How can CPAs position themselves to survive -and thrive- through COVID-19? Amy Franko made a return appearance on the Entrepreneurial CPA Podcast with Garrett Wagner to discuss how to pivot, how to interact with clients, and how to continue the important job of business development– while also delivering client solutions. Whether you run a firm or are part of the firm, these tips can help.
Shift your mindset. Most CPAs have likely transitioned to a home office and are not seeing clients face-to-face, as you typically would, especially at this time of year. Lots of issues are vying for your clients’ attention. Think through, how can you be of service to your clients and establish yourself as a trusted advisor to them? Part of your job is to cut through the clutter, to connect with them, and help them prioritize what’s most important to their business and their team right now. If you can home in on that, you can help them move forward.
Be the confidence in the chaos. The combination of solution set and meeting their needs will help entrepreneurial CPAs rise above the noise and connect with clients. If you’re calm and confident and help your clients stay focused, not only can you provide a service or a solution at this point in time, the client will remember you– and you can grow a long-term relationship.
Organize your pipeline. First, which clients have an immediate need and are still moving forward? On the other hand, what clients are really struggling? If you have clients that in the hospitality or travel industries, we know those are hard hit. Establish which clients you can support now with a fee service. What you might do is have a conversation with them that offers them a choice. For example, “Tell me a little bit about where you are right now. What are your priorities? Are you moving forward with projects, or are you in a spot where you are pausing because of what’s happening immediately with this crisis?” Let them answer the question. That will help you determine next steps. If they are on pause, you might say something like, “I completely understand where you’re at, what might be a good time for us to reconnect?” It’s not being salesy. It’s helping them to think through their process.
Don’t shrink back. At a minimum, check in with your clients to make sure that they are okay personally. If we’re forward in the market, we are going to be much better positioned for the recovery. We have to stay front and center in a way that’s helpful.
Watch the full episode of the Entrepreneurial CPA podcast here for a deeper dive on these strategies.
The bottom line for CPAs is this. Be a confident, trusted advisor to your clients, and you will emerge successfully on the other side of the COVID-19 crisis.