The key to successful client relations, and therefore to continued growth, is to develop a client-centred approach throughout the firm. This helps to create a dynamic, entrepreneurial feeling within the firm and enthusiasm and interest within the client base. This in turn will ensure a steady stream of quality referrals.
This client-centred approach should be the cornerstone of your marketing strategy. Marketing is not something that stops once a client is engaged, but is a process that must continue throughout the working relationship. Clients have a very different notion of quality work than you do. To them, quality work is work that is on time, understandable, and that accomplishes their objectives. It is not enough simply to do a good job by your own standards; you need also to meet your clients’ expectations.
How your work is perceived by the client is what matters. The art of successful marketing is understanding what the market wants and providing it better than anyone else does. For many accountants, this requires a major change of modus operandi. Given the nature of the work, it is very easy for accountants to become task-orientated – doing what the job requires and evaluating their success accordingly. But being client-oriented means asking not, ‘What needs to be done?’ but ‘What does the client want me to do?’