One of the core differences you’ll notice when investigating and implementing advisory services is the way client relationships are created and fostered. It’s important to get some advisory wins under your belt when you’re setting up. How? Well, let us explore.
The majority of new clients you obtain will likely still be down to referrals. Business owners are actively seeking out advisory services now, as their value is unmatched by compliance work. It’s still important though, of course, to explore marketing online and offline. Doing a stand-up job for everyone on your books will put you in great stead to attract new business.
For clients you only see once a year who are already on your books, advisory gives you the perfect chance to rekindle your working relationship with them. We’d recommend giving these clients a phone call and simply asking how things are going. If you can, get them to come to your office or go out to their workplace if they have one. As soon as you’re face to face, you can start building your rapport.
1. It doesn’t have to be lonely at the top
There’s a good chance your clients would love someone to discuss their business with. And there are plenty of questions they won’t have even given thought to.
Start simple, though, asking their professional and personal goals. Both of these will impact the path your clients should or wants to follow.
For example, one Futrli partner firm in the UK, The Peloton, have a great system that ensures their clients are put first. When we spoke to their team, they told us:
“We make the targets personal so the clients really get what they want to get out of it, so we might measure things like how much time they’re saving this week to spend with their kids.”
The Peloton advisors measure this time by monitoring the efficiency of their practices in the firm. Using cloud-based tech helps speed up traditional bookkeeping and compliance tasks, which would have taken their clients hours if they’d gone it alone.
An advisor shouldn’t just be an accountant who can provide advice. You need to be ready to form real relationships with your clients so you can help solve their pain points. That’s what’s going to set you apart from other accounting professionals.
2. Find your niche
Once you’ve started building on your existing relationships, it’s time to turn your attention to finding new clients.
A great way of making your name known to a group of similar businesses, or a specific industry, is to specialise your services. Our customer Katherine Haines of KHB Darwin has done this really well. With links in the trades and construction industry, she’s focused her entire attention on this niche. That’s just one way of entering a specific market, though.
If you can find a niche that not many other accountants are working in, you’ll have a near monopoly over the businesses in the sector.
Use branded reports for your clients so when they talk (and they do talk) people will start seeing your brand everywhere. Now you’ve ingratiated yourself into a community of businesses, you can position yourself as their trusted advisor.
3. Nurturing keeps clients sticky
How are you going to best serve your existing and new clients?
Hooking in new business is fantastic, but preventing churn should be at the top of your to-do list.
We’ve found over the years that our subscription model at Futrli lends itself nicely to a full implementation process. Once you sign up with Futrli, you’ll be introduced to a specific team to help you get the most out of the platform. Any questions can be answered, and our team will test your knowledge on specific tasks like setting up forecasts for example. After that, our customer success managers are always on hand to give you a hand and make sure you’re successful in advisory.
Consider doing something along the same lines – when people feel looked after and know they can ask questions as and when needed, they know their money is well spent.
Crucially, regular contact from you helps business owners stay on the path to success. If your clients can trust your advice and know they have regular calls or meetings booked in with you, they’ll feel far more relaxed about getting the support they require.
4. Get your name out there
When things start to settle down and you get in the swing of advisory, you’ll find yourself ready for more. Obtain referrals from your new and existing clients to keep the influx of new business coming in. It’s still the number one way accounting firms get new clients, and now you’re adding more value than ever to clients, it’s really time to push it.
Utilise free channels like social media to get the word out about your new services. Share a blog that explains the why and how of bettering business with advisory and watch the power of the internet get the word out about you. For inspiration, have a look at GrowFactor’s blog. It’s full of insights about the industry and tips for business owners.
We’ve even created a marketing starter kit you can learn from, for those with less experience in marketing.
With a plethora of satisfied customers, you can expand your advisory offerings as much as you like. One of the best things about working in this new way is the scalability of it. As soon as your accountants are upskilled to advisory level, they can add value and increase the revenue from every client on your books.