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The 10 Big Advisory Questions: 3 – Do Clients Want These Services?

Welcome to the third edition of this video series where we talk you through the 10 Big Advisory Questions.

Join Micheal as he answers Question: 3 – Do Clients Want These Services?

The below is a transcript of Question 3 of the 10 Big Advisory Questions Video Series – Do Clients Want These Services?

My name is Micheal O’Neill, and I’m delighted to welcome you to this video series, where I answer the 10 big questions about advisory services. These are the questions that I get asked by my clients in Ireland on a regular basis. And also the questions that my colleagues in the UK, US, Canada and Africa get asked.

Let’s get started with today’s question.

Question 3 in our 10 Big Advisory Questions series.

So, do clients really want advisory services? Well, for my own business development, I’m part of a number of business groups, and I travel to America probably four to six times a year.

And I’m joined sometimes within rooms with 1,000 to 2,000 other entrepreneurs and business owners. And during these sessions, we’re talking about our business.

And I share what my business OmniPro is all about and our beliefs about accountants –

At OmniPro, our core belief is that accountants can and do change lives.

And we get up every day to bring accountants the tools, advise and training, so they can create outstanding businesses for themselves and for their clients too.

And in this way, they change lives and communities.

And that’s our absolute belief about what accountants can do.

And in the most part, entrepreneurs are a little bit shocked when I say that.

They say, But don’t accountants just add up all your revenue and add up all your costs, and calculate how much tax you owe? And I say, Well, in a lot of cases that is what your accountant is doing. But we fundamentally believe that accountants have a much wider remit and a much wider role to play in the development of your business.

And that they can actually, through the advice that they deliver, and through the support that they deliver, that they have the power to fundamentally change the lives of business owners and their teams.

And when I explain it to other business owners, they go, Oh my god, my accountant could do that for me? That would be amazing! And it changes the whole dynamic.

It changes how these entrepreneurs and business owners actually look at their accountants.

And in many cases, the entrepreneurs have gone back, and I know this because they have told me, and said, Accountant, I thought you just did these basic services for me, can you do these other things? And the accountant says, Yeah, absolutely, I can do that.

But there is a challenge here, by and large, most accountants have on their website Accountants and Business Advisors, or Auditors and Business Advisors, or you’re starting to see a trend now, where it’s business advisors and auditors.

But when you look at the rest of their website, and the services they provide, it’s very hard to identify exactly what “Business Advisory” they provide.

And then, from the accountant’s perspective, they don’t verbalize all these other things that they can do.

So, it is absolutely undeniable that your clients want this.

And, in fact, what we have seen in the past is, that your clients are, they’re haggling over the compliance fees, they’re continuously pushing back on the fees.

But yet, they’re going off and they’re spending 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 on these other advisors who, you know, they might not be best positioned to provide the advice in the same way that you can.

So they’re off with people that don’t have the financial understanding of the business, they don’t have the financial acumen that the accountant has, and they’re getting paid these sums where there is no fee pressure.

But I have seen very specific reasons why clients will love your advisory approaches.

1. They want to be understood.

And this is undeniable.

As humans, we want to be understood.

Being in business can be a very lonely place.

Most of the rest of your friends, they might have their own business problems, or they don’t have a business, it’s hard to talk to them.

You can’t talk to any of your team, well, because you’re the business owner.

And having somebody to talk to is a very, very important element of it.

To just, to have the capacity to talk and be understood.

2. They want you to be proactive.

When asked, clients will always respond that they want their accountant to be proactive.

Now, proactive is not responding to e-mails really quickly.

Proactive is not getting the tax return done really quickly.

Proactive is approaching them with positive solutions and possible opportunities for their business.

It’s taking the first step.

It’s going out there asking them about their goals, asking them about their aspirations.

Clients want somebody to be there with them for the long haul.

And by this, we mean, there’s somebody to stand beside them, to support them, to go that extra yard.

And it links in with the first one to understand.

Somebody who really gets them, who really gets their business and is willing to be beside them through thick and thin, as things happen, as, you know, the business grows, as they meet challenges, as opportunity comes.

Because it gets, you know, we only have so much time.

