What clients want from accountants? TLC rather than knowledge

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Here’s an interesting take on what clients really want from their accountants. Most practitioners believe their best currency with clients is their knowledge. Wrong. Clients want TLC and the assurance that their accountants care about them and their business.

 

That you understand accounting, tax and the law is a given. Clients are not really interested in the nitty-gritty. In this sense, your role as accountant is more like a therapist (with a good ear for listening) than a dispenser of knowledge.

A recent article in AccountingToday explain this point perfectly.

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”

Stephen Brunson, a director at Catalyst CPA Marketing uses the following example: Let’s take a look at an all-too-common approach to business development. Picture yourself in this scenario: You’ve got another prospect opportunity coming up and you’re preparing to wow your potential client. You’re going through a checklist of everything you need to showcase — your credentials, your past successes and your industry team of knowledgeable experts. You’ve got facts and figures, you’ve got jargon. You’ve got tax codes and regulations. You’re ready.

But do you have the most important thing the client is looking for?

It’s a common misconception among accounting professionals that what differentiates them from their competitors in the field is knowledge. You think you are just more knowledgeable than the partner at the next firm. Guess what? You may be, and it may not matter at all.

In reality, what often separates one firm and one partner from another is how they connect with their clients. Your sales process shouldn’t be centered on what knowledge you bring to the table; instead, it should be centered on how you will work to provide value to the client in the best way possible. Clients want to know that you care about them and what happens to their businesses and families. Once they know you care, they will begin to trust you, and they might just let you put your wealth of knowledge to work on their behalf.

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