A recent report on marketing for professional firms observed that ‘more listening, closer relationships and off the clock investment are better marketing (than promotion) and provide the real differentiation so many clients want to see. Clients (and potential clients) want firms to understand and meet their needs more effectively’.
It’s increasingly important that focus is on the quality of client relationships. However, many firms still deal with client communication in an ad hoc manner and don’t put enough effort into really developing a formal approach to engagement with clients.
This process starts with client engagement and then moves towards really understand what clients need and why. As advisors, our role is to help our clients make the right decisions, rather than necessarily make those decisions for them. In this ‘brave new world’ of accounting, the firms that survive and thrive will be those that really take hold of the client relationship and give true value.
Often, the key is effective listening. Active listening means spending less of your time talking, more of your time asking questions that encourage the client to think and to ask questions of themselves.
Consider the type of questions you want to ask, and then put together your personal ‘checklist’ of probing questions. These questions begin with Who, What, Where, Why, How and encourage the client to think about their response. Then use probing questions to explore responses further.
Business discovery questions
- How’s business going for you? Are you doing better than last year? What could be improved?
- What drives your business profits? What’s important about that for you?
- What are some of the things that have worked well for you in business this year?
- How do you think business will go over the next year? What concerns do you have?
- When you say that, what do you mean?
- What will it mean to you when you get there?
- What are the things preventing you from getting there?
- What do you think will change this year?
If you are interested in learning more, we have a free whitepaper available titled “Listening to Clients” Click here for more information
To find out more about your clients: Click Here
This month, we’ve packaged a Special Online ‘Client Management’ series of training sessions – 7 sessions for just $165 inc GST. You will receive links to 2 live sessions as well as 5 recorded sessions guaranteed to improve the way you manage your client relationships. CLICK HERE for further information.
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