Talking to new people is great. Talking with your clients often is lovely too, and crucial to maintaining a good relationship.
We love a good chit chat. We make it very clear in our values that we’re the kind of bookkeepers you’d share your crisps with – and we all know you can’t share a nibble without a natter.
Sometimes we get so hung up on trying to get our prospects and clients to engage in conversation with us, that we lose track of what we’re really there to do – to help.
Always think about how you can make life easier
Nowadays, we don’t take on any new clients unless we’ve carried out a Xero healthcheck. We found in the past when we didn’t do this, we were more likely to encounter time consuming problems that would bring our work to a halt. Since then, in honesty, we’ve never carried out a health check where everything has been spot on.
We could have wasted time telling new clients that they need to have their books up to date. We could talk about the importance of checking the bank accounts, profit and loss, balance sheet – or we could just do those things. We realised that most clients come to us time poor, hoping an expert will show them what they need to do to progress, so instead we decided to provide a health check as part of our service.
We now carry out these health checks quarterly with our clients. What system could you put in place to make your client’s lives easier? What trends do you see coming up time and time again?
- Key takeaway: Take a note of the conversations you keep having, and see if there’s a way you can transition from talking to taking action. You may find, like us, that the process you use to set up new clients can be rolled out to make existing clients lives easier too. Double win!
If you can’t make life easier, pass the baton to someone who can
Our clients come to us for all kinds of advice. If we can’t help, we point them in the right direction. We are human, not corporate, and that’s why our clients love working with us. We’re there to help them get what they need, even if we can’t provide it ourselves.
This one can be both a hard pill to swallow and a relief to execute when it comes to prospects. If someone comes through the (virtual) door and you really can’t help them, it’s best to send them on to someone who can. Even if they seem like the perfect client for you. Especially if they are!
The perfect client will respect you for helping them find the best path, and there’s a chance they’ll come back to you in the future when they have an issue you can help with.
- Key takeaway: Sometimes, the most helpful thing you can do is refer business elsewhere. Directing elsewhere isn’t saying no.
You can’t skip the trust building part
Sometimes too much talk can scare people off, whether your services really are the answer to their prayers or not. Jumping straight to a ‘quick chat’ on the phone may feel salesy, and doesn’t give your prospect the freedom to decide for themselves whether you’re the real deal.
Relationships are built on trust, and trust is vitally important to us at FF. Now that we’re all making our buying decisions online, we have to find ways to develop and nurture that trust before an in-person meeting or phone call.
Some prospects may be happy to skip steps and pick up the phone, but most will want to be given a menu of ways to get to know you. They want to read blogs, download relevant guides and training materials, watch videos of you and your team. When people watch videos of you, it kickstarts the relationship, so by the time they call you, it feels like they already know you.
When you start to build content that speaks to the right kind of client, it also serves to disqualify the wrong kind. You’ll find those who doesn’t align with your message won’t get in touch, which is a good thing!
- Key takeaway: Start building a content marketing engine, to cultivate client loyalty and build trust with the right kind of prospects for you.
There is a perfect blend of human talk and automation
For business owners who want to reinvent their bookkeeping, we have a tailored questionnaire designed to help them get them communicate their needs with us fast. We follow up with a more efficient phone call that gets right to the heart of how we can help.
Of course, there will always be situations where a good honest human conversation is needed. It’s all about having a solid base of automated systems, complete with a human cherry on top.