Now it’s time to take the knowledge learned (all those great ideas) and bring it to the client. Think about this: Have you given the same amount of time and attention to this existing client (as you did back when you were first proposing your services to them)? Lisa Tierney warns, “CPAs should never get too comfortable in the thought that their clients won’t leave.
“CPAs should realize that their competitors are actively wooing their top clients. Checking in with these clients in a meaningful way is the key to keeping them.” – Lisa Tierney
Checking in with clients – separate and apart from any client deliverable or service-oriented meeting – is a proven methodology in client retention.
Asking key questions to secure the relationship, offer meaningful advice and identify additional services that might be needed should be done on a regular basis.
The seasoned accounting marketing professionals from CPA International offered their insight into the most effective questions to ask clients to engage them in the kind of dialogue that help secure your status as their most trusted financial advisor.
- Am I meeting all of your needs?
- Am I aware of all of your needs?
- I am committed to growing my practice area in your industry. As part of my dedication to your industry – and because I enjoy working with you very much – I would like another client just like you – can you recommend someone I should talk to?
Katherine Farrow adds, “These are important questions to ask. So often our CPAs are hesitant about “over selling” that they don’t offer some solutions that we can provide and the client looks for an outside provider when say, we could have done the administration work on their retirement plan. We need to make sure we strive to meet their needs and also be aware of non-traditional accounting services from which they can benefit.”
Suzanne E. Warden, Marketing Director at VonLehman, a CPA and advisory firm based out of Fort Mitchell, KY (with offices in Cincinnati and Indianapolis) says, “Continued growth depends upon asking important questions like these and the answers they uncover. I especially value the question, ‘Am I aware of all of your needs?’ adds Suzanne, “… because it opens up the conversation entirely, allowing many needs to be discussed. Another version of that question might be “what business challenges are you facing now that we have not discussed recently?”
Asking clients for a referral as part of the retention process (#3) may seem out of context but when you ask a client to refer you – especially when verbalizing your commitment to their industry and to them personally (i.e. “I like you”) – you are actually solidifying your relationship by a request for a reciprocal show of goodwill.
This originally was published in Accounting Today – 2014