ICYMI – #TeamClarity run a Facebook Live every Wednesday at 11am GMT covering off FAQs from the #ClarityCommunity. This week, Sam and Amy talked through three top tips for when (and how) to contact your small business clients. Watch a recap video or check out the write-up below. If you have a question you would like answered, please send through to Amy on firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be sure to include it in our topic rota!
When to contact your clients
There really is no bad time
Particularly at the moment, there is no such thing as too much contact with your clients, as long as you’re providing value and support.
It’s easy to forget in January with tax returns deadlines taking over that actually your clients aren’t just sitting around waiting for their returns…
January signals the start of a new year. It’s the time where people are making their plans and setting their objectives. Be a part of that journey with them and create a strategic and action plan with your clients that you can then hold them accountable to.
BUT be visual. Don’t talk to your clients about ‘having a Clarity meeting or strategic planning meeting’. Show them what that means for their business. Email a simple report out directly from Clarity showing the potential profit improvement they can achieve with say a 5% increase in their key numbers. Or record a video showing them their figures and what might be possible.
Inspire and excite your clients about their businesses and show them their numbers in a way they have probably never seen before.
You had me at…
One of our workshop attendees did just that yesterday. She sent out an email that started with, “we’ve been crunching your numbers” and went on to show the potential in their business. The client’s response? “You had me at crunching your numbers”.
A note about data
What holds firms back sometimes from engaging in these conversations is a lack of confidence in the data.
Two things to consider here :
- If the data is never up to date or accurate, presumably you are not doing the bookkeeping yourselves. This is a great opportunity to win the bookkeeping by showing what sort of service and value you’d like to be providing if you had up to date data.
- It is about starting the conversation. It’s about showcasing the possibilities and potential within their business and highlighting the support you can offer to help make it happen.
Even a broken clock is right twice a day. If you need to, go back to the last year-end where hopefully you will have complete confidence in the numbers.
“I had a prospect, referred to me by an existing client, looking for a bookkeeper. Reading between the lines they need more than bookkeeping, so I asked for some financial information. It wasn’t current data, but even though I had only just begun my time with Clarity, I plugged the numbers into Clarity. When I ran through the 7 key numbers and explained how I could work with them to improve them to reach their goals, their exact words were:
“that looks exactly like what I need.”
I am delighted to report that they accepted my planning advisory proposal, lifted straight from the Clarity suggested packages. We are also going to do their bookkeeping and management
I know it won’t always be this easy, but Clarity gave me the tools and confidence to secure the client doing the type of work I enjoy, that was what the client needs and at a margin that is more profitable than before.”
The prospective client is now a new client paying £800/month.
We might be sick of hearing this word, but be proactive!
Imagine you’re a business owner juggling a million different things, struggling to manage cashflow, paying for VAT returns, looking after their team and growing the business. Imagine if their accountant reached out and told them they’d been crunching their numbers and been thinking about you and based on the data we have, this is the potential profit improvement in your business. Who wouldn’t want that?! The large majority would bite your hand off to have that meeting.
Use the Power of Portfolio View in Clarity. Identify where your clients might need additional support and reach out to them on that basis. Sort by the core cash gap and get in touch with all of those clients with a shortfall about a cashflow forecast or building a funding plan, for example. Be proactive with your client base and spot the opportunities to add value to their business.
Some people like to do it at a year-end meeting. You have the comfort of knowing the data is accurate and you have a meeting booked in already. Known as Not extra time-time. Pretty much every accountant I speak with complains of being time-poor. They are constantly chasing their tail. So you might have listened to the above and thought that’s great but how do I find the time to service it.
One way is to add some time on to a meeting that you will already be having. Year-end meetings can be very backward focus. It might be a nice change to end them looking forward and building out a plan for the next year.
The danger here is that year-end meetings can be long anyway, going through nitty-gritty and the client may already be frazzled at this point. It might be better to say that you’ve been crunching their numbers and would love to book in a meeting in the next couple of weeks too.
However, if the year-end meeting is simply to sign off the accounts and talk about some tax planning, then it may be a good time to fire their imagination and plan for the next 12 months.
It’s important to judge the situation and understand the news you’re delivering in that meeting.
Management accounts month/quarter end
A number of our members use a management account month or quarter end to deliver this service. They include a page or two from Clarity in their management reports so that there’s always a forward looking element included.
This is a great time to check in on any agreed actions if an action plan has already been completed.
Much like the year-end meeting, it depends on the style and how much there is to get through. Some firms have opted to take the Clarity-style meeting in place of a traditional management accounts meeting. Instead, focusing on their 7 key numbers and creating actions and recommendations to improve them over the next month or quarter.
When they show interest
If the client opens the door for you, make sure you go through it with them! If they reach out and ask for a forecast, a conversation about their business generally, about business growth, use this opportunity to inspire and excite them by painting the picture of what else might be possible.
This was our rundown of when to contact your clients. In conclusion, there is no bad time! The key thing is that you are consistently keeping in touch and adding value. Clarity provides the perfect structure and system for you to do that with your entire client base.
Clarity is a global platform that combines the power of cutting-edge technology and proven award-winning systems to enable our members (accountants, bookkeepers and advisers) to create, package, price and deliver added-value business advisory services to their small business clients. By doing this, we help them increase revenue by 50%, net profits by 125%, engage their team, free up time and create freedom – helping their clients to do the same along the way.
If you don’t believe those numbers, check out our calculator here. You can play with your own numbers to see your firm’s potential. Then, take our new Success Factor quiz to understand your firm’s success factor score and ability to thrive here.