It takes effort, but building solid relationships with your clients is one of the most important things you can do as an accounting practice.
You’ll hold onto them longer, keep them engaged, gain more upsell opportunities, increase your chance of referrals, and develop a more positive reputation. Loyal clients who see you as a trusted advisor are vital to the growth of your practice.
So what are some tactical ways to build trust and nurture your client relationships?
Use social media to reveal the human side of your own practice. Shine a light on your team and their individual personalities. Your clients will likely be more trusting if they can recognize the people behind the business.
Offline interaction is just as important. Depending on the occasion, a simple thank you, birthday wishes or a congratulatory message will show real appreciation and respect—especially if they’re handwritten. They will not go unnoticed. The amount of energy that goes into crafting a genuine message or sending a gift of appreciation is insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but each time it will solidify the way a client views your practice.
Without good communication, relationships will not grow. This is not just about relaying information. It’s about listening. What are your clients’ concerns and frustrations? What can you clarify for them? The more they feel like you honestly care about the health of their business, the more they’ll look to you for guidance.
After any meeting, be proactive and schedule the next. And be sure to have extended quarterly check-ins to review any business changes and explore upsell or cross-sell opportunities.
Email newsletters are another effective tool. Sending emails regularly can keep you top of mind with clients, but be careful—the last thing you want to do is fall into the trap of sending newsletters too frequently. Be informative, be helpful, and educate your clients on how to maintain financial health.
If you routinely remind clients how you’re adding value, they’ll continue to pay for your services. And don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. How can you improve your offerings? What else do your clients need or want? How can you give them more value and improve the relationship further?
Every chance you get to chat with a client is an opportunity to highlight your expertise. When your clients understand what goes on behind the scenes, it contextualizes the scope of work that is required and how important it is to them.
The key here is transparency. Get your clients to understand financial terms, compliance laws, and nuanced processes. If you can empower your clients and help them to grasp the work you do, you’ll be able to have more meaningful conversations with them about their business. The more they comprehend, the more they’ll be able to trust and value your judgment.
Just like any relationship outside of work, your bond with a client is built and upheld through the actions you take over time. It’s also something that’s rooted in character. When you build a positive rapport with clients, opportunities will open up. Your clients can become one of your biggest growth enablers.
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