Risk and reward: the power of face to face meetings

An advisor and a client shaking hands in agreement over a desk in an office

At Futrli we live and breathe cutting-edge technology, and embrace industry-leading tech every day. We use Slack for internal comms, Bob for HR and Asana for team planning. However, when it comes to making tough decisions, or deciding future strategy, we are strong believers that having face to face meetings with colleagues, partners and clients is vital.

In te reo Māori, New Zealand’s indigenous language, ‘face to face’ translates to ‘kanohi ki te kanohi’. There is a strong belief within Māori culture that kanohi ki te kanohi communication is essential. It’s crucial for the development of meaningful relationships.

Meaningful relationships are at the heart of advisory. Let’s dive a little deeper into the ways that kanohi ki te kanohi, or face to face communication, will be essential in your advisory journey.

Get everybody on the same page

It’s easy to get caught up in the jargon of your industry. Remember that your clients aren’t accountants, so don’t speak to them as if they are.

Meeting with your clients in person is a great way to ensure you’re both on the same page. This will naturally encourage you to explain issues and propose solutions in a language you both understand. Additionally, it’s more likely that candid and casual conversation will flow when you meet with your clients face to face. So, it’s a great opportunity to pick up on some pieces of info your client may not think to mention through electronic communication.

Get to the heart of your clients’ problems

Meeting with clients face to face is a great opportunity to ask open-ended questions, which helps you get to the bottom of core pain points in their business. We often tell advisors to start their meetings by asking:

“What do you want to achieve this year?”

You will be able to pick up on the body language and unfiltered reactions of your clients when you’re sitting with them. Asking questions like this in person doesn’t allow for the grace period that an email response does. With this approach, you’ll get to the heart of the problems your clients are facing and can focus on the areas that truly matter.

Meet the growing expectations of your clients

A key trend for advisory in 2019 is to lead with your knowledge. You can utilise cloud accountancy to do the heavy lifting while you mentor your clients with your expertise in business.

Simon Kallu from GrowFactor acknowledges that businesses are starting to expect more. When conducting client meetings, Simon explains “we sit down with and focus on the client… for a tiny startup, the maximum we’d go between meetings is 90 days” Presenting industry knowledge in person is a great way to build client relationships that really last.

Face to face meetings build trust

As you transition from being an accountant to becoming an advisor, you want to be your clients’ trusted go-to. Your client should see you as a source of knowledge, support and reliability. It’s near impossible to build this kind of relationship through email or even over the phone.

One of the main benefits of advisory is being able to see why things are happening, not just showing that they are happening. Your ability to do this will come once you have spent time face to face with your clients. You will understand the goals of the person and the team behind the business and the current hurdles they face. This is what makes advisory an irreplaceable service for clients.

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