Keeping Close to Your Clients
Hi everyone. I hope the summer is going well for you. Since there are still a month or so of summer left for most of the US, there is plenty of time for you to use the good weather to your advantage. While e-mails and phone calls are effective, they have their limits in terms of contributing to a meaningful relationship. Periodically you need to actually meet with your clients, listen to their concerns and offer some practical, strategic suggestions to help them through the challenges presented by the current economy. (Or any economy, for that matter!)
Here is a story from a friend of mine who was a managing partner at a firm in Spartanburg, SC. He told me that he used to simply 'drop in' on clients, stopping to chat on his way to or from the office. Once a client said he was about to go over to the bank to make a deposit, and the partner (CPA) offered to ride along. They were in the car together for about 15 minutes when the business pwner/client mentioned a fleet of vehicles he was considering leasing. The conversation led to his revealing other management and operations decisions he was contemplating that he had never broached to the CPA for lack of time or opportunity. Sitting side by side, with nothing to do but talk, many ideas floated to the surface.
I know this scenario doesn't work for everyone! It may not be at all practical for you to visit clients in such an impromptu manner, depending on your clients proximity to your office, the regional culture, or your resources, but instead you can schedule time together at their location for an informal or formal discussion. Nothing can really compare to being face-to-face with your "A" clients.
I encourage you to try to fit some visits in soon!
Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, will lead a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.