What is the key to a successful accounting business? Is it revenue, number of clients or size of your firm? No it’s your client relationships. Building deeper relationships with your clients is smart business. With the cost of retaining a client far less than acquiring a new one, it’s a no brainer for accountants.
When you have good relationships with your clients, they are less likely to switch to a competitor, and in turn, you become their trusted advisor. So how do you achieve this?
Get to know your clients
Whilst it is important to understand your clients’ financial goals, it’s equally important to understand what motivates them. You need to remember that their business, whilst it is their livelihood, is not who they are. Getting to know their values, characteristics and their key drivers allows you to know how to be of best service to them and become an integral part of their advisory team.
Understand what your clients need − before they do!
Our world is constantly changing, and so are your client’s business needs. Your firm needs to ensure that you remain relevant by keeping up with the changing needs of your clients.
Businesses are very focused on the services they offer, and may not have the time to think about what their own needs are. Understanding their challenges and offering service solutions will ensure that you become a trusted adviser.
Top tips for client engagement
Be proactive – Your clients are busy, and need someone who offers suggestions, anticipates their needs and organise times to meet with them.
Give all your attention to the client – With everyone being constantly connected, it is important when meeting with clients to not take phone calls or check emails.
Keep your word – If you set a deadline, stick to it! Managing client expectations and delivering is key to building deep and trusting relationships.
Understand your clients – Ask questions about their family, interests and holidays. Make sure you actively listen to their answers. When you see articles or advertisements relating to their interests, send these to your client.
Be prepared – Make sure you plan ahead of your client meetings, just as you would if you were going on holiday or meeting friends for dinner. Review their files, research the latest industry developments impacting their business and identify opportunities.
Exceed their expectations
With the increase of online services and offshoring, it is now more important than ever to exceed your clients’ expectations.
Be creative, give your clients ideas that are unexpected and become a consultant for their business. Exceed their expectations, and you will ensure not only a long and positive relationship but also many new client referrals.
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