Do your clients know all the good things about you? They know you’re great at providing the services that you’re already providing. And they know, like, and trust you. You know about their businesses and their financial lives.
But do they know about the other things you can do for them? More importantly, do you know about all the things you can do for them?
Clients don’t always know what they really need from you. They know they have a problem, and need help solving it. But the problem they see might just be a symptom of a deeper problem. If you only solve the superficial problem, and ignore the deeper one, you’re missing out on a great opportunity to transform their businesses.
When you move beyond solving superficial problems and into the realm of transforming their businesses and their lives, you’re increasing the value of what you’re providing them.
When you increase the value of what you provide for your clients, you can charge more for your services.
How do you let them know about everything you can do for them? You can start by asking questions. You’re not trying to sell them anything. You’re just trying to find out more about what they might need. You would be surprised at how few accountants ask their clients these probing questions. And at how much clients love to be asked these questions.
These questions shouldn’t be an interrogation, but rather a gentle probing that demonstrates that you’re interested in their business and in their success. By finding out what they need now and in the future, you can help them reach their goals.
Here are some questions to get started:
- What is your succession plan?
- Where do you want to be in five years? in ten years? in twenty years?
- What do you need to do to get there?
- What’s your plan to get you there?
- Do you have a financial advisor and an attorney? Can we talk to them?
- What are your goals and dreams?
- When you started this business, did you think you’d be where you are now?
- Are you as far along now as you thought you would be at this point in time?
- What are the particular challenges facing your business now?
- If I had a magic wand that could make one problem disappear, what problem would that be?
When should you ask these questions?
This can be a part of your onboarding process, and part of your annual or monthly review with them. You can also write blog posts or newsletter articles that address these topics and encourage readers to call your firm to get more information.
By asking these questions, you’re doing several vital things.
You’re deepening the relationship with you to make it sticky
The relationships your clients have with you are among the deepest and most intimate of all relationships. I’ve seen accountant-client relationships that span decades and generations. The longer these relationships last, the more valuable it is for both parties.
You’re helping them define where they want to go
It’s easy for business owners to get caught up in the cycle of always doing the work and ignoring strategic planning and thinking. By helping them to step back and see the bigger picture, you’ll help them define what they want their business to do for them.
You’re learning what other services they need now and in the future
The services your clients buy from you are most likely based on what they already buy from you. While it’s true that you have these additional services listed on your website, your clients aren’t likely to look there when they need something extra. Instead, they’ll ask friends and business associates, or they’ll look it up online. If you haven’t talked to them about the other things you can do, they’ll go somewhere else.
Don’t make your clients go elsewhere for services you can provide. By letting your current and future clients know about all the additional services you can provide them, you’ll help their businesses thrive while adding additional revenue to your firm. A win-win all around.