Been doing some exhilarating work with accountants over the past couple of weeks role playing client meetings. The idea of these meetings is to open accountants’ clients’ eyes to the opportunities that are lying dormant in their business. Accountants owe it to themselves and their clients to get much better at helping clients understand what is possible. And that is all in the language.
Here are some examples of great questions that can transform a meeting from mundane to magnificent:
Opening a meeting with a prospect who has attended a seminar: “Why did you come along to the seminar?” Followed by: “What was the number one idea you took away from the seminar?” Then: “How do you plan to implement that idea?”
Gathering background from a client or prospect: “When you started/bought/inherited this business, where did you hope you would be by now?”
Transitioning to helping clients define their objectives: “Where would you like the business to be in three years’ time?”
Upon discovering an objective – say, to make more profit: “How much more? What would you do with the extra money?” Will help uncover deeper objectives – and likely the REAL objectives
Upon determining a lifestyle objective – for example, to travel for six months: “What would need to be in place for that to happen?” “Who will look after your business while you are away?” “What’s your time frame to make this happen?” “How much extra profit do you need to generate in the business to fund this?”
To help the client understand the value accruing to them of working towards their objectives: “What would be the impact if we were to work together to do this? On you, your business, your family?”
When you think you have all of the objectives, measures, or points of value: “Is there anything else?”
When asked ‘which option should I choose’: “Our best clients choose option 3.”
If the client asks you to sell them on why they should do this: “You should do it if YOU want to. So let’s talk about what you are looking to achieve.”
Finally, how about this little nugget I heard from Eryan Jones at Wardles in Mount Isa, Queensland, as a tick box on a tax planning proposal:
“I wish to decline this valuable opportunity to assess my business position.” I understand not many clients take that option!
You need to master the language. Practice regularly, with your team, your family, but more importantly, with your clients. The more you get in front of them in real life situations, the better you will become at helping them understand the opportunities that lay before them.