And if every time that something happens in your business, you have to go explain your whole back story to somebody, well, it’s going to take a long time, and it’s going to create a barrier.

3. They want you in for the long haul.

They want somebody who is going to be with them in for the long haul.

4. They love being given something.

They love being given something. Absolutely. And with Advisory you are giving them probably the biggest gift of all – clarity, direction & focus.

5. They like talking about themselves.

And, you know, when you look it from an advisory perspective when you make that first approach when you ask them where they’re going, the benefits to them are undeniable.

The benefits of clearly being able to clearly articulate, and it won’t come out clearly the first time, it’ll be a jumbled up mess.

But it’s the process they go through, of taking what’s in their head, all their big, wild goals, all their frustrations, all their aspirations, and actually having somebody to tease it out.

Somebody that can help them focus, to get their ideas into a very clearly articulated plan and goals. Well, that is massive for business owners.

It’s one of the most pressure relieving, stress-reducing opportunities there is when they can just get it all off their shoulders.

When they can just get all, everything they’ve been thinking, going through over the past years, off their shoulders and onto a piece of paper.

It’s unquestionable they like talking about themselves.

I’ll always remember, I think it was a Budweiser ad, where you had a couple who were on their first date.

And you see this lady talking and chatting away, and you just see a gentleman kind of sitting with his hand on his cheek, just staring at her he hasn’t said, a word this entire time.

And the girl suddenly stops and goes, “Oh my god, you know, this is the most fabulous conversation “I’ve ever had, you’re just such an interesting person, “and you know, I just feel that we’ve really connected.”

Now, the funny part of the ad was, when the shot panned out, you just see over the lady’s shoulder, there’s television screen in the background with a match on it.

But it’s unquestionable that people like talking about themselves.

And especially entrepreneurs.

They’re proud of their businesses, they’re proud of their achievements.

They want to have some outlet, that they can get out there.

And it’s amazing through doing advisory sessions with business owners, just their comments at the end of the day, their appreciation for having the time and space to get it all out on paper, is massive.

I’ve seen it myself. So, I’ve delivered this on behalf of some of my clients, who didn’t feel they were ready to step into a full advisory role. I’ve actually gone out and worked with their clients. And to see their reactions is priceless.

6. They don’t want problems.

This is one of the big ones. Entrepreneurial clients do not want problems.

And when you look at the current dynamic, a lot of times, as an accountant, you being proactive is actually identifying the problems that your client has in their business.

This is because of the level of the relationship that you’re operating on, and when you bring issues to them, sometimes they can feel like, “my accountant is just continuously bringing problems to my attention, that’s not what I want.

Now, don’t get me wrong, they want you to solve problems. That’s an absolute.

But what they want to do is say, “Okay, here are my goals, here’s my strategy, here are the problems and the challenges and the blocks that I have, “getting from where I am now, to where I want to go.” And they just want those gone.

They just want the problems gone. They just want somebody to solve their problems for them.

And like I said, problem-solving does form a fundamental part of business advisory, but it’s not where it starts. It starts with the plan, it starts with the strategy.

7. Success is a process, not a one-off event.

The seventh one and this is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful things as somebody looking to either start it with advisory services or somebody looking to progress along their advisory path.

Success is a process, not a one-off event. This is absolutely essential.

If you’re providing advisory, that you don’t just go in, get everybody all excited, dump a whole lot of stuff on them, and then walk away.

You have to be there with them, you have to build advisory packages, you have to build advisory processes, that bring them along.

It’s little by little. It’s a little chunk, little chunk, little step, little step. That is the way that success happens.

You’re not going to go in and revolutionize business in one sitting.

Yes, you might add in some ideas, yes, you might add in some approaches that could possibly do it, however, what they really need is somebody to bring them along the path.

To help them, to know where they’re actually going, to know what their goals are, and then, if they’re straying off the path, to gently guide them back on, to guide them on their way to a successful business.

Okay, so that was question 3 in our 10 Big Advisory Questions Series.

That is, do clients really want these Advisory services.

No matter where you’re looking at this, if you have, not yet viewed question one and question two, please do go find them.

Thank you for listening, and I’ll chat with you again soon.