There’s a commonly quoted statistic that it’s ten times more costly (in terms of time and cash) to generate new work from new clients than it is to generate additional work from existing clients. Ten times! That’s a lot of wasted time that could have been devoted to billable activities.
If you’re really honest how do you allocate your precious time when you engage in ‘practice development’ activities? Do you make time for meeting new people 1-2-1 and for introductory meetings with prospective clients? If you’re like most ambitious accountants these will both be common activities for you. And yet the people you meet doing these things are strangers (‘suspects’) who may never become clients.
Have you ever compared how much time you spend with strangers with how much time you devote to your existing clients – over and above the work you do for them each year? How much time do you spend looking for new ways to help them?
Notice how I asked that last question. How much time do you spend looking for new ways to help your existing clients?
I specifically didn’t suggest you should spend time looking for new ways to bill them more fees. Clients know the difference between an accountant who’s evidently looking for ways to genuinely help and one whose main interest seems to be to increase their fees.
Perhaps you know (really KNOW) that spending time with your existing clients will not generate additional work opportunities or new referrals. If that’s the case you are right not to spend any more time with them than is absolutely necessary. And you should continue giving away your valuable time to strangers ie: suspects and prospects.
Many accountants though have not considered spending more time with clients free of any prospect of billing for such meetings.
This week’s tip therefore is to look for ways to help your existing clients more and ensure that you regularly make time to do this. The more you help your clients the more pleased they will be. The more they will talk positively about you and the more new work will come your way from your clients and from the people that they know. And overall this will be less time consuming than spending time with strangers.