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Previous accountant given 2nd chance.

After giving notice...

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Spent time with a potential client, understanding their needs, putting forward a proposal and them very happy to proceed.

So I tell them the next step is to give notice to their current accountant (who they’ve lost faith in having made numerous ‘mistakes’ and having lost interest in them).

All looking good.

Then we get an email saying the current accountants have persuaded them to stay - promising to do a better job etc etc. 

I email back saying OK, no problem, we’re here whenever you need us and so on. 

But should I instead have said that they  remember why they were trying to move away from their current accountants, that I’ve heard it all before, that their existing accountant may change for a while but most likely revert to their old habits?

Just seeing what others do. 

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13th Sep 2018 14:42

Move on. Just accept the fact that you've been used, probably to get a fee cut from their existing accountants or just to get the accountant to focus on the client.

I suspect there was never any intention to appoint you.

It's all part of the game I'm afraid. Don't waste any more time.

Thanks (7)
to Tim Vane
13th Sep 2018 14:56

Tim Vane wrote:

Move on. Just accept the fact that you've been used, probably to get a fee cut from their existing accountants or just to get the accountant to focus on the client.

I suspect there was never any intention to appoint you.

It's all part of the game I'm afraid. Don't waste any more time.

Do this ^^^

Thanks (1)
13th Sep 2018 15:15

Don't beg people to be your clients.

Thanks (6)
13th Sep 2018 15:18

Get used to it.
When I first started out a lot of clients from the big firm up the road would come in and say.

My accountant charges a fortune and I only get to see him once a year.

There is 2 things to consider from that statement, the fee is too high for them or they want more input from their accountant which will cost them more than the fee they currently pay.

So if they pay X for an average job would they pay Y for a decent job.

More often than not they are happy enough with what the guy does and just want a price check to make sure his fees are keen.

They will use your quote if cheaper, to beat the fee down as they probably dont want the hassle of moving.

You cannot avoid this and the only way around it really is to try and filter your calls better so that you only meet people that are genuinely unhappy and looking to move.

If they are just looking for a cheaper fee is easy for the in situ accountant to price match and keep the job.

I wouldn't back and try and convert them back to you as you will seem a bit desperate, just drop them an occasional email to keep the connection going. They will know where you are if things ever come of the rails.

It is frustrating though, learn from it, I am now much better at spotting tyre kickers.

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13th Sep 2018 15:38

you did the right thing.

I find if you are nice a good % do come over in the end.

Took on one this summer who initially approached me in 2012, and again I think in 2015 any only just made the move.

one tip is to ask if they want to go on your client circular list as a low level advertorial/nag that you exist!

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13th Sep 2018 15:39

As an aside did you meet them on the trike?

That might have put em off. :P

Thanks (4)
By nodhedz
to ireallyshouldknowthisbut
13th Sep 2018 16:41

Of course, but I gave it a good clean beforehand. You gotta have standards...

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13th Sep 2018 16:43

Tell them they are stupid to fall for that old trick and it's a good job they have revealed their character now because you don't take on stupid clients. Proffer a brief apology for thinking aloud.

Just wait, they'll come crawling to you within 3 months.

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13th Sep 2018 17:07

nodhedz wrote:

I email back saying OK, no problem, we’re here whenever you need us and so on. 

I wouldn't have said that as he has relieved himself on his chips as well as yours. I would have said "Fine, please don't contact me again". Otherwise, as others have suggested, you look desperate and/or a mug, which I assume you aren't.

Thanks (1)
13th Sep 2018 18:02

According to an super sales person I am connected to on LinkedIn, the reason most sales people (and that's us, isn't it) waste so much time meeting, quoting and giving free advice to people who were never going to sign up is that we don't set tough enough ground rules (well I think that's what he said).
I've had exactly the same issue as you recently, but can't think of how I could have qualified her out before going to see her. But then I'm not a fully trained sales person.

Thanks (3)
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to Moonbeam
13th Sep 2018 20:11

It’s an occupational hazard, isn’t it? At a meeting you want to impress and exceed expectations. It’s inevitable, if they have turned up for free advice, that they sometimes do get that advice for free without us realising it.

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By Matrix
to andy.partridge
13th Sep 2018 20:22

This happened to me the other day and you kick yourself. An FD on a contract wanted to chat through IR35 but was acting as if he wanted a quote for accounts preparation which I expect he will now go away and prepare himself. In hindsight he just wanted a high level IR35 discussion.

However most of the time providing some free advice does work - most people do sign up so we can't beat ourselves up about it.

Thanks (4)
13th Sep 2018 20:49

I hope that the comments have shown that you are not alone with this type of situation. You might not have necessarily been 'used' as Tim puts it but it should put you on warning that the first thing to do when you meet a client is to find out who their previous acc was. If it's the same as this one then be on your guard and dont spend that much time.
All I can say is that the other accs must be desperate.
You did the right thing - showing that your a nice person just might might lure them back when it all goes wrong with their old accs (which it will)

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By Mr_awol
14th Sep 2018 02:18

I don’t see what’s wrong with saying ‘fine we are here if it doesn’t work out’ and certainly don’t think it looks desperate. I’d put it in as a throwaway line in case the problems recur.

Maybe we are lucky in not ‘needing’ to chase more work as we have a steady stream of client gains anyway, and because it’s rare not to convert someone but if I spend an hour with someone and then quote but for some reason they don’t come over I must admit I wouldn’t be too upset about it. I’d leave the door open and move on.

I certainly wouldn’t be bitter enough to warn them about the lunacy of their decision. If it’s a bad call, they will find out soon enough. If the old accountant picks up their game then all is well. By offering to be there is it goes [***] up I would be trying to say to them not to be too embarrassed or proud to come back and admit they’d been conned.

Thanks (4)
14th Sep 2018 11:34

Just echoing all of the above. Part of the profession I suppose. I take everyone on face value, go through the spiel and if they come back to you great and if not move on. You've played your part professionally.

What you have thought were so called bankers can never happen, and on the flip side the 'that's the last you see of them' can often turn up later. Mr Gump's box of chocolates comes to mind. Just see it as an experience and part and parcel of the merry go round.

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14th Sep 2018 16:17

I've just had a similar thing happen to me, but instead of 'client' insert 'cute woman' and instead of 'current accountants' insert 'no-good boyfriend'.

Hopefully you cried less.

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to Constantly Confused
14th Sep 2018 16:23

Not so good on IR35-23-35?
Sorry to hear it (seriously).

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to andy.partridge
14th Sep 2018 22:54

andy.partridge wrote:

Not so good on IR35-23-35?
Sorry to hear it (seriously).

I am not getting your reference...

And I’m feeling pretty beat up, but laughing through the trauma by making posts like this one :)

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to Constantly Confused
21st Sep 2018 15:45

You should have got her to sign a letter of engagement.

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to Red Leader
21st Sep 2018 17:22

Red Leader wrote:

You should have got her to sign a letter of engagement.

Very possibly...

#Pathetic rant about the cruelty of the world deleted#

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to Constantly Confused
21st Sep 2018 17:34

Not really. Not a quality client.

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By nodhedz
15th Sep 2018 09:32

Thanks everyone for your comments.
Much appreciated!
Have a good weekend
:-)

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By Whinger
21st Sep 2018 13:16

Nope. Keep the professional approach. Leave it at that. They'll either come to you in six months anyway, or, they're going to be a nightmare client. If you try too hard they won't come back. Keep it pro and you'll do better in the long run. IMHO.

I'd say 75% of the time, when I get a new client who moaned about the last accountant, they usually end up a pain in the neck.

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