How do you keep your clients coming back to you year after year? How do you earn their confidence and become their trusted business adviser as they grow? At first glance, it may seem that doing your job well is all it takes. And what you have to do is reach out to them again – by phone or email, or through the accounting software you use – and ask them to engage you this year. (Perhaps part of your spiel might be a slight price increase.) Right?
Not entirely. It takes more than doing a great job the year before to re-engage your clients. The work you and your team members put in is much more than the service you provide: it is the value you add. Helping your clients understand that value and unlock the bigger potential in your offerings could prove invaluable to your client relationship.
Who are your clients, exactly?
Getting a clear picture of your clients’ operations is what you already do when onboarding every new client. You should make it a priority to do the same on a regular basis with all existing clients. The better you know each and every one of them, the better you can serve them.
It is worth it to take a pause and see who your existing clients are.
First, do some market research. What is their market segment like? Have they recently opened another office or added more employees? Is the sector expanding, or has it really been experiencing issues?
Then, ask them the important questions. What are their needs? What are their business goals for this quarter, the year, the next five years? What’s keeping them up at night? What kind of problems is their business facing right now?
Understanding the challenges and aspirations of your clients will help you provide them with a value-added service they truly need, tailored specifically to them.
How do I get reacquainted with my clients?
Looking back, you should discuss the service you provided over the last year. In addition to cost-savings, were you able to provide salient advice? And did they take it? Are they happy with the tax workflow software from their end? What did they think of your work, and how could the process be improved?
Looking forward, you should find out their priorities for the future, and what you can do to help them achieve those goals – or, perhaps, to streamline their process in a more efficient way by using tax workflow software. Use this information to create a plan.
Tax planning for future
Now that you’ve received critical information from your clients, it’s time to make a plan. Knowing their specific needs, you can sell additional services that are a fit for each client.
For example, you want to provide a service to your bookkeeping clients that saves them time. You can automate the process by sending them forms that have the information mostly filled in from the previous months – now, a task that would have taken 30 minutes takes only a few clicks.
Your team has probably aced the compliance aspects of your job -– such as ensuring that your clients are filing on time and using all available tax credits. Maybe now is the time to shift into forward-looking services that involve tax planning. For example, are your clients planning to buy real estate? You could be the adviser who helps them plan their big purchases from a tax-advantageous perspective. Are they growing their business? They could benefit from your experience with project management software for bookkeepers to help them focus on strategic objectives.
Think of other ways to add value to your clients – whether by saving them time or money, or improving their relationships with their clients – and create a long-term plan that corresponds to their business plans.
A focus on growth opportunities
From automating accounting workflows and using CRM for tax professionals, you have now demonstrated the value you can bring to your clients by streamlining your workflow and, therefore, their finances.
Taking the step of reaching out to your clients is a great reminder of the excellent service you provided, and your availability. If nothing else, instituting a customer-centric approach to tax practice management will help you generate new leads and referrals.
Chances are, however, that most of your clients are coming back for another year. Here’s your opportunity to take a more proactive approach by really listening to them and becoming their business partner. By taking advantage of comprehensive tax practice management software that offers automation and client relationship management and improves scheduling and communications, you can decrease the time you spend on mundane tasks and instead focus on growing your business – so that your clients can grow theirs.
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