The 10 Cs of powerful conversations with clients

Oct 10, 2023 | Accountants, Client service

I first shared a shorter version of this post a few years ago at a very difficult time for everyone. I have now updated this to reflect 10 key topics you may want to factor into the conversations you have with your clients:

Change

Asking clients about recent changes in their life and business is a great way to evidence your interest in them. You can then go further and ask about their feelings about the impact of upcoming changes.

What has changed as regards what your clients’ customers want and need? Is the old business sustainable if customers’ habits and preferences have evolved over time?

In the same way that your clients take out insurance in case the worst happens, they should be doing some insurance thinking about how they will survive (or even thrive) as the world, society and the economy changes.

Customers

What are your clients doing to stay close to their customers and to engage with new prospects and clients?

Costs

Are your clients on top of their costs or do they need your help to get a grip with the costs of doing business?  Can they distinguish direct and indirect costs and reduce unnecessary costs? They may also be looking for ways to reduce recurring costs, including your fees. How good are you at evidencing the value of your services and the cost consequences of switching accountants?

Cash

We know that clients’ businesses are more likely to go bust due to a lack of cash than due to a lack of sales. Sales on credit are good but collecting the cash is key. There are cheap borrowings around but cashflow projections are becoming an ever more crucial element of good business finance and predictor of problems as well as of success. Can you help clients with their cash-flow projections?

Cloud computing

The cloud isn’t just about online bookkeeping systems. Cloud payment systems make it easier for your clients to take payments and for these to be reconciled to sales etc. There are so many cloud based systems that could make your clients’ lives easier (from online booking systems to diary management, ‘document’ storage, customer management data and email campaign systems. The list goes on on). Whilst you will want to encourage your clients to pick the best solutions for them and their businesses, you will also want them to factor into the decisions the need for such systems to link with their bookkeeping system. Better they know how important this will be before they make their choices.

Connections

How well connected are your clients with their teams and their staff? How well connected are their team members? Are you connected with your clients online?

Compliance

Discuss with your clients the importance of staying compliant with relevant regulations and laws in their industry. Keeping abreast of compliance changes can prevent legal issues down the line.

Competitors

Encourage your clients to assess their competition regularly. Knowing what their competitors are doing can help them adapt their strategies and stay ahead in their market.

Communication

Effective communication is key in any client relationship. Explore how your clients can improve their communication with both their customers and across their internal teams.

Crisis Management

Help your clients to anticipate and plan how they would handle crises and unexpected challenges. Discuss strategies for managing crises effectively to protect their business and their reputation.

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