Are you currently seeing a decrease in your growth rate and profit margin? Are clients changing their loyalties to new providers and are they using technology to reduce their compliance costs? If so, what are you doing about it?

Developing the relationship with your client is the best way to retain their loyalty and become their Trusted Adviser. Changing the way you do business is the key to retention of your client base. As technology improves the speed at which we enter data and the simplification of reporting to the ATO (SBR), it’s beginning to have an impact on how your client interacts with you. Are you keeping up? So the question then becomes, how do you develop the relationship? What best practices should you be implementing to maintain your client base? I have put together some proven strategies.

1. The first strategy is to be clear on what your ideal client looks like. Take your favorite/best client and describe them. Ensure you write down the detail: age; location; what services do they use of the practice; what services could they use if they knew you offered them; what industry are they in; what are their issues; how is the relationship with the owner, is it one of mutual values, do your personalities work well together; do they respect what you do; are you the trusted adviser; do they pay on time; what level of fees do you receive; what is the size of their business; the detail goes on, the more the better.

2. Classify your client base, work out ‘A, B,C,D’ clients

3. Have a communication strategy for your clients.

a) Determine the level of communication each class will receive.
b) What type of communication – newsletter, calls, face-to-face meetings, birthday cards, Facebook (and other social media) etc.?
c) How often will you communicate?
d) Ask them what they need from you?
e) Introduce them to the team.

4. Work out your services of what you want to deliver and how.

5. Inform your client base of those services.

6. Set up your clients expectations. Inform them on “how you do business” – what they should expect in the level of contact, compliance work process, fees and payment terms etc.

7. Ensure you have an engagement letter signed and they have received an updated terms of business.

8. For new clients, send them a new client pack with the information on “how you do business”.

9. Ensure you have addressed the level of fees up front, either a fixed fee or an estimate of the fee for service. In this process, ensure that you have detailed what happens when things go astray and the fee is more than expected.

10. Inform your team of the process and ensure they know “how you do business”. Each member of the team must understand their role in communicating with the client.

As you would have heard many times, it is 70% more productive to increase sales from existing clients than it is to attain new ones. So improving your relationship with your clients makes $ense.

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