The Conversation That Will Propel Your Accounting Practice
It’s just too easy to assume that your clients want only what they come to you for, and then, simply, serve them up the usual menu of accounting and tax.
The problem is that your best clients likely want so much more than accounting and tax. Chances are good they are asking you for more but the questions aren’t getting through to you, because they lack the language to articulate it, or because you’re buried under a pile of compliance and back-office accounting
When you’re in the hole and you want to get out, it makes sense to dig if the tool you have is a shovel. But what you need is a ladder.
And the ladder comes in the form of client interviews.
Client interviews are a key step on the path out of accounting rut. Client interviews are the differentiator that you need, to put your accounting practice on the trajectory of working less, without sacrificing income.
When you ask your clients what they want and then you turn right around and give it to them – it’s one of the most powerful things you can do to transform the quality of the service you provide.
Here are some Don’ts and Do’s when it comes to interviewing your clients:
DON’T follow guidance in Accounting Today that cites: 5 tips that are WAY TOO GENERIC LIKE
- Being a trusted advisor;
- Responding quickly;
- Understanding the client’s business or industry;
- Being affordable; and
- Communicating clearly with non-accountants.
That’s all helpful, but it’s also way (waaaaay) too generic.
When my clients interview their clients, what comes out of it are insights wanting very specific things, like:
- data mining
- tax planning in August rather than November for more time for large purchases when prices are lower
- margins on specific projects
- Estimated vs Actual
- increased clarity on crop yield
- getting ecommerce data to match
- insight on cash available for Facebook ad-spends
Here are the dos:
Tip/ how to solve:
- Don’t ask them what you are doing right or wrong. You’re not looking for feedback on your service. Instead frame the conversation around wanting to serve them better.
- Ask what they like about other service-based businesses. This will give you insight into what’s important to them when it comes to service-based businesses like your own.
- Ask about the challenges in their business, and if they could solve the problem, what would that give them?
- Ask them if they had time to make their business more profitable, what would they do?
These questions will help you understand the problems they have, solutions they are looking for, and the kind of service they want to get. AND THAT could be gold for you.
When you know exactly what your client wants – because you have heard it directly from them, you
- know exactly what to give them
- start giving them what they want
- your life gets easier, and you can stop guessing
- stop giving them things they don’t care about or are less important to them
- start giving them huge value
- and you now have a secret weapon that will not only keep your clients coming back to you, but will also have your clients sending you other clients with the same problems.
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