Make your client feel special

Business woman drinking coffee
Richard Hattersley
Community correspondent
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If you make your client feel special, they are more likely to reciprocate with referrals, says practice growth expert Heather Townsend.

“Do you know your clients’ favourite biscuit?” asks Townsend.

While this may not initially seem important, knowing whether your client prefers a ginger nut or a digestive can help generate more referrals. Practice excellence practitioners are generating growth through referrals, and you can share similar success, and all it will cost you is the price of a pack of biscuits.

According to Townsend, focus on the ‘little things’ as this “makes the difference” with clients when you are seeking referrals. “It’s not enough to deliver the service up to expectations.”

If you’re looking for referrals, the first thing you should do is consider the value you currently offer your clients. How special do you make your clients feel?

How do you treat your client?

As long as you deliver to their expectations, your client will produce referrals. But this is far from a robust system in generating a healthy load of referrals.

Amazingly, having your client’s favourite biscuit waiting for them, or having an umbrella to hand to shield your client from the rain, will assist in generating your desired referrals, according to Townsend.

Next time you have a client coming to the office, text them before they arrive to ask what hot drink they would like waiting for them.

After you have given your client the red carpet treatment, they are more likely to leave the meeting willing to talk about you, and in turn, bring you referrals.

But remember, some clients deserve more attention than others...

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22nd Mar 2016 11:43

Make your Client feel special

 Personalised Jute bag, Gave one to potential client and the feedback was it was the bag that clichéd it! We have just signed them up as a client! They are already promoting our practice and have another potential client in the pipeline through this bag. Clients also like the idea of having a bag to put all their records in to bring to their Accountant.

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22nd Mar 2016 11:57

Great example!

Thanks Debbie. Often it really is the little things which make clients feel special and get them to talk about us to their network.

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22nd Mar 2016 14:50

OK - You got me

[Expurgated version - for the moderators]

I honestly have no way to tell if @DebbieBullard is serious or is taking the mickey.

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22nd Mar 2016 15:13


@TT I was assuming the latter.

The general point of the article I think is a good one, make people feel good and they will feel at home with you.  

However actually how you go about that is quite different from firm to firm and client to client. I think my clients would be appalled that I was calling them in for meeting and making them coffee and biscuits and not giving them advice which is what I make a big point of that is what you pay me for, not a load of silly frills like the larger firm up the road which charge twice the price. 

Again the "most wanted" I think is interesting for internal consumption, and sort of what I do in that I target a certain segment quite narrowly of who makes a "good for me" client. Would I     share this with clients?  Forget it. 

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22nd Mar 2016 16:30

I have room for improvement

I will need to stop insisting the client bring the biscuits to the meetings.

On a more serious note  I never meet clients at the house- this is a rule I do not want to break, we meet at the client's premises or  a hotel.

I do have one set of clients where I have been known to take around  to them a bottle of malt  (to be  opened as the meeting is starting to wind down- thereafter an hour or so of idle chat.

But this is  pretty infrequent.(I think twice in six years);knowledge of the bottle's existence does tend to help keep the serious part of  the meeting short. :)

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22nd Mar 2016 17:27


You mean lucky...

...that I can be bothered to have them as a client...

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By redboam
23rd Mar 2016 06:13


My experience of meetings with clients is that they are mostly concerned with what's on the table apart from the biscuits.

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23rd Mar 2016 09:00

Can we take things at face value and stay polite, please

There's no need to call Debbie's contribution into question or to make fun of someone posting a comment like hers.

If jute bags work for particular clients, don't knock it until you've tried it!

I was interested in DJKL's approach. Some might have qualms about plying clients with alcohol on their business premises, but as an opening to an hour or so's idle chat, the bottle of malt is taking you into into the kind of tryly relationship-based engagement that Heather would approve of.

If you (and they) do whizz through the "serious stuff", I still bet the insights you get from chatting with the client will illuminate all sorts of things about their attitudes and aspirations. Listening during these sessions to the things that might be bothering them could help you identify areas where they might welcome your help in future.

Respect the moment with the malt, but perhaps at later point you could suggest taking a look at something that came up in conversation. It is a sales process, but one that's based around trying to make things better for the client.

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23rd Mar 2016 09:06

The Tax expert

I use likes cookies with chocolate chips and the Insolvency practitioner likes cheese and biscuits.

I give all my clients a jamboree bag. In it I put their SA302, a copy of their accounts and, of course, my bill. Yes you guessed it I've run out of with compliment slips.     

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23rd Mar 2016 09:39

4 legged "clients"

The majority of my clients have dogs, horses and other animals (I even have one with two pet Llamas).  I guess that it reflects the circles I move in. Therefore, for me, the most important thing is to ensure I have a pocket full of dog treats, and in some cases apples etc too.

If their dog likes you and runs to greet you I can guarantee that the client will also like you.  

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24th Mar 2016 10:44

This is Genuine!

I do marketing for our practice and this was a genuine comment otherwise I would not have posted it. Our practice is all about looking after our clients in a professional way. But there is a perception that all accountants are very stuffy, only talk in accountancy terms that the man in the street doesn't understand. A good accountant should be able to listen to and get to grips with the clients business and their needs and requirements.


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24th Mar 2016 13:04


How can you call giving clients Jute bags, professional.

Your post being genuine is not in doubt, it is the content that is of concern. Most Accountants aren't stuffy but it would appear that you have mistaken Professionalism for stuffiness. My view is that if you have to resort to gimmicks to create a client base then perhaps you (not you personally) should find alternative work. For me there is no place for marketing in the Accounting profession. Look what  marketing has done to the banks.

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