In order to ensure that you keep that big client, there are a few things you must do. In a recent article published on CBSMoneyWatch.com, author Tom Searcy explains “How Not to Lose that Big Deal You Just Won.” We share three of his four tips here:
1. Move Fast. Initiate those meetings in which you begin gathering financial data as soon as possible. You want your new big client to see you as proactive, and this requires you to begin ‘walking the walk’ immediately upon ‘talking the talk.’ Do not let a month go by without getting this client all that crucial accounting data you promised them in those initial sales pitches. Also remember that this data means nothing without your insight.
2. Manage Expectations. Many of your clients may not have worked with an accountant or bookkeeper before and are unsure what to expect. The rest have and may be running on old expectations. It’s important to have a preliminary meeting where you define the relationship and your expectations, taking special note of what your clients expect from you. You may need to negotiate some of these expectations so that both you and your client are satisfied. Talking points include information pipelines, acceptable methods and times for interaction and their desired services.
3. Over Communicate. Searcy explains, “Once there is an award [a contract], the communication has to increase, even though the client may not be as engaged. They stopped being engaged because this process took a lot of effort and they have other projects. People won’t remember their disengagement when a deal starts to flounder. They will just put the blame on you. That is why you have to over-communicate.”
Because of this, it’s important that you establish a method of regularly reporting to your clients in order to distribute key accounting data and inform them of any red flags or key indicators they should be aware of. Discuss a method that appeals to both of you. Some may prefer email while others would like a verbal report over the phone. Whatever the case, you should not be afraid to communicate frequently if the information requires it.
Clients are the lifeblood of any financial practice. Let’s face it; without them, you’re just someone with a fully-loaded computer. Once you secure that big client, or any client at all, for that matter, you need to do what’s necessary to retain them (and it doesn’t hurt if they’re so happy with your services that they gladly refer their family and friends your way). Sound like a dream come true? Not only is it within the realm of possibility, it can be accomplished when you apply these three tips.
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Searcy, Tom. “How Not to Lose that Big Deal You Just Won.” 10 July 2012 csbnews.com