How to Get Small Business Owners to Discuss Their CPA

business networking
Share this content

Most accountants don’t like being ‘salesy,’ but at social events you may find yourself needing to make small talk with a business owner who could be a potential client.

So what do you talk about? Once the “what do you dos” are out of the way, the obvious commonality is your profession. So how do you get them talking about their accountant (if they even have one)?

Three Ground Rules

It’s easy to get off on the wrong foot. Avoid these three mistakes:

1. Overtly selling. Remember the pushy real estate or insurance broker? That’s not you.

2. Criticizing. You don’t light your own candle by blowing out someone else’s.

3. Price cutting. Competing on price is a race to the bottom. Think about the wireless ads you see on TV.

The Basic Questions

So, you mention you are an accountant and they explain their business works with one. They name a local firm you recognize. Give a compliment, not an off color question like: “Are they still in business?” Remember the candle analogy.

Next, you might ask: “How long have you been working together?” The object is to get them talking and stay on the subject.

This leads into: “What do you like best about them?” and “Would you recommend them?” If they can’t think of anything positive to say, you might ask: “Why do you stay with them?”

Please Login or Register to read the full article

To access all of the content on our site, register (it's free!) or login to your existing account.

BONUS: If you register now you can opt to receive a digital copy of "Transform!" , Richard Francis' new book for growing firms [US/Canada ONLY].

About Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders

Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He provides high-net-worth client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book, Captivating the Wealthy Investor, can be found on


Please login or register to join the discussion.

Oct 13th 2018 14:48

Nice article about a fragile subject/situation.

I like to point out what a good consultant/advisor SHOULD be doing in the particular prospect's situation and then hand out my card and tell them I'm available if anything changes. Then I do on to explain that things happen in life that might cause the advisor to quickly depart from the scene (divorce, physical ailments/death, etc.)

In fact, years ago, I came upon a client whose advisor simply disappeared...No calls, no warning...Nothing! Turns out the advisor had a mid-life crisis, left his wife, family & business and took off to a foreign country with his secretary! You never know what might happen and being No. 2, waiting in the wings CAN payoff...

Thanks (1)
to Michael Abrams
Oct 16th 2018 20:24

Thanks for commenting on my article. Establishing yourself as the alternative is an ethical thing to do. As you put it, "I've available if anything changes." You are respecting the situation is fine right now, but no one knows what the future holds.

Thanks (0)