You before me follows the golden rule. Client-centered accounting firms don’t leave the client experience to chance. They realize without any clients, their practice wouldn’t exist.
No client wants to be taken for granted. With technology, clients now have more choice about who to hire than ever before. As a result, let’s raise the bar for you to engage high value, loyal clients.
The first consult leaves a lasting impression. The traditional first meeting focuses on my brand, my journey, my strengths, my product and all the accolades I have accumulated along the way.
It’s time to give a rest to I. Instead, revolve the conversation around the new potential client. Design your consult so the client does the majority of the talking.
Stop Selling Your Services
No one wants to be sold. And, most accounting professionals don’t enjoy selling their services.
Potential clients fail to recognize your value if you solely discuss their financials. The questions you ask either emphasize your technical skills or highlight your expertise.
There’s a downside to over-emphasizing the functional aspects of your services. Potential clients fail to grasp how your services offer growth strategies, improve profits or reveal high value insights about job costing. Gather all the technical details during your onboarding process.
Change the focus of your initial consultation. Find out about the needs, wants and desires for her business. Specific insight questions show your services extend beyond the books and taxes. As a result, she realizes you solve high value challenges within her business.
Communicate Your Value
Give before you take. Clients research information on the internet before setting up a first meeting. When they search for solutions, be the one they find.
If you don’t enjoy selling your services, then educate first.
The Trusted Advisor Mindset
Do you crave for clients who recognize your value? Then create processes which focus on the client experience.
The decision to work with you isn’t simply about focusing on the numbers. Emotion, combined with logic, influences her decision.
Although you offer accounting solutions, let her know you understand her needs. Is she experiencing frustration, overwhelm, or confusion about her current financials? Appealing to her emotions earns her trust.
Three qualities which communicate your value:
1. Confidentiality: Rise above the industry standard of superficially skimming through the financials. And then, close the meeting with a promise to send your proposal.
Realize trust needs to be earned, especially regarding financials. Set the tone for a meaningful conversation together. Genuinely show interest regarding her business issues and concerns.
She walks away with certain expectations after your first meeting. Therefore, position yourself as a trusted advisor right from the start. Instead of rushing through a cursory, matter of fact consultation, let her know you sincerely value your clients. You accomplish this asking great questions which reveal her core concerns.
2. Listening: Instead of waiting for your turn to speak, pay close attention to her response. When you talk too much, you unknowingly shift the focus from her to you. Doing so feels salesy.
Intently listen to the client’s words, and pay close attention to how she talks. Sounds difficult?
This skill set improves with practice. Active listening includes:
- Tone of voice.
These factors give you insights which extend beyond the words. You’ll grasp what she truly feels about her business challenges. What she doesn’t say sometimes has more relevance than what she shares with you.
Here’s an advanced move: avoiding interrupting her unless the conversation gets off track. If so, then gently take charge of the conversation.
3. Empathy: As an accounting professional, you’re all about the numbers and facts. And, the emotional side of business may challenge your limits.
Clients prefer empathy, not sympathy. Empathy let’s her know you understand her experience. Whereas sympathy states you feel sorry for her.
Without empathy, conversations become dry. Your client wants to know you genuinely care about her concerns; it’s not solely a transactional relationship. Ask great questions to fully scope your client’s needs, wants and desires.
Clients consider three important factors prior to hiring you.
Prioritize customer service and quality rather than compete on price. When you effectively communicate your value, clients will happily pay your fees.
1. Client Experience. Some of the accounting professionals I work with don’t view themselves as a “people person.” In fact, they’d rather not answer phone calls, respond to messages or talk directly with their clients. Client communications stress them out and distract them from daily tasks.
With that insight, we developed a client experience process which works for them and delights their clients.
We systematized it. Now, they inform their clients about what to expect. The work agreement spells out all the details.
A systematized client experience sets boundaries, protects your time and avoids miscommunication.
2. Solutions. Your clients invest in solutions, not your time or the tasks you complete.
As Elon Musk says, “cut through the noise and focus on the signal.” Take a moment to consider the routine tasks which don’t directly affect the outcome. Although you value these activities, they’re low value to your client.
Value is subjective. Clients need to believe what they gain from engaging with your accounting practice is greater than the fees you charge. Educate your clients about the solutions rather than the tasks involved.
3. Price. Price is a factor clients consider. Ideal clients prioritize the experience and solutions over price. Whereas price sensitive clients seek the lowest cost possible.
That’s exactly why you want to communicate your value during initial consultations.
When you communicate your value, you no longer need to sell your services. Instead educate clients about how you solve their problems. This sets the stage for your accounting practice to earn more without burning out. Claim your FREE RESOURCE today to separate your fees from time.