How to be in your client’s Inner Circle

How to be in your client’s Inner Circle

To a greater or lesser extent, we all have an inner circle.  A small group of people within a larger group who have a lot of power, influence or special information. People who don’t necessarily tell us what to do, but help us make the right decisions

How do we decide who’s in our inner circle?

It’s often said that the best thing about running a business is that no-one tells you what to do.

It’s also said, often in the same breath, that the worst thing about running a business is that no-one tells you what to do!

As business owners we take information from many sources. And google means we are never short of knowledge right at our fingertips.  

And yet does this increased knowledge help our decision-making? Sometimes the clutter makes our thoughts more muddled, so making sense of the knowledge carries much more value than knowledge itself.

Deciding on a course of action is something we do every day, usually unconsciously. But for bigger decisions, we often like to talk them through with our inner circle.

From government deciding how to act in light of statistics and information around coronavirus; to elite athletes deciding about a different approach to training; to chatting through relationship issues with friends – we all like to involve our inner circle at times.

We see echoes of this in business – we take business decisions every day, but for the more ‘meaty’ ones, we like to discuss them.  The question is with whom?

How do we decide who’s in our inner circle? 

How do our clients decide who’s in their inner circle?

Accountants are perfectly placed to be in a client’s inner circle. But achieving that inner circle status isn’t a right – it has to be earned…

One of the most common phrases to describe accountants is ‘trusted advisor’.  This reputation has been gained over the years for many reasons:

  • Accountants are professionals
  • They’re seen to be objective; law-abiding and sensible
  • They know a bit about business because they have all the numbers, right?

So, can I ask you?  The accountants who just produce the numbers - which may reflect a period of up to 2 years ago – are they really adding value if they’re just reporting the numbers? Do they deserve to be in their client’s inner circle?

Contrast them with accountants for whom the numbers are the start of the conversation. Accountants who challenge clients about their business performance, based on the numbers but with a forward-looking focus. Accountants who help clients decide what they really want in life, then help the client hold themselves to account in achieving what they want.

Future-focused accountants earn the right to be in the client’s inner circle through future-focused conversations.

Circumstances right now present us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change our conversations with clients to be future-focused.

How come?

  • Most clients will be worried about cashflow
  • Most clients will need help planning through different post-lockdown scenarios
  • Most clients will be affected by the current economic recession

All of these situations, and more, present us with the chance to be talking with clients far more often and at a deeper level than we ever did before.

But what a great habit to get into!

Because when things improve and businesses are on an upward curve, the likelihood is that the habit of chatting regularly with clients will remain.

And that places you in the Inner Circle!

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