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Show Clients How Much Value You Bringby
In her final article on Streamlining Your Compliance Services, Nayo Carter-Gray, EA asks what will be the value to the client when they hire you? Will they gain time, money or peace of mind? Whatever the answer, this is the lens you want to present your value from.
Expressing value can be uncomfortable for most accountants, mainly because we tie value to the amount of money we charge our customers and clients and it relies on us bragging about our skills and expertise. I would like to share with you a personal example of this.
One thing that I value more than anything is time. I use automation to a do a bunch of things in my business and I'm striving to do the same in my home life.
I'm the person responsible for laundry in my home and we usually have about four loads every other week, which takes me about five hours to do. I decided recently to try the wash and fold service at the laundromat less than five minutes from my home.
I took my usual four loads of laundry they and they charge $1.00 a pound, so to get my clothes wash, dried and folded it cost me $43. This was the best money I had spent in a long time. I regained five hours to work on a project that would net me $500 and I was able to go out to dinner with my husband. For me, this was the best money I have spent in a long time because I got my time back.
This is the feeling we have to guide our clients to before and after they hire us. In order to do this, we must first get an understanding of what the client actually values. As I presented in my last article, you must listen to the things that your client says, and sometimes, what they don't say in order to give you insight into what they value. Once we are clear about what's important to them, it's time to show them how we are actually helping them reach those milestones.
This is where you get to pull out your fancy bar charts and graphs. Take those values the client has and turn them into key performance indicators and report on them at least annually. If the client valued time, you could present how many hours you saved them in the past year from having to do research or with compliance services.
If they value money, show them how much increase in revenue they have had over the past year because you freed them up from having to do the back-office tasks they dreaded so much. Explain to the customer that because they can focus on doing the things that they choose to do as a business, and not just “tasks” that can take them away, they can have the capacity to grow.
You can even showcase how your tax planning strategies help them save on taxes. Moreover, for those clients who are chronically late filing returns, you can show them how much they have saved in interest and penalties just by working with you and your firm.
It's great to present these wins right before you send out that new engagement letter with your increased pricing. The client will really understand how you have helped them and will be more willing to do so in the future.
Tell Your Story
But how do you showcase your value to potential clients? I love using case studies and testimonials to do this. One way is to write a blog post about one of your clients (with their permission, of course)that focuses on the wins you helped them achieve, then publish it on your website.
Really tell the story of where that client was before they hired you and what they achieved or accomplished after they started working with you. This serves as a permanent record of the things your firm can do.
You can also ask for client testimonials, highlighting the pain point/s you solved for them. Clients usually don't mind sharing how you helped them, you don’t be afraid to ask!
Perhaps you don't yet have any existing clients and you want to present your value to potential clients. Use honesty. Again, listen to your potential client's pain points and share the skills you currently have to assist them.
You Are the Expert
Tell potential clients about your experience or education level and ask them to trust that you will work diligently to get the job complete. Tell them that in order to ensure their satisfaction, you will track the steps you take to achieve their targeted outcome and that you will communicate with them frequently to ensure they are getting their desired results. Remember, the client came to you because YOU are the expert, so be the expert.
I also love using social media to showcase expertise. Doing a series of post or vlogs that really hone in on your potential clients' pain points can lead to a steady stream of leads coming in.
Good content also gets ranked high on Google, so don't just slap up some post and wonder why no one is engaging. Actually solving a problem and/or educating your target market will lead to shares and new referrals.
To me, value is the feeling clients have when working with me. I do my best Bob Ross impression and paint a picture of what the before, during and afterwards is going to look like. I explain to every potential client our core values and what our processes are to ensure these things are in alignment with what's important to them.
My goal after our initial call is to help them see we are the perfect partner in their success, and they cannot achieve the goals they are reaching for without us. The best part of painting this picture is coming back to marvel at its beauty after we have accomplished their initial goals and so much more.
Nayo Carter-Gray, EA, will be speaking at AccountingWEB Live Summit this May. She is owner and founder of 1st Step Accounting LLC, where her goal is “making accounting a little less taxing” for small business owners. She is a QuickBooks Online Advanced Certified ProAdvisor...