Don’t avoid the F word in client conversations!
Upbringing is important. We’re all taught ways to act, and we learn as we grow through the ranks in business what to do and what to avoid when conducting professional conversations. And in any profession there are some terms you just don’t deploy in polite conversation. But, here’s why you should be talking about financing more often in your client conversations.
Client conversations are changing
Your clients are changing, and so is the kind of advice they need from you. With an influx of ever younger entrepreneurs and business owners, the traditional reliance on longstanding ‘business bank first’ approaches is waning. These are digital natives who are used to advice and services at the click of a mouse. They can and they will research their options online. They can and will make decisions independently. But, just as many business owners seek a mentor, their accountants can provide that all-important sage advice, before those owners make a click they (and you) may regret.
Opportunity for the F word – financing
Not all of these solutions available online are created equal. And some are set up in ways that bury the implications of long term contracts and poor rates of return in the online small print. It takes someone with a deep knowledge of the market and these options to advise accordingly.
SME owners may be absolutely excellent at running their businesses, but the small print is not always their strong suit. At the same time, most junior accountants and client managers are good at solving problems for clients when it comes to core compliance.
Accounting practices understand the need to diversify and provide advisory services, but may lack the magic formula to make conversations around cash flow and financing systematic. It’s just not habitual. Yet. But, maybe it should be.
How many times has an SME customer left their accountant out of important conversations to do with cash flow and financing – especially when they are urgent and business-critical? How many times has the accountant simply discovered a new line item lurking in the books, for a new loan with high rates of interest or a brand new regular repayment, at terms which they know could have easily been beaten?
Embrace financing in client conversations
Regularity of contact here is the main issue. Making sure you can check in with your customers ‘little and often’ without it being a low value meeting for them or for you, means you can hit the brakes on potentially problematic decisions before they’re made.
The ideal is to provide Clients and Client Managers alike a safe and structured space to have a regular check in conversation, so that the F word can be spoken of frequently, and openly, without fear or hushed tones. Accountants win by doing it – they deepen that relationship with the customer while also evolving their advisory roles. Clients also win, avoiding making potentially onerous decisions which could dog their business’ books for months (or years).
In the spirit of making discussing the F word less taboo and more a must-do, AREX is partnering with Connect 4 to provide agenda templates for how to navigate Client meetings and talk to them about the dreaded F word.
Embrace it now by find out more about here.