How often do you turn away prospective clients?

During my talks about ‘How to avoid professional negligence claims’ I refer to that awful feeling you sometimes get in your gut when you meet a new client (or, more accurately, a prospective client). It’s the feeling that makes you think this person could be more trouble than they’re worth.  Sometimes you just know.  Other times you are consciously aware as to why you shouldn’t take someone on.

Maybe their only interest seems to be in how low you will set your fees.  That’s never a good sign is it?

In another of my talks about ‘How to make more profits from your smaller clients’ I stress the benefits of being clear as to the sort of clients that you want.  This is more than simply identifying a specialism or niche.  It makes you choosy. Selective.  And that will often make you more attractive as an adviser.  It’s as if it’s a privilege to become your client.

And, best of all, it reduces the prospect of you taking on clients that are not worth the effort. It allows you to FOCUS and, in so doing, to build a more successful, profitable and enjoyable practice.

Think accountants can’t do such things?  I disagree.  If it’s good enough for an IFA, then I’m quite sure that ambitious accountants can adopt the same technique. Here’s the ideal client profile for an IFA practice, Informed Choice, run by a friend of mine, Martin Bamford.

If you possess some the following attributes, you are likely to receive the greatest value from our
professional services.
• You have investable assets (including pension funds) of between £200,000 and £1m
• You are 35 to 65 years old
• You are prepared to seek professional advice and you are able to make decisions
• You are married with children, or family is important to you
• Your attitude towards investment risk is neither extremely cautious or extremely adventurous
• You have at least a basic understanding of personal finance but appreciate the value of good
• You are nice to work with, have a good sense of humour and are polite (because we are—
Of course this is not a definitive list and we do work with clients who do not possess all of these attributes, but when we are looking for new clients to work with, we find that this tends to be the best description of our ideal client profile.

Now how could you adapt that approach for your practice? Even if you don’t publicise it you will do well to have it mind when meeting with prospective clients.

I have written a 10,000 word ebook drawn from my talk on How to avoid professional negligence claims, containing tips and risk management advice for accountants in practice. You can buy the book or download a summary for free here>>>