Monday, April 09, 2007

Understanding the deeper needs of clients

Recently our firm made a decision that one of our partners should dedicate themselves to identifying the deeper needs of our clients. the simple notion is that we should not seek to attract new clients into the firm until the needs of existing clients have been satisfied.

I got the guernsey!I am the mobile partner! That's because it is what I love doing.

The value proposition is that I offer to visit for 1-2 hours to understand about their business and the issues they are confronting.I reassure them that it is not a selling exercise but a listening exercise.

I do a basic review of their files before I visit, take notes, discuss them with the partner or manager before I proceed and then organise the visit.

To date I have been absolutely surprised and excited by the range of economic activity that our clients are up to without our knowledge.

As well I have found that our clients have needs some timely assistance moving forward with the new super rules.

One early visit identified a client with significant commercial property holdings, close to retirement who was extremely well-positioned to exploit the new rules. We have been able to go back to him with a proposal and briefing as to how he might proceed.

Two other clients have alerted us to the need to provide a wider range of human resources services to clients. This will include recruiting assistance and advice about the Workchoices initiatives via consultants we have available to us.

Another client has indicated that he is proceeding to import product directly from China in a joint-venture with an industry collaborator. This got me to attendance at a Doing Business With China Seminar hosted by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. I have to be ready to assist. While I was there I established contact with two accounting firms and a legal firm in Hong Kong who may be available to assist if needed.

Debtor and Inventory finance are areas I have also explored recently for a client whose growth is being restrained by lack of working capital. In the business he's in they need to pay for stock before it is dispatched.

A common discovery is also that we need to perform some pre-30th June tax planning on many more clients. There are many things to consider this year---especially the new super rules!

It is early days yet but I have seen enough to know that this initiative is a WIN/WIN initiative for our clients and our firm.


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