Traditional accountants crunch numbers and send reports to clients. Proactive accountants analyze data and tell clients how to use that data to make their businesses more profitable. But sometimes telling clients what they need to do isn’t enough (i.e. You can lead a horse to water…). You must motivate them to implement necessary changes-changes that could mean the difference between a successful or a failing business. Examples of changes include cutting back expenses, increasing marketing efforts, or enhancing products and/or services. This elevates you from accountant to Profit Expert, making you much more valuable to clients. Often this requires that you take the time and energy to motivate them to see how these changes are in their best interest. Here are 7 ways you can accomplish that:Determine obstaclesBefore you even speak with a client, it’s a good idea to anticipate what obstacles for change might exist. This enables you to understand why a client may resist change. He/she may be concerned about those obstacles and need reassurance and education on how they can be overcome. A good way to approach this is to assume the client’s perspective. Then brainstorm all potential obstacles. This will enable you to better understand the client’s concerns and address them when you talk about your recommended changes.Align changes with client’s personal goalsIf you can present these changes as those which will better enable the client to accomplish his/her goals, then you are halfway there. But this requires you to know exactly what your client’s goals are. Determine what your client is trying to achieve and see how these suggested changes complement their objectives. This will demonstrate how your recommendations are truly in their best interest.Speak their languageRemember who you are talking to. Your client retained your services for a reason; accounting is not their specialty. Avoid using terminology that will confuse your clients and weaken your message. This doesn’t mean you have to dumb-down your message; it just means you have to present it in a manner in which the client can understand and appreciate.Keep it simple, stupid (KISS)Don’t muddy the waters by including unnecessary details and descriptions. The more complicated the message, the more likely your client is to resist and dig their heels in. Keep it as simple as possible, asking questions as you go to ensure they understand.Talk dollars and senseOften nothing motivates a client more than explaining how recommended changes will impact them financially. This is where specifics are sure to help. If decreasing expenses will improve their cash situation, then give them estimations which they can appreciate. If bringing in more customers will increase profits, share those estimations with them as well.Resolve concernsWhile you may be completely onboard with proposed changes, the client is not yet on the same page. As you share your message, closely watch their reaction. It’s your job to determine what their concerns might be, and then resolve them. And be prepared; you may have to dig a bit to discover exactly what their core concerns are.Encourage baby stepsSometimes the recommendations you want to meet exceed your client’s willingness to change. In this you might have to break things down into baby steps-manageable changes that they can make on a smaller scale. After taking these baby steps ensure that you acknowledge their accomplishments and show them how their changes have positively impacted the business. This will encourage them to implement more changes in order to see more progress.In order to be a truly valuable accountant, you must be willing to encourage clients to change some of their practices in order to increase profitability. This will make you their Profit Expert, and a much more valuable member of their team.
Let Universal Motivate You and Your Staff
We all need a pick me up every now and then. Universal Accounting Center has some exceptional speakers on staff who can motivate you and your team to excel. With a number of individuals experienced in a variety of topics they can help you better serve your clients, better market your practice, and better grow your wealth. Learn more about Universal Accounting Center’s speaker and book one for your next event!