The greatest source of opportunity to increase revenue for a firm is with the existing client-base, yet this group is also the most conditioned price wise to what you used to charge when they first engaged you. How do we break this paradox?
The path to increasing fees with existing clients (apart from inflationary rises) is perhaps the hardest path to find of them all and represents the Holy Grail when it comes to navigating the map of sustainable and incremental practice growth. The core of this issue lies in the education of the client by the firm in terms of what we can deliver; and the belief in ourselves that we can improve and accelerate our client’s business on an ongoing basis.
Crack those two issues and you’re ahead of at least 95% of your competition. There are three stages to increasing your fees from existing clients:
1. Understand What the Client Currently Thinks You Do
I know from over 20 years’ experience that if I were to ask any of your clients what it is your firm does for them, the most common answer I’d receive would be a list of services that they already buy from you. (Tax, audit, preparation of statutory accounts, etc.).
If I were to ask them if your firm does anything else, their answer would most likely be ‘Yeah, we get newsletters from them telling us about other stuff they do, I don’t really know what they are though.’
If I were to ask them what they feel they NEED to push their business onto the next level, they’d tell me about specifics.
If I then asked them why they don’t engage you and your firm to provide that support, they’d most likely tell me that they didn’t know that you could help in that way or that they’ve asked someone else because they thought you COULDN’T support them in that way.
In short, the average client doesn’t know what it is you can do for them. They only know that you can do what they already buy from you. This means, we HAVE to educate the client.
2. Understand That it is Your Responsibility to Educate Your Clients in What You Can Do
We can’t expect the clients to take time to explore your website in search of finding out about other services you have and then understand the application that service has in their business. Plus, they are not interested in what the services are any, but rather what the results and impact on their businesses are, that those services create.
To educate a client, we have to broadcast the outcomes created by our services not the list of services in and of itself.
3. Understand That it’s Time to Fish in Bigger Ponds
Every accounting firm who wants to grow, whether they are big, small or in the middle, comes to understand that they can’t get bigger fees from some of their existing clients and therefore, because of limited capacity, their client mix has to change.
It takes self-belief to start competing for work from larger clients than you’re used to but Hey! if not now, then when? If you can create improvement in business owner’s lives, why not do the same but in bigger businesses?
Remember, the only client situation you can’t improve, is the one you don’t believe that you can improve. So join us for this third session where we’ll offer you:
How to increase fees with existing clients
How to educate your clients in how you can accelerate your client’s growth
How to move from ‘compliance to reliance’ in the perception of your clients and future clients alike.
See you online!
Entry to the 2017 Practice Pathfinder program is now closed. Martin will be appearing at QB Connect in San Jose for a final special edition session. We will be reopening the program for 2018 enrollment in the spring.