A successful partnership is a win-win situation for both advisors and their clients. Whether you’re partnering with a huge institution or a brand new startup, if the relationship does not benefit both parties, then it will not work in the long term.
When it comes to becoming a better strategic partner to your clients, it’s important to adopt a mindset where you provide more value than you receive. Why? When you can offer your clients more value than they would get elsewhere, they are more likely to stay long-term, and see you as a trusted source of information (which of course, you are!).
You might be thinking, “Hmm, it doesn’t sound like a win-win if I’m putting in most of the effort.” There are two reasons this is not true. First, by focusing on providing value, you will see your revenue and client base increase dramatically. Second, by leveraging technology, you can easily implement software and disburse training and marketing material, which can help you provide extra value to your clients, and scale your client base with minimal effort.
Intrigued? Here are five things you can do to add value and position yourself as a strategic partner to your small business clients.
1. Ensure your goals are aligned
Do you have a strong understanding of your clients' needs, pain points, and priorities as they apply to their entire business? For example, if you run a bookkeeping firm, are you clear on the problems you are solving for your clients? Do they simply have no capacity to deal with their financial transactions? Or, is their whole admin process a mess (it happens!), and have they hired you in a desperate bid to sort it all out?
This is important to know because if a client only wants and needs the bare minimum, perhaps they won’t be receptive to added services and advice. However, if you know a client hired you with the goal of improving their business, then your goal to provide strategic advice and added services will match up perfectly!
At Employment Hero, we ask ourselves the following questions before pursuing a partnership: what problem are we solving for clients? And, how will this partnership help us achieve our mission/goal? If you are looking to expand your client base and increase your role as a strategic partner, think of a set of questions you can ask before pursuing new opportunities to ensure your goals are aligned.
2. Utilize cloud-based tools and technology
There are a range of apps and software platforms whose sole purpose is to streamline processes, reduce admin time, and generally make life easier for business owners. Having knowledge of these solutions, or better yet, becoming an expert in using some of them, will allow you to dramatically increase your strategic value. Business owners are often vaguely aware that better solutions are available, but simply don’t have the time go looking.
What’s more, using these cloud-based tools can add another stream of revenue to your business. Many of these companies offer partner programs, which help educate partners on how to best use their programs, and sometimes offer a reseller fee or referral bonus (a win-win, one would say!). As an example, Employment Hero launched one of these programs last year. Look out for these partnership opportunities as they can help you boost value and increase your income.
3. Stay on top of industry news and think ahