Accountants and CPAs are comfortable sticking to the numbers and reports straight away when meeting with clients. Though logical enough, this may not be the best approach to build ongoing relationships.
Successful client meetings build trust and create long relationships. Similar to other events in your organization, client meetings should be refined and renewed in a personal yet timely manner in order to make the most out of the meeting. If done well, meetings can be productive and can do wonders for your business; else they can be a disaster.
Here are some essentials not to be ignored when you go for a client meeting.
Do Your Homework
Prepare an agenda that sets expectations and establishes an orderly flow for the meeting. Create a list of questions to ask and agree on the agenda with your client. You should have a clear purpose in your mind before going for a meeting. Even if you have a wide range of experience in your industry, it is a good idea to be prepared beforehand. Do some research about the industry in which the client operates through their website or social media profiles like LinkedIn. You should have a clear idea of what you can do for them.
Know Your Client’s Vision
Find out what the client’s goals are, their vision and expectations for their business.
Are they looking for specific ways to reduce income tax or control cost for their business? The ability to grasp what really matters to them gives you an opportunity for assistance.
If you have a clear understanding of what the client wants, it’s easy to explain the numbers.
Explain With Examples
It is possible that your client is not an accountant himself and is not familiar with even the basics of finance and accounting. You need to look out for ways to explain them in plain language.
Create a written document explaining metrics that could be helpful for the success of their business. Explain the numbers with the help of graphs, charts and examples.
This is where the secret to a great meeting lies. The art of asking good questions is the shortcut to productive listening. Prepare a structure of questions before the meeting to take it into the right direction.
Ask questions that would help you identify unmet requirements. Focus on exploratory questions such as “What are your concerns and future plans for the company?” Be prepared with all the pressing follow-up financial questions.
It’s time for you to move out of Excel. This is what can separate you from others in your industry. Suggest using mobile apps, web portal, cloud technology, etc., to the client. Explain how using technology can help them to increase their business productivity and save time.
Be prepared with sample technology handouts specifically for their business.
Keep Your Fees Transparent
Mysteries are good in movies but not in business. Clients are now becoming demanding about price transparency and certainty. Be transparent in your pricing structure – no hidden charges.
While, it can be tempting to promise more work with less charge to win over the client, if it is not realistic, you’ll lose clients like that in the long run. Be up front and honest about the charges and the client will be happy to work with you.
Renuka Rana, Editor at AceCloudHosting DotCom (http://www.acecloudhosting.com) spends a considerable amount of time writing about technology, including cloud computing and Smartphones. When not writing, she loves to dig deeper into knowing the best and the latest technology in the industry.