Art of Accounting: Tell a client you are thinking of them
I frequently mail or forward things to clients to let them know I am thinking of them. The Monday after Thanksgiving I was packing up some books to mail to clients when I read the following “Monday Morning Message” that Bill Hagaman, Withum’s managing partner and CEO, e-mailed to everyone in our firm. This message is right on target with great suggestions, and Bill said I could include it as this week’s column.
“Good morning, everyone. I trust you all had a great Thanksgiving holiday and enjoyed some special time with your families this long weekend.
"As you all know this is the time of year when many businesses think about their accounting relationships. This creates opportunities and risks, so I thought I would share this bit of advice to stay in touch with our clients and prospects.
"I occasionally receive, ‘I saw this and thought of you’ e-mails or mailings containing articles or education opportunities from friends and colleagues. I have to admit, I really enjoy receiving them. They make me feel that the person sharing the information sincerely cares about our relationship. Imagine how a client or prospective client would feel when they read or hear that same message from you? It is human nature to want to feel appreciated, understood and valued, and ‘thought of you’ messages can go a long way in helping maintain a personal relationship with your clients, or furthering nurturing those future clients you are actively pursuing. Here are a few things you can easily share:
- An article you just read that pertains to their industry.
- A heads-up to potential changes in tax laws, banking regulations, HR issues, medical and health issues, and how these and other changes could affect their business. This can easily be done with the invaluable Tax Tips, A&A Alerts, and other industry and service news we e-mail out almost daily. Feel free to forward them along to underscore the importance of the information.
- A seminar or presentation that you feel would be of interest to them and their business. It could be one of our own CPE events or webinars, or one that is hosted by an external organization.
- Articles related to marketing, sales, social media, advertising or public relations that can help them with developing new business.
- How other resources within our firm can help them, a.k.a. cross-selling, or as we like to call it, cross-solving. Take advantage of our talent pool and the deep expertise we have here. Cyber Secure Services; Wealth Advisory; Estate Planning; Insurance Advisory; Forensic Accounting; Business Valuations… we have so many great services to offer that will help our clients outside of traditional tax and audit.
- An introduction to someone or a company that you think will help improve their operations.
- Public information, not gossip, about similar companies within their industry. Even if they already know about it, it will be viewed as a positive that you are keeping up with their industry.
- An idea or approach from a different industry to see if it can be applied to their business.
- An article or seminar invitation about their personal hobby or interest. Don’t know what your client does in his or her spare time? Then go find out! Ask about family and hobbies. People work with people they like.
The act of sharing as a regular ‘best practice’ in your daily communications will go a long way in building your professional relationships. Take a few minutes this morning to send something along!”
I regularly do everything on Bill’s list and strongly recommend copying some of what he and I do in this regard.