Barry, one of my coaching clients, is a financial advisor in California. He recently told me a story about a certified public accountant (CPA) who fails to connect emotionally with her clients. Stick with me, because the story definitely has implications for managed service providers (MSPs) that are striving to retain customers.
Barry has been at the same, very large firm for 30 years and his book of business includes more than 300 households. By any measure, he is very successful (most people who hire executive coaches are). Lately we’ve been working on building his network of professional advocates–people who can refer business to him and to whom he can send clients who need trusted advisors such as CPAs, attorneys and other professionals.
New Perspectives On Trusted AdvisorsOn our call this week, Barry told me he had some surprising conversations with his clients about their other advisors. Turns out some of his clients aren’t all that enthusiastic about their CPAs and other advisors. I asked Barry why he thought that was the case. He said he thinks a lot of these professionals aren’t connecting emotionally with their clients. Wow! Interesting comment.
I asked Barry about his own CPA and I was even more surprised when he told me he wasn’t thrilled with her lately. What’s going on here? Barry called his CPA late last fall for guidance and advice on a real estate transaction. She gave him the technical advice. He decided not to move ahead with the deal. So?
“She didn’t ask me why I was interested in buying this building, what my motivation was,” Barry told me. “I felt like that was the most important thing for her to ask and she missed it.” Barry told me the reason he was looking at buying a building was to leave a legacy to his grandchildren, who are the center of his world. I wondered whether his CPA even knew he had grandchildren.
The upshot: he is thinking of changing CPAs, and his current one will probably be the last to know when he does.
Then we got to talking about his own 300 clients. He feels very close to about 10% of them, the ones that deliver 90% of his business. But he cares about all of them and isn’t satisfied with how he has shown it. His recent experience talking to some of his clients and finding their lack of enthusiasm for their advisors convinced him he needs to reach out more.
Make Deeper ConnectionsHe outlined a plan to begin contacting the tier of clients just below the top tier to get information about their children and update his records. He will ask about his clients’ financial plans as it relates to their children. That could mean college tuition or estate planning depending on the client’s stage of life. It could mean planning for their grandchildren, too.
If you are an entrepreneur of any kind, I hope you get the point of this story. Nowadays, clients, customers, patients, students, and everyone who buys a service from someone else, is feeling uneasy. Some business owners will keep their relentless focus on selling new business and will overlook the emotional state of their current customers. And someone else will enter the picture. Someone who cares more and shows it, and that someone will get the business.
It’s time to call your customers and have a nice, long chat.
MSPmentor contributing blogger Mitch York coaches executives who are evolving into entrepreneurs. He is a veteran of high-tech media and an entrepreneur himself. Find York — and his personal blog — at www.e2ecoaching.com. MSPmentor is updated multiple times daily. Don’t miss a single post. Subscribe to our Enewsletter, RSS and Twitter feeds.