Via Forbes : Accounting firms, especially the larger ones, have clients and solid businesses, and, critically, they tend to want to grow. The irony is that many if not most of these firms are defining growth as bringing in new clients. They are missing the more immediately extremely profitable route to growth… maximizing their relationships with their existing clients.
What’s so very telling is that these accounting firms can dramatically boost their revenues by delivering a broader sleeve of expertise to select current clients. However, most of them habitually fail to do so. Many times, when they institute programs to facilitate cross-selling, these programs fail – and they fail spectacularly. This is regularly a function of misunderstanding the structural impediments to cross-selling inherent in successful accounting firms.
The key to increasing business with existing clients is predicated on being highly client-centered with the byproduct of being able to deliver more and varied professional services to each client. It does not matter if the client is a business, a not-for-profit, a governmental agency, or an individual, significant opportunities to cross-sell exist in most situations.
At the core of being highly client-centered is the ability to develop a broad and in depth understanding of the client. Such insights commonly generate a multitude of new opportunities. There are various ways to effectively profile clients. One of the most effective processes for this is the Whole Client Model, a methodology for recognizing high-quality opportunities and, very importantly, effectively developing the approaches to position the appropriate services to the client.
The cross-selling in many accounting firms is actually client generated. This is where the client has a problem and turns to the partner he or she deals with asking for help. Much of the time, but certainly not always, the partner is responsive and brings the requisite expertise to bear. When using processes such as the Whole Client Model, accountants are able to be proactive and are very likely to identify a tremendous number of potential new business possibilities along with the best ways to position these opportunities to the clients.
While being highly client-centered and process-oriented readily translates into meaningful cross-selling of additional services to clients, another significant business benefit that is likely is new clients. By building stronger relationships with their present clients, with the proper prompting, they are able to generate a steady stream of high-caliber client referrals.