Ideal Accounting Clients
There is one answer to probably the most important question I ask accountants, that makes me facepalm and die inside with equal measures. One of the first things I ask whether it’s dealing with a new client or having a casual conversation with a new contact is…
“Who are your ideal accounting clients?”
By rights it should be a question we’re all able to answer with some degree of ease. We know what our ideal holiday would be. We probably know what the ideal meal would be. We may even know what our ideal partner may be like (although I’m treading on dangerous territory with that comparison so I’ll divert quickly!).
But it seems as though few people know who they’re ideal client may be. What is more dangerous than not knowing? The answer I receive that fills me with dread….
There is certainly a common perception across most industries that any income generating customer is a good customer, and welcome for the business. It may be a hangover from consumer focussed attitudes in the B2C sector, where it may have a place, but it certainly isn’t the way to grow a healthy accounting business. Why?
B2B relationships are just that. They’re ongoing relationships, not transactional exchanges. There will undoubtedly be some clients that are positive for your business, providing an environment for growth. However, there are also those that are toxic for your business lurking in equal measure.
Why do you need Ideal Accounting Clients?
Clients that take up a disproportionate amount of time compared to the revenue they generate for your business take away from the time you could be spending with low maintenance, high value clients. Clients that are rude, unresponsive or just a bad personality fit will sap away at your motivation, time & energy.
We’ve probably all been in relationships that weren’t good for us where we’ve spent more time worrying about the relationship that enjoying it or being productive in our lives. Once we’ve escaped those relationships, we’ve grown and developed, and seen opportunities that were under our noses all along. The same can apply to choosing our ideal accounting clients. It’s important to shake the attitude that the customer is always Mr Right so long as they’re paying. Just like personal relationships, B2B relationships need to be mutually beneficial and contribute towards growth.
Why People Don’t Choose Ideal Accounting Clients
The four main factors that cause people to take on ‘any’ client or someone that doesn’t fit their ideal customer framework:
Fear – that they can’t afford to not take them (and their money) on.
Greed – A desire to increase revenue by any means without thought to negative effect on business.
Misconception – That the customer is always right (or Mr Right) and they are somehow subservient in the relationship.
Hard to Find – There is the misconception that the ideal accounting client is hard to find.
It’s fair to say that none of these empower the accountancy practice operator. They’re all negative, responsive and reactive reasons, not proactive and predictive that put the accountant operator in control.
The factors that make up your ideal accounting client are completely subjective to you and your business. The logic behind choosing your customers remain the same. Effective marketing & business development strategy can only come from clearly defined ideal customer frameworks and customer profiles. These influence everything from the channels used to market & targeting, down to the content & language used.
Benefits of Ideal Accounting Clients:
- Higher R.O.I.
- Create brand advocates
- More time spent on core or profit generating activities
- Easier cross or up-sell
- Longer customer lifetime (and therefore higher lifetime value)
- Less stress!
Before we onboard any new client, we ask them who their ideal accounting client is….every single time. If they don’t know or they give us the dreaded “everyone” then we work with them to define who the people are that are going to help the business grow. Depending on their preference, we do this one-to-one or offer them our free training course that helps them understand who their ideal customer is and how to find them.
Ask yourself now, can you define your ideal client in a minute or less? If not, you’re probably not working with them.
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