It’s crucial that your accounting firm can build long-lasting relationships with clients, and like any relationship, communication plays a huge role in this. The way you speak to your clients, and what they tell you in return, can determine the level of your impact.
Here, James Ashford shares a core value that dictates how his firm, My Accountancy Place communicates with their clients. James believes this subtle shift, away from the way most other accounting practices speak with their clients, was instrumental in growing his monthly recurring revenue by 50% in the last nine months.https://youtu.be/a6-lFd_Uskw
James points out that when someone contacts your firm, they often call you in some pain. They may have received an unexpected fine, had difficulties with their previous accountant, or are dealing with a specific challenge about their business or tax. When this happens, your natural reaction is to start discussing the specifics straight away—details about the software that can help them, their balance sheets, and profit/loss. But this isn’t necessarily what your clients want to hear.
“The reality is that your clients don't really care about balance sheets. They care about their business goals and what they're trying to achieve.”
Not many accounting firms take a step back at the beginning according to James. Talk about the specifics eventually, but first ask your client or prospect to tell you about their business. What are they trying to achieve? Where are they trying to take their business? What is their revenue now? What are their main goals?
While few accounting firms will have this big-picture conversation about a business at the beginning, even less go the extra step and ask a client what they are trying to achieve in their life. And this, according to James, is critical if you want to maximize your impact and really make a difference
“A business is a vehicle for giving you the life that you want—what you’re trying to achieve in your life.”
James says that when you start to deal with the person first, and the client second, you open up the conversation to a very different thing. You might find out that your client wants to buy a new house in another country, get their child a better education, retire at a certain age, or sell their business for a certain amount. Only when you know this detail can start to have real conversations and understand new ways you can truly help your client.
The game-changing philosophy of person first and client second will let your clients see the full value of what you are able to provide. You will develop life-long relationships, increase your retention rate, sign new clients quicker and have more fun. It’s this core value that can have the largest impact and deliver you the greatest wins.
As Founder of GoProposal, James Ashford helps practices become more profitable and deliver maximum value and memorable service to their clients. He is also part of the faculty at Karbon Academy where he will be teaching others how to grow their accounting firm.