Holy Moley what a call! The latest Thriveal community call took place Tuesday, June 28th, and the topic was client selection. An amazing group of professionals shared their experience on a topic that I struggle with.Client selection to me has not meant much in the past. Based on my experience, I have drawn a line in the sand on who I will and will not work with. The “will not work with” list was developed based on some pretty crappy endings to client relationships. More specifically, they did not pay. Here are three points to consider when selecting a new client.
- Due Diligence – How well do you know you clients? Would you believe me if I told you there are CPA firms out there preforming a 30-day due diligence period before they bring on the potential client. Picture the call now, “Yes Mr. Smith, please drop off our records request and we will contact you in 30 days to let you know if you are a good fit for our firm.” While this practice may drive away most callers or even referrals, it sure would perk my interest to see what that firm has to offer.
- Education – Would your clients be willing to sit down for 6 hours, with you, to discuss expectations, goals, successes, challenges, of their organization? This practice is starting to pop up in CPA firms as we move away from fire-fighting and into the role of a trusted business advisor. A willingness to be educated was mentioned by most the speakers on the call as a key indicator for selecting a new client.
- Relationship Goals – A result of number 1 and 2 above should net goals between you and the client. These goals are mutually agreed upon and they serve as a benchmark to see if both parties are living up to what they agreed on. If the client falls behind on their obligation, “caller-id cringe” may appear. Caller-ID cringe is where no one in the firm want to take the call once they identify who it is. It may be too late at this point to try and save the relationship, but as a good friend of mine once said, “bad clients drive out good clients.”
The call for me was bitter-sweet, it shed some light on one idea that I have been trying to put to rest for many months now……Money will/can not create a relationship between me and my clients. My biggest take-away was a light-bulb moment I had the day after the call. Not once during the call did I hear someone share “Yea, I price my self out of the engagement” or “If we don’t think it is a good fit, we charge them like, 10000000 dollars and see if they bite.”
Its not about the money anymore folks!
We no longer use money as a shield to deal with unruly, uncooperative clients. Sure we all like to be paid for our knowledge and value we add to a clients situation, but not at the expense of losing a team member, or even worse; a good client.
After early retirement from an unsuccessful acting career, Chris decided to become an accountant. Growing up in a family of accountants, accounting was the center of the universe and where all business emerged from. Chris graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in Business Finance, and received his MBA from the University of North Florida. He loves his wife Razan, and son Rami. His hobbies include: swimming, running, cycling and weekend bbqs. Lets laugh together.