Six ways to earn your clients’ trust
In business, one of the greatest compliments is when clients refer to you as a “Trusted Advisor.” A trusted advisor goes beyond providing needs and wants. You are in an ongoing conversation with your clients about what’s important for them, how it impacts their life, and how it contributes to their business or personal goals. Whether you’re selling personal or professional services, the way you become a trusted advisor is by starting conversations like this. Here are six ways to earn your clients’ trust.
- Relationship – be in it for the long haul. This is not just a transaction. For instance, during Covid, many of our clients were wondering about PPP filing and how the pandemic was going to affect their business. We also had to recalibrate, learn a new process and walk them through the steps. We were in it together by staying on top of the information and requirements to take the burden off our clients. Furthermore, when a client signs on as part of our ongoing service practice, we don’t bill for those calls that come when a client needs additional support. We find solutions that are in the clients best interest.
- Altruism – putting a client’s needs first. There are times when we can all get bogged down with the day to day processes and getting the work done to meet certain deadlines. However, there are times when the client’s processes that are handed to our team aren’t always optimal. Instead of just churning out the work, racking up billable hours, we help to guide and coach our clients into a more efficient way of doing things, like using a Tech Stack for instance. After all, we are on our client’s team and our goal is to help their business grow as seamlessly as possible.
- Active listening – listening for clues; sometimes clients don’t know what they don’t know so being sure to ask a lot of questions and follow up questions so you know what their needs/concerns are on a deeper level. It’s important to respect boundaries and not overstep, so try to incorporate the company culture and overall goals while listening. Your clients will appreciate your willingness to have a more meaningful understanding about their business needs.
- Candidness – sometimes the truth hurts and a client may not necessarily see a pitfall with an upcoming business decision. As a trusted advisor and objective resource, we earn the right to provide key insights, even when they may not like to hear it. This trust can erode quickly if you aren’t accurate in your assessment, so use candidness wisely. “One of the hardest pieces of advice I have given a client is to stop using the “company’s” money to pay for personal items,” says Jonathan Bello, Founder and President of One 8 Solutions. “While the company is yours and you do account for it, it can potentially open you up for personal liability on multiple fronts.”
- Experience – staying on top of the learning curve in accounting is an ongoing process and clients pay you and depend on you to do that for them. What are the latest regulations? Tax codes that may impact my business? I frequently sign up for training sessions and participate/host webinars to learn, listen and share from leaders in the industry so my team and I can offer the best advice. Then we can relay how others’ experiences have played out in real time. These experiences highlight your confidence and capabilities while delivering a higher value of service to your clients. For more insights on how to implement regular training, I recommend checking out the Firm of the Future’s blog, “How to be a proactive advisor: process, training and endurance.” This is a great read from one of our trusted partners.
- Holistic approach – Over 20 years, we have honed our skills as a trusted advisor to take a look at our client’s company as a whole – not just the accounting side. For example, we take a closer look at a company’s Tech Stack, business analytics, financial insights, workflow and goals just for starters. These components are all interrelated and help us know the whole story of the company beyond the accounting ledger. If you’re unsure about the holistic approach, connect with our team on LinkedIn and we can talk more.
It takes time to become a trusted advisor, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Earning the trusted advisor position will help empower your clients, set a great example for your team members (where you could also cultivate upcoming trusted advisors), and generate additional revenue. I would love to hear your ideas on how you became a trusted advisor to your clients. Leave a comment below or contact me here.
One8Solutions has what it takes to earn the right to become your trusted advisor. We provide exceptional client service with a U.S. based team of bookkeepers, staff accountants and a hands-on CEO who provide the care, expertise and oversight you need to run your business. Grow your business with our expert financial team! Schedule your initial complimentary Zoom consultation today to see if outsourcing your controller services is right for your company.