In a crowded market, prospects want better value. Combined with the automation of compliance work and the ability for small business owners to do much themselves, accountants need to offer more. This is where advisory fits in. Whether you are taking your first meeting with a new client, or are a year in, there are six key things you should be doing in every meeting.
Knowing your clients is key. Whether that is preparing dashboards for them, building forecasts, or creating alerts to help your clients stay on top of potential unexpected changes to their business. You want them to feel you are across their business and know their finances inside out. This level of preparedness can give you the authority, and confidence, to give meaningful advice to your client.
When your clients leave your meeting, they should feel that they’ve got more value than if they were working with a competitor. Building the relationship, so they see your meetings as invaluable, is crucial. It guarantees retention and monthly revenue. Offering long and short-term solutions, plus a clear roadmap, are great ways to demonstrate value.
Your clients aren’t accountants, so speaking to them like they are is a mistake. Make sure your client absorbs and acts on your advice by considering the terminology you use, and explaining the issues and proposed solution in plain language.
Open questions are a great way to get to the heart of the issues affecting your client. The more information they provide, the more detailed a picture of their finances you can build. While this is something you would naturally do in your first advisory meeting, it’s important to continue to adopt this approach in order to stay on top of any changes your client may not have mentioned.
Everyone likes to succeed, and setting attainable goals is a great way to ensure your meetings go smoothly and your client feels they are making progress. Whether you’re setting small incremental targets, or making changes to get some quick wins, achievable milestones are a fantastic way to demonstrate progress, as well as the value of your services.
Perhaps the most important facet of any advisory relationship is trust. Your client needs to feel that you’re guiding them towards a better business, providing valuable insights and that you have their best interests at heart. Establishing trust can be very profitable for you too and forms the bedrock of a long and successful advisory relationship.