Personal relationships are important when you provide traditional accounting services, but they increase in importance by many orders of magnitude when your firm provides advisory services. But how do you build personal relationships with your clients, staff, and vendors? In this article, we will look at a few ways to refocus your staff on the importance of relationships.
The Power of Help
Help is a two-way street. It builds trust in both the person asking for help and the one giving it. When you ask a client for help, it shows you respect them enough that you value their input. This is a valuable but often overlooked fact. Help is not just for the helpless. It builds relationships.
You can start by asking your staff for help when you are behind. It shows them you trust them, allows them to exercise new skills, teaches them to work more collaboratively, and helps them learn to be more confident with clients. You can also ask your clients for help. Ask them to follow you on social media, review the services you provide, and submit feedback. Most will be happy to do so, and you will build a relationship.
Business Success Relies on Personal Goals
To understand what your clients want, you need to have meaningful conversations and build a strong relationship. People may be reluctant to share their actual goals, but a roadmap for success makes little sense if you’re heading in the wrong direction.
For example, your client may tell you their goal is to increase profit, but after you talk to them, you discover what they want to do is work less. The truth is you can probably help them do both, but not until you get to their actual goal. Here are some tips for discovering your clients’ true goals:
- You won’t find these goals in a quick phone conversation. Schedule a lengthy meeting, either face-to-face or via video conferencing, and get to know them. Discover who they are and what they want, not just out of business but out of life.
- It could take more than one conversation, so take notes and remember to ask them again about anything that could be expanded on.
- Once you understand how they define success, it will be easier to suggest advisory services. When you can relate your advice to their actual goals, they are more likely to listen to what you have to say.
Your Role as a Teacher and Coach
In a perfect world, when one of your clients needs a management accountant, they will ask for one. But the truth is that many businesses can’t afford the added cost, especially after the last few years. They may need one. They just don’t have one.
Your firm’s success is tied to your client’s success, and your job is to give them the best outcome. To help fill the gap with cash-strapped clients, you can teach them how to read their financial data themselves and understand which metrics are most important to them to empower them. If they have financial dashboards, you can help your clients customize them to find the answers they are looking for. You can point them in the right direction.
Many of your clients could be scared of the technology you provided them and lack the confidence they need to do it themselves. Walking them through the steps will give them the confidence they need, and it won’t detract from the advisory services you provide. Instead, it shows them how advisory should work.
How We Can Help
Pacific Accounting & Business Services provides white-label accounting services to firms like yours that are moving from a bookkeeping and accounting-based relationship to an advisory-based one. At PABS, we think there should be nothing holding your firm back from scaling up your business or providing the type of services that provide more value for your clients. Connect with us today to learn more!