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Cashflow advisory guide: How can I get clients interested?

When you’re making a move into cashflow services, the first step is figuring out which clients to work with. After that, the next challenge is actually getting clients engaged – by proving the value of strategic advice and the enormous impact it can have on their finances.  

Even in simpler times, small business owners were time-pressed and reluctant to pay for additional extras. So it’s down to you to demonstrate in clear and compelling terms exactly why it will be worth their money. 

But it’s not an entirely cold start, as you work with these businesses already. So, in the second part of our cashflow advisory guide, we want to look at how to bring home the benefits of cashflow support to your existing clients. 

Read on for five key tactics – and immediate ways you can put them into action. 

1. Prove your value with the basics

Accountants are SMEs’ most trusted source of advice – ahead of friends, family and other business owners (British Business Bank). But clients don’t necessarily turn to you for cashflow and funding advice, as the accounting profession still has work to do to shake off its association with pure compliance work.

Fortunately, the strength of your existing reputation can help you move into something new. And laying the groundwork with the basics, like taxes, financial reporting and bookkeeping, can allow you to shift the conversation towards more strategic cashflow and planning services. 

A key part of this shift is empowering clients to monitor their finances in real-time, with the help of cloud accounting software and add-ons like Fluidly. Once clients are confident that the day-to-day tasks are in-hand, you can free your practice up to focus on higher-value work. After you’ve earned that trust, clients will be more open to other forms of support too. 

How you can take action:

If you haven’t already, make sure clients are using the right tools, so they have a real-time view of their financial performance and the option to manage it themselves. Encourage best practice by providing a checklist of actions they should be completing on a weekly or monthly basis. 

2. Build out from existing services 

Once you have the basics in place, you can pitch the bigger picture. This means showing clients that strategic support follows naturally from traditional compliance work, which can take their business to the next level. 

Take Ascentis, a Fluidly partner based in Yorkshire, which frames its services in a clear, sequential way, by differentiating compliance services from strategic advice. The firm’s clients are encouraged to start with entry-level support, which it calls Financial Mastery, before taking advantage of more strategic help. The messaging is clear – by “levelling up”, clients will be less stressed, have more money and greater personal fulfillment.  

When it comes to getting clients interested in new services, like forecasting or helping them apply for a loan, you can steer clear of the ‘hard sell’. It’s about bringing clients along with you in a subtle, but no less convincing way, which underlines how your different services fit together to help them succeed. 

How you can take action: 

Be very deliberate about the way you ‘brand’ or position your various services, so that compliance work isn’t seen as all you offer, but a prerequisite to something even more impactful and strategic. 

3. Make an announcement 

Speaking to clients individually is a sure-fire way to get them interested, but reaching out en-masse can deliver real results too. 

From social media to email marketing to website updates, there’s a range of different channels you can take advantage of to get your message out there. Likewise, ‘one-to-many’ interaction with clients, like webinars or WhatsApp groups, can boost your practice’s output and allow you to reserve one-to-one support for your largest, most important clients. 

Fluidly can help your practice shout about your new service too, through dedicated marketing support and issuing Fluidly invitations to clients on your behalf, which generate more than a 40% uptake on average. 

How you can take action:

Devote a portion of your resource to marketing new services, even if it’s just a mention in an existing newsletter. Speak to your Fluidly account manager about how we can help. 

4. Get the most of your meetings 

You can’t advise your clients without getting to know them first. Fortunately, more marketing should generate more opportunities to do just that. So whether it’s existing check-ins or the new meetings you’re adding, use time with clients to understand where they are now and where they want to get to. 

Having the basics in order will pay off here – but the real insights come from building a profile of your clients’ businesses. An approach we recommend is turning a regular check-in into a ‘cashflow consultation’, where you can diagnose issues and make changes there and then, like adjusting billing terms to make up for a shortfall in cash.

But meetings like this shouldn’t just be about cashflow difficulties. You can use these sessions to understand your clients’ personal vision of success too. After that you can make a call on how their business objectives compare with the money coming in and out of their business.

How you can take action: 

Take a staggered approach – moving from simple check-ins to something more diagnostic, where you can bring about clear and definite change immediately. This might mean beginning with quarterly meetings, moving onto monthly and then continuous monitoring.

5. Prepare conversation starters

“Business people aren’t always numbers-driven,” says Emma Freegard at ESP Business Solutions, another one of our accounting partners. “Having something pictorial, rather than just plain numbers, can get clients to engage more.”

Like identifying which businesses to help, being proactive and having data to hand can make interactions with clients far more efficient. Fluidly makes this particularly easy, as you can log in together and review a client’s forecast, debtors and business funding options all in one place. You might prefer to bring a printout along to a physical meeting or in the age of Zoom and Google Meet, simply share your screen.

Either way, having something visual can illustrate exactly how you’re trying to help drive their business forward, which in turn allows you to start conversations about additional support. A line graph, showing cashflow peaks and troughs, can be a lot more striking than cells in a spreadsheet. 

How you can take action: 

Review your clients’ cash situation before you sit down together and pick out the talking points that will have the most impact. Talk things through while logged in together or export what you need directly from Fluidly depending what suits your requirements best. 

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