Clients probably won’t come knocking at the start. They won’t form a line outside your door, snaking around the corner. You’ll need to find them. As I said earlier, don’t expect your 1000+ network to send out messages endorsing you “Barry, or Bronwyn is awesome. You guys could really use them.” They just won’t.
You might be the most capable person on the market and immediately available to jump in and solve problems, but here’s the thing – the market isn’t looking. The market is getting by just fine in their mind and the empty seat created when you left the corporate world has probably been filled by someone else already. As a VCFO, you need to create demand and you will be competing against clients’ long held belief that they need a full-time, on-site resource.
Virtual CFO clients tend to be $2-$30M in turnover range. They will have grown beyond the micro-business stage, there are more moving parts to manage. Perhaps the have added staff and need to delegate, put systems and procedures in place to make people accountable. Perhaps they’ve added locations to their footprint or expanded their product or service mix
Prospecting for new clients is tough. How do you solve a problem, if you don’t know if one exists? How do you get to have a’ look under the hood’ to identify problems? How do you persuade someone that engaging your expertise is an investment not an expense? How do communicate value to someone who quite possibly doesn’t even understand what you do?
At the start, the conversation is about your capabilities – you need to swing that around and make it about what you can do for the client. Without a baseline this is presumptuous – and this is the hardest part.
Often the client doesn’t ‘get-it’ until they’ve seen you in action. Once you get your foot in the door, you can then run your ruler over their business and make recommendations based on your expertise and highlight gaps between the client practices and best practice.
Finding an opportunity within your target, means that a few planets must align. Clients must have a problem that needs solving, a present need and you need to persuade them to want it when you are available.
Referrals are obviously a great way to try to be introduced to clients. But in today’s mega connected digital world, despite being a very rich source of building trust, it has very limited reach. It requires a lot of coffee catch ups and more often than not the person you are meeting will be expecting a ‘bone’ before they reciprocate.
These tips were provided by David Dillon, President of the Virtual CFO Association
If you’d like to know more about how to succeed in the Virtual CFO World, enrol in the
Dale Crosby | CPD For Accountants