We’re big here at BOSS on helping you transition from pure number-crunching into a consulting/coaching role with your clients. For this evolution to work you need to show your clients that you are worthy of their trust. Outsourcing accounting tasks to your overseas team can help you do just that.
Why trust is a commodity
In order for your firm’s transition to work your clients are going to have to see you as more than a human calculator. You need them to see you as a mentor, guide, coach, and a financial authority.
Without this trust your clients are going to have a harder time accepting you changing your payment method to value-based rather than hours-based. They’re also going to squint suspiciously as you introduce new services that you think would benefit them.
Outsourcing accounting tasks frees up an enormous amount of time for you to do just that – become a financial authority. More specifically, it allows you to become the financial authority in regards to a particular client.
Outsourcing accounting is the best first step
So now that outsourcing has provided you with all of that extra time to spend studying up on clients, what other ways can you impress your financial authority on them?
Your firm doesn’t succeed unless the client succeeds. If a client bulks at paying for extra services, point out that the fees will be coming out of the new money being earned, instead of their current operating budget. Framed in that light, they’re not going to be down any money at all, just gaining an insignificantly smaller amount in the future.
Offer a guarantee. How you want to frame the guarantee is up to you. Maybe if you don’t help them boost their bottom line by X amount by the end of the following financial year you’ll offer a rebate of Y% of your fees. Whatever the cause and effect, the point is that having a guarantee shows that you have confidence in your financial wizardry.
Research the client. Use some of that extra time provided by outsourcing accounting services to get up to speed on the client’s current standing. Dropping some of those client-specific numbers into a conversation shows that you have a firm handle on their situation.
Along those lines, use their lingo. It shows that you’re familiar with their industry.
Case studies. Have case studies on display on your website, as well as on paper that you can hand out to a client if the case study addresses that particular client’s situation. It shows that you’re a pro when it comes to sorting out exactly the types of problems that the current client is facing.
Note –Case studies need to be specific. They should detail how you helped clients deal with problem X or Y. Vague “we helped our client succeed” write-ups don’t show your expertise, and usually have to be filled with fluff language which clients will spot out.
Agendas. Take control of meetings with written agendas (they only have to be 1 page long). Establish some authority right from the get-go.
At the end of the meeting summarise the client’s concerns and the actions you’ve instigated so far. Also state what comes next for the client, and what you will be doing on their behalf in the meantime.
Testimonials. Have some testimonials on your website. Written testimonials are fine, but it’s better if you use some of the time outsourcing accounting services affords you to get a video testimonial (thank the testifying client by taking them to lunch).
If possible, get them to highlight a specific problem you helped them solve (like the case studies). And of course, the higher up the food chain a testifying client is in their particular industry, the more weight the testimonial will carry.
Sympathise. Clients are going to trust you more if they see that it’s you and them versus the world (by “world” we usually mean the government’s tax department or creditors).
This means when they go on a rant you don’t correct or criticise their thinking. Let them get it out, and then find the core of the problem that they’re expressing. If they’re talking about being stressed out by creditors, what they might not know that they’re saying is that they’re having cash-flow problems. Bringing this to their attention can show that you have a good understanding of what they’re going through.
Make easily-kept promises. If you get a follow-up email out to a client after a meeting by the time you specified, it shows you’re trustworthy. These little kept promises build up over time.
Sell value. When you’re explaining services, make the pitch be about them. Use the extra time that comes from outsourcing accounting tasks to practice your pitch so that you’re describing how their finances are going to blossom, as opposed to how awesome you and your service are.
Include yourself in your marketing. You should be spending some of that free time that comes with outsourcing accounting services to engage in social media platforms (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) Make sure you have a good picture of yourself as part of your profile, showing up next to each of your value-adding posts. Give your firm a human face instead of it being a faceless institution.
The more you do to establish that you’re trustworthy, the easier the time you’ll have in making the transition to being your clients’ go-to financial gal or guy.