Finding the ideal customer to work with in this industry is an aspect our business that can make or break us. How do you know if your next customer is the “perfect customer” or the “difficult customer?”
As I look at my experience over the years I find that those customers that are most like minded to us in our practice seem to be the “best customers”. I don’t find that this exists merely along industry groups or business types. Many tax and accounting practice advisors will steer you to specialize in a particular industry and narrow your focus in what you do… that will yield the best customers. Now, that is not bad counsel and there is a lot that you can do for your firm by following this advice. However, as one looks at what they like to do and what gives them life, I believe working with like minded businesses and individuals will go a long way toward a life that bears fruit in others and a practice that is rewarding and fulfilling.
The public accounting industry is finding a very personal and relationship driven client/firm existence becoming highly commoditized. Commoditization weakens the highly relational aspect to our business. However it is also a win for the client as they experience an automated and efficient accounting and tax compliance workflow. This means that we have to do a better job of reinforcing what is special about working with “our firm” and how we understand the client and their business.
Here are ways that can set a professional service advisor/firm apart:
- Insist that all customers experience more than a once a year “touch” from their advisors
- Support causes that are important to your customers
- Acknowledge your customer challenges and demonstrate meaningful solutions focused on them, not just what works for you
- Brand yourself authentically, allow your customers to know the real you
Customer selection is also an exciting part of joining others in working toward the greater good. When we are excited about what our customers do, I believe our enthusiasm rubs off on our customers and encourages their tireless efforts. It may be some of the only encouragement they experience in that particular week.
In our competitive industry it is not a simple thing to attract businesses to our firms that meet our perfect fit, but if we stay mindful of what is unique and special about those customer relationships that are meaningful to you, this will help in evaluating other opportunities as they come up. Ultimately, this process will be something that is intimately tied to the “why” behind your business…and tying these ideas together is an important part of developing a business that meets or exceeds your wildest imagination!