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The 10 Big Advisory Questions: 8 – How Do I Get Clients To Take Advisory Services?

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

Join Micheal as he answers Question 8 – How Do I Get Clients To Take Advisory Services?

The below is a transcript of Question 8 of the 10 Big Advisory Questions Video Series – How Do I Get Clients To Take Advisory Services?

My name is Michael O’Neill, 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.

So, let’s get started with today’s question.

Question eight: How Do I Get Clients To Take Advisory Services?

You know, this is another really, really popular question when I’m out talking to accountants about getting started with the delivery of structured Advisory services.

There seems to be a real worry that accountants are going to start offering Advisory, but their clients aren’t going to want these services. Well the fact is that you cannot get people to do anything.

So, think about who it is you’re serving. You are serving entrepreneurial clients, strong-minded, strong-willed, proactive, get up and go clients. The fact is, you’re not going to get them to do anything.

The thing that I love so much about Advisory is that you can use Advisory to effectively sell Advisory. Best of all if you follow the process properly you don’t have to sell at all.

It is absolutely beautiful, when you start off talking to a client about their goals, about their ambitions, about their drivers, when you start facilitating them develop their plans, they’re going to start identifying the areas where they need assistance and help.

Now, when you’re having a conversation on this level, where you’re deeply invested in their best interests, you’re deeply invested in helping them achieve their goals, their ambitions, their dreams, they’re not looking at you from the point of view that you’re trying to sell them something.

However, they are uncovering all their needs, all the things that are preventing them from moving forward. They are now actively looking to you in order to help them, and they will be more than willing to pay for it.

And this is why, when Advisory sits on top of your entire model, it leads to the identification of so many other opportunities from consultancy and specific project implementation to compliance, The way I like to look at it is that with Advisory you’re shaking the tree and sitting back just watching all the opportunities fall out in front of you.

It is then up to you to either step in and say I can deliver this or alternatively connect your client with someone who can deliver a solution for them.

See, the fact is, Advisory services, they are in large part discretionary purchases.

On the other hand compliance services are commodity purchases, they are driven by needs. Every business has some level of compliance needs. That means two things:

First of all, they will go look for it, and they begrudgingly find somebody to take care of their compliance, so that’s fine.

Second thing is, though, it’s not a very positive experience.

It’s something they’re being forced to do, so they pay begrudgingly for the service, they don’t see the value or the benefit in doing it.

Advisory services, they are discretionary. However, that means two things.

First of all, because they’re discretionary, they are not needs driven. That means that not every client is going to be actively looking for support in this area. However, on the flip side of that, when you can provide Advisory it’s something that the clients actually want.

They want to grow and develop their business, and they need assistance, they want assistance in doing that.

So, because it’s a discretionary purchase, it is going to apply to a much smaller portion of the market, however, the portion of the market it does apply to will have a much greater desire and willingness to actually pay for it.

So, here is how to win at Advisory. You don’t need to sell Advisory services because you don’t have to.

By taking an Advisory approach to your business development conversations you enable your client to identify the gaps, challenges and opportunities in their business. When completed in a structured way they will identify the support and assistance they require to achieve their goals. Very often this will be in an Advisory capacity but it is unquestionable that it will also develop compliance and consulting engagement also.

How do we do that? Well, that’s done through free, collaborative discovery meetings.

These collaborative discovery meetings don’t just provide massive value for your clients they also generate significant opportunity for you the accountant.

There is one firm that I work with in particular, and the biggest challenge they have in rolling out Advisory is, every time they run an Advisory session the volume of additional work that is generated means they have to put the brakes on with the roll out of Advisory and get all hands on deck to deliver the consulting opportunities that have been generated. Now don’t get me wrong this is a good problem to have.

So bottom line discovery meetings will naturally lead to Advisory packages, and Advisory packages will lead to additional compliance and consulting fees and the best part of all because it’s so client-centric, it differentiates you, and there is no sales involved.

It’s a process whereby the client wins massively while also opening themselves up for the delivery of services that you can provide.

So that’s question eight of our 10 Big Advisory Questions.

How Do I Get Clients To Take Advisory Services?

If you haven’t seen the first videos in the series, please do go find them and check them out now.

Make sure to keep an eye out for the remaining series where I deal with some of the other big questions in relation to advisory.

And from me, good luck, goodbye. Thank you for listening and I’ll talk to you soon.