For most accountants, the follow-up call is a necessary evil. When you're competing for clients with other accounting firms, however, follow-ups are opportunities to set yourself apart from the pack. By demonstrating excellent client communication from the beginning, you can gain the competitive advantage.
When it comes to follow-ups, many accounting professionals use a similar call script: thank the person for his time, remind him of your value, and express an interest in continuing the conversation. By breaking the pattern with unexpected client communication, you can surprise clients and spark their interest.
Companies often choose an accountant based on the value the accountant can add to the business. If you keep that in mind while you are following up, you can take client communication to the next level. Instead of making the expected phone call, take your response a step further. Review your notes from the initial call and find a topic that is of special concern or interest for the client. Find a recent article that addresses the topic and send it to the client along with a handwritten note that explains how you think the piece will be helpful. You'll demonstrate value immediately and create a personal connection with the client. Plus, according to The Hartford, the simple act of writing a note can let customers know that you're willing to go the extra mile.
If your client communication strategy includes in-person follow-ups, you have the opportunity to wow the potential customer. In the second meeting, give the client a sense of what it is like to work with you. Bring samples of the forms you use, walk them through your accounting software on your laptop, or demonstrate the ease of transmitting financial data. This type of hands-on experience often helps the client see how you will make her life easier, which can have a significant impact on the decision-making process.
When it comes to follow-up client communication, an indirect approach is sometimes best. If you have a prospective client that seems particularly uncertain, you might consider demonstrating your value with a softer sell. An event is an ideal option; it gives your potential clients the chance to talk with current clients in an informal social situation. The event options are endless: you might teach a workshop explaining new tax laws, for example, or host a networking evening for local small businesses. By creating an event that offers something of value for potential clients, you create a low-commitment way to learn more and engage with your accountants.
Whether you're following up with people you met at an industry event or someone you called based on a reference, a creative, tailored response can help you secure new business. Taking the time to invest in client communication can pay off considerably, both in the short and the long run.
(Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)
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