Add Value By Finding Ways To Say Hello

By Linda Coles

If you are like me, the only time your accountant calls you is when there is either a question to be asked about your accounts, or to make an appointment to go over them when they are finished. Never have they once called and offered any kind of business advice or added any extra value without me first asking for it and yet most accountants advertise “We help you grow your business”. I’m not sure how.

Has your accountant ever called you to say:

  • “I noticed last years costs were way higher than the previous year’s, maybe we should get together and look at what has caused it”.
  • “Your revenue this year is down significantly on the previous year, I have some ideas on how we might change that back”
  • “We are holding a client evening, drinks, nibbles and networking, and I thought you might like to come and meet some new faces”.

I had the pleasure of meeting a very forward thinking accountant practice this week, with quite a different way of thinking for their industry, which always sparks an interest in me. A company that is really trying to look at ways their people can make a difference to their clients, not just a marketing department creating printed brochures and periodical newsletters like many others.

They have figured out just where they can add extra value to their clients by finding ways to say hello. Talking to clients is more about listening to what is going on in their lives and seeing how you can best help.

As people buy from people they like, know and trust, it makes sense to spend some time strengthening your relationship with them.

Here are just a few ways they are being proactive:

  1. The use of email is discouraged whilst picking up the telephone is encouraged.
  2. Every partner and associate is encouraged to attend one networking event per month, so 12 per year. If you don’t get out and meet new people, how will you get to meet new clients?
  3. Their email signature is a revolving one, and so with each email they send out, it could have 1 of 4 relevant business messages on it.
  4. Their regular newsletters are business tips, not compliance mumbo jumbo but short, useful and practical articles with a call to action attached.
  5. After they have finished their client’s accounts, they have a checklist of things to look at such as did the client’s profit drop last year? Has their borrowing dramatically increased? Anything that looks a little out of the ordinary that needs further investigation, they schedule a meeting with their client to discuss possible remedies.
  6. They hold interesting seminars for their clients on practical subjects several times per year. Another chance to say hello and add value.

As most businesses don’t get much more than an annual bill from their accountant, its refreshing to see a business striving to add huge value to their clients giving them a real point of difference, and I should think they get a large amount of referral business too.

You don’t need to be an accountant to add extra value and say hello; there are ways most businesses can do this for their customers:

  • Restaurants and cafes can hold cookery classes one day per month
  • Hairdressers can invite clients to free hair demonstrations
  • Mechanics can invite clients to car maintenance workshops
  • Car showrooms can hold test drive open days

Clients appreciate the extra attention, information, and time you spend on them so find an excuse to say Hello to your customers and clients and add a little more value to them at the same time.

Posted: Wednesday 15 January 2014