10 Signs Your Clients Might be Cheating on You

Here are some warning signs that your accounting and tax clients might be having a fling with other accountants, and some ideas for getting a bigger share of client business—and trust. Thanks to Wendy Nemitz, founding principal of Ingenuity Marketing Group, for providing these telltale signals of a wandering eye.

1. You’re Not on Their Speed Dial 1. You’re Not on Their Speed Dial

Preferred advisors are available at a moment’s notice for their clients. Do your clients have you on speed dial? If not, don’t expect devotion from them.

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2. They Can’t Remember Your Name 2. They Can’t Remember Your Name

Your firm name should be simple and visible. Your marketing messages should be differentiated from competitors and consistent whenever staff communicates with clients and prospects.

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3. They Talk a Lot about Size 3. They Talk a Lot about Size

Never say you’re “really busy.” Clients expect you to have the size and resources to serve them whenever they need.

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4. They Make Excuses for Not Meeting with You 4. They Make Excuses for Not Meeting with You

If clients don’t meet with you, they don’t recognize the value. Schedule regular check-in meetings with your clients and always have new ideas ready to share.

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5. Your Relationship Lacks Passion 5. Your Relationship Lacks Passion

The future should feel exciting—or at least anticipated—with your firm. Express your willingness to go above and beyond for clients in your attitude, attention to detail, little gifts and acts of service.

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6. They Avoid Looking You in the Eye 6. They Avoid Looking You in the Eye

If clients seem distracted by their phones, computers or people across the restaurant, you’re talking too much. Get them to talk. Spend your time listening carefully for ways to help.

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7. The Room Goes Silent When You Walk In 7. The Room Goes Silent When You Walk In

If you think clients are hiding something, it could be a trust issue — leading them to another firm. Set up a meeting to survey them on various improvements to the engagement—from timeliness to team members to communication preferences. The meeting might also reveal an internal financial problem that your attentiveness solves before it’s too late.

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8. They Only See You in One Dimension 8. They Only See You in One Dimension

A powerful niche is great, but team members should feel comfortable suggesting other services to clients and recommending team members across firm disciplines. Your Web site, marketing and social media should clearly and regularly promote the full gamut of your firm.

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9. They Find More Fault than Normal with You 9. They Find More Fault than Normal with You

A sudden change of attitude from clients is dangerous. Display openness to criticism by thanking clients for negative feedback. Ask how you can make the situation right. Firms that fix mistakes quickly will often retain clients.

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10. They are Overly Complimentary 10. They are Overly Complimentary

Ask clients to specify what you do well, then guide the conversation toward improvements or additional services you can provide to wow them even more. Client retention rises significantly when they use multiple services and see you as their hero.

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