“Tech and AI are great – but you’ve got to remember people are still the most important thing in what we do.”

A 5 minute read

How do you get the balance right in giving value to your client relationships, without meeting overkill?

As accountants and bookkeepers, we know how amazing you are at finding the answers to clients’ problems. But as Viv Brownrigg, co-founder of The Gap, says, it’s quite a different skill to go from telling your clients what to do as advisors because you are the expert, to really drilling down into what’s really keeping them awake at night.’

Extracting their goals and challenges within meetings can prove challenging, so we teamed up with The Gap and several phenomenal GoProposal members to discuss how they unlock the potential from their client conversations. 

On the call, Glenn Martin, Owner & CEO of Avery Martin Accountants,  shared with us how one of the most valuable takeaways he’s had from using The Gap is how to best utilise client meetings. 

“When we first started out we focussed on having this huge slick machine. We were driven by how quickly we could file accounts at year-end, but we’d dropped the annual accounts review. This meant we were sending them out, getting them signed and thinking ‘great’ we’ve filed everybody within three months of the year end.”

The convenience of technology may have made the process quicker for Glenn, but he admits accountants can be guilty of over-adopting tech within their business.

“Tech’s great and AI is great, but you’ve got to remember that people are still the most important thing in what we do. That’s why I do this. There will be better accountants than me but it’s the relationship side that I enjoy.”

Keeping his clients at the centre of his work, Glenn identified three meetings he could implement with his clients to give an effective structure to their relationship. 

The Annual Accounts Meeting

Glenn and his team had fallen into the habit of sending accounts out with a few notes each to be signed and filed. The first step they took was to reinstate the annual accounts meeting. 

The purpose of these meetings is to be tax focused and assess tax liabilities, etc. Because of the sensitive nature of these meetings when talking about how much tax someone essentially has to pay, The Gap methodology encourages you to book another meeting to follow up about anything else that may arise.

“We did our first year end annual review with a client face to face recently, because it was in-person we were able to get so much more out of it than we had in previous years over the phone or even just on email. 

He mentioned his lease would expire on his office unit within 12 months. I suggested he look at buying his own unit. This led to arranging a meeting for us to look at how he could raise money to buy his own place.”

Complimentary Client Review (CCR) Meeting

Glenn blended CCR meetings with fee and service reviews. This is designed to be the client’s meeting, moving the conversation away from tax. 

“You get into a lot more ‘under the skin’ stuff. You get into more personal things because people open up to you more about houses, mortgages, pensions, etc. It helps you get a better understanding of what they do.”

Glenn went on to explain that the numbers don’t always tell the full story, especially over the past 12 months, as the pandemic caused a mixed bag of outcomes…

“Some clients traded really well and their accounts look great. But when you meet them you see they’re absolutely frazzled; they’ve had no team and they’ve been working 7 days a week. Even though the accounts look good, they’ve grown to resent their business and are really struggling.

Then you get another kind of client whose accounts don’t look great because they had to close down a lot, but they’ve recharged, made their business better and are ready to go again at 100 miles an hour.”

Having client-led meetings like these enable you to get the complete picture in a way numbers just can’t reflect. It’s a way of selling without pushing, as explained further by The Gap here.

The CCR can be used in conjunction with The GLOSS Method®, a framework to guide you to ask the necessary questions to better nurture your client relationships.

The GLOSS Method™ is the framework we developed for our accountancy firm, to guide every sales meeting and fee review with our clients.  It switches the focus away from you, your services and your products, and instead, focusses on the client.

It’s a logical, consultative approach that ensures you’re giving the most value you can to your clients, helping them to reach their goals and solving their greatest challenges.

It’s so beneficial your entire team will willingly use it, and it’s so transparent, you can even communicate the process to your clients.

The results our members have seen by using the framework have been outstanding.

New Prospects Meeting

The third meeting Glenn’s team brought in straight away was the meeting for new prospects. The pre-work that goes out to everybody before these meetings is a vital part of the meeting structure.

“This works on numerous levels because it filters out those ringing around just looking for the cheapest accountant as they’re unmotivated to fill it out. It also sets us apart from other accountants if they’ve met with several, because we’ve done a lot of the pre-work in order to ensure we’ve addressed their issues and they walk away with a price. They feel like there’s a lot more effort gone into it.

“I’ve had clients say they felt special when they got all this through because you’re genuinely interested in what their business is about before they’ve even paid a penny.”

Glenn has found that so long as these three meetings are in place, he can book quarterly reviews from them and his client relationships now run much more effectively.

“Your clients become a lot more sticky to you, you’re a lot more involved in their business and you’re part of their team. You share their wins because you’ve been involved in their world. They then tell other people about you and the whole thing just snowballs from there.”

To hear more about effective structures and rhythms and other ways to unlock the potential from your clients, catch the whole conversation below.