I recently listened to Accounting Web’s Podcast Number 20, Burnout, Budget and GDPR during which John Stokdyk says about Accountancy…. “you think it’s technical but it really is a people profession”. This really struck a chord.
When I was setting up Proten Sales Development, I knew I needed to find an accountant to work with. I’m happy that I can manage the day-to-day accounts, but I knew that I’d need assistance with Year End and especially tax advice, so I had a “shopping list” of services in mind.
I was also interested in finding an Accountant who might be interested in my services, an Accountant with B2B clients who may be in need of help and advice in improving their selling activities.
So I Googled Accountants, reviewed websites to look at the services they offer, particularly focussing on Year End, Tax and Business Advisory Services, and drew up a short list.
Then I called them to arrange an appointment to meet someone in person, and this is where it got interesting.
Out of the nine I called, six were immediately able to arrange a date and time for me to visit, three told me someone would call me back, one of these three called me back within half an hour, the other about two hours later, and the third?…… well I’m still waiting.
There may be any number of reasons why this particular Accountant didn’t call back but needless to say, they were removed from the short list.
Of the eight I visited, seven were genuinely interested in what I was planning to do, provided some advice around setting the business up and told me about how they work with clients. The “discussion” with the eighth solely consisted of them listing the services they offer….. and that was it! It gave me the impression that the sooner they could get me out of the office the better. They were binned too!
The remaining six were all personable, helpful and showed real interest in me and my idea. But two, in particular, stood out. Their entire approach was focused on me, the potential client. They asked lots of questions, they wanted to know about what was important to me, the problems I envisaged facing and then, and only then, did they talk about how they might be able to help. I’ve made my decision now…. It was tough, and I actually felt bad about telling the “runner up” that I wasn’t going to appoint them. Now, if anyone asks me to recommend an Accountant, I certainly won’t recommend numbers eight and nine. I will, however, happily recommend numbers one and two (and possibly three to five as well), even though I only use the services of one of them.
All of which got me thinking. How do you talk to clients, new and existing? And how do your clients talk to their potential customers? Maybe you have clients who could benefit from advice on how to approach their selling activities. If you have, we may be able to help.