As accounting firms across the county enter into yet another busy season, everyone is looking for ways to be as efficient as possible. This means looking for ways to execute tasks quicker, cutting out “non-essential” activities, and focusing on immediate needs only (i.e., getting work out the door).
However, this time of year provides incredible opportunity to strengthen relationships with clients and develop new relationships with prospects.
So even during your busiest times, why should you meet with clients or prospects in person?
1. It shows personal commitment.
It’s easy NOT to go the extra mile when you’re busy. Don’t lose your prospects or clients to other service providers because they feel overlooked by you. If you show a sincere interest in them and their business during your busiest time, that’s something a client makes a note of.
2. It builds trust.
The foundation of every good relationship is trust. When you trust, you form an influential bond that helps you work and communicate more effectively. Being able to look someone in the eye and shake their hand (which you can’t do over email) helps to create an innate sense of trust.
3. It eliminates distractions.
It is easy to become sidetracked. Multi-tasking parties can be checking email or addressing another matter altogether. However, meeting in-person forces all parties to be more present and engaged in the discussion or challenge at hand.
4. It gives you an opportunity to gather important information you won’t get over the phone or via email.
Meeting with clients in person gives you the opportunity to see the reaction, not just hear it or read it. This also enables you to make adjustments in your message or delivery as you go based on the non-verbal feedback you’re receiving from your client.
Additionally, people have a tendency to speak more freely in-person that they would via other communication methods. This means your client may mention something to you in passing that otherwise wouldn’t have been brought up over the phone or via email.
BONUS POINTS: Visit clients and prospects at their location.
When you visit a client in their own space, you can learn so much about the organization AND your contact on a personal level. For example, are there any recent awards or accolades displayed? Are most employees in the office or does it seem quiet, indicating they work remotely? Does their space seem more modern or traditional? The environment can give you insights that may affect your choice of sales tactics or client service approach.
Technology makes it easier than ever to stay in touch with clients and prospects and perform work remotely. While there are certainly times where it makes sense to meet virtually, clients and prospects still value in-person meetings.