (you need to pass them to someone you think is reputable and will maintain your good name, so to speak) and is prepared to pay a commission for leads?

Yes, I would establish this now so you can pass people on quickly. People don;t liek waiting

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By Kaylee100
07th May 2019 15:30

Maybe find a firm that can offer your skills (you need to pass them to someone you think is reputable and will maintain your good name, so to speak) and is prepared to pay a commission for leads?

Yes, I would establish this now so you can pass people on quickly. People don;t liek waiting

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By Red Leader
07th May 2019 17:45

Another approach is to pass on the leads for a price per lead, say £50 per lead. If the leads can't command that price, then they are probably not worth the time of the accountant to deal with them.

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By Rgab1947
10th May 2019 12:39

Conventional wisdom is that it takes 20% to 25% of revenue to get the revenue.

So I am always willing to pay up to 25% of year 1 fees for a new client. But for that I expect a very warm lead.

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By jackpot
10th May 2019 13:28

Hi Bendy Wendy

We have an agreement with an accountant who passes work to us. This is based on 10% of the first years fees, and then 10% each year after that for 5 years.

I suppose the subject matter of the articles will be the deciding factor as to whom you would pass these clients onto. Given that the aritcles are for a tax magazine they may be a specialist type of client/query.

My view is this arrangement can work well for both parties.

Jon Stewart
Page Tax Consulting

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Replying to jackpot:
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By Bendy Wendy
10th May 2019 14:49

No they are not for a tax magazine. They are about tax for a magazine. I have written for tax magazines, but not this one. This one next month any accountant could probably do them. They would be pretty small fry. When I have done them myself I have charged anywhere between £1k and £1.5k. But I am trying to get away from doing work myself.
The one in a month or so would be bigger clients. When I have got enquiries from this source in the past I have just told them I was not interested but have suggested another firm. I have not charged the other firm but I am thinking that I can in the future, so just stop doing the work myself.
Rgab, what do you mean when you say you would want the lead to be "very warm"? If you are only paying the referral fee on billing the client what is the risk? I would not expect to receive anything if the client was not billed.
I have had some enquires by PM, so will respond to them all. Many thanks

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Replying to Bendy Wendy:
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By jackpot
10th May 2019 14:55

Ok, noted.

Sounds interesting in any event and I agree that if you are only paid once the client has been billed, there is not much risk for the person receiving the referral.

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7om
By Tom 7000
10th May 2019 16:21

I will give you 33% of the first years fee of all the ones that sign up.

Although for this to work geography is usually important. You have to be close to me otherwise the clients wont be interested. GU14 7LY

I will buy your other clients too... but again Geography

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Replying to Tom 7000:
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By Slim
10th May 2019 19:20

Ill give 50%

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Replying to Tom 7000:
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By Slim
10th May 2019 19:20

Ill give 50%

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Replying to Slim:
7om
By Tom 7000
10th May 2019 21:01

Oooh bidding war

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By Glenn Martin
10th May 2019 17:25

Sites like Bark and Servicestart sell leads for £20 to £50 each but are a low standard.

Will the problem you not have is that if they contact you following an article you have written is it not you they want so if you pass them on to someone else.

would a better model not be to take them on yourself then subcontract the work on to someone else so you get the £1500 fee then 30% of the fee to whoever does the work.

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Replying to Glennzy:
7om
By Tom 7000
10th May 2019 17:41

We do that for some people too act as back office :)

www.ttca.co.uk

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Replying to Tom 7000:
By Glenn Martin
10th May 2019 17:45

Tom you never miss a trick.

Just a money making machine

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Replying to Glennzy:
7om
By Tom 7000
10th May 2019 17:54

Thank you, one of the nicest compliments I have ever been given, especially by a fellow professional.

Providing a good service to our clients and the fellow members of Aweb who need a bit of help, one way or another :)

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Replying to Tom 7000:
By Glenn Martin
13th May 2019 13:43

It has to be said you are a great AWEB member always good advice to help others without just hammering folk.

we all could learn a lot from you.

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Replying to Tom 7000:
By Red Leader
10th May 2019 19:31

That's a very female staff you have there Tommy.

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Replying to Red Leader:
7om
By Tom 7000
10th May 2019 21:08

I just hire the best person for the job, whoever they are.

Sometimes, I think crumbs this person is much better than me and they should be interviewing me. Generally then you know you are onto a winner.

That reminds me I need to add 2 more new superstars to the team Abbie and Jenny ... 2 more new starters :)
Onwards and upwards

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Replying to Tom 7000:
Stepurhan
By stepurhan
13th May 2019 13:58

Harvey definitely looks like the best person for the job.

Where does Harvey fit in on the gender split? :-)

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By Bendy Wendy
13th May 2019 12:53

Glennzy wrote:

Sites like Bark and Servicestart sell leads for £20 to £50 each but are a low standard.

Will the problem you not have is that if they contact you following an article you have written is it not you they want so if you pass them on to someone else.

would a better model not be to take them on yourself then subcontract the work on to someone else so you get the £1500 fee then 30% of the fee to whoever does the work.

Yes, I do agree they may just want me as I have written the article. Probably more profitable to sub contract, but in reality I cannot be bothered with the hassle. That is why I don't like hiring staff.

I do periodically dump clients when I have too much going on and too little time. I actually don't mind getting the clients in, and I don't mind signing them up, but its just the doing the work that I cannot be bothered with.

Thanks everyone who replied, and PM'd. I will respond to each one.

I have some of your contact numbers by PM, so if I do not get around to contacting you and setting up an agreement I will just tell the client to ring you. This first lot will be small fry anyway.
I am based in the North of England and I know that is a problem for a couple of people. However, for that level of fee I would never see the client anyway. Its only for more profitable clients I would meet them.

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By Zia Khan
13th May 2019 11:44

Hi, Bendy if you are looking to forward or sell your clients or leads please contact us. And we can discuss further options. Regards Zia

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Replying to Zia Khan:
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By andy.partridge
13th May 2019 13:52

My guess is the OP's name is Wendy, not Bendy.

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Replying to andy.partridge:
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By Bendy Wendy
13th May 2019 14:17

andy.partridge wrote:

My guess is the OP's name is Wendy, not Bendy.


Ha ha. Both wrong. Nick name when I was younger as I did a lot of gymnastics.
I didn't want my real name on here.
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Replying to Bendy Wendy:
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By andy.partridge
13th May 2019 15:56

My apologies. Bendy it is, then.

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Replying to Bendy Wendy:
By Glenn Martin
14th May 2019 17:29

Are you still bendy then when not doing tax returns.

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Replying to Glennzy:
By Red Leader
14th May 2019 17:55

Steady lad.

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Replying to Glennzy:
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By Bendy Wendy
17th May 2019 18:31

Glennzy wrote:

Are you still bendy then when not doing tax returns.


Sadly not half as bendy as I was when I was!
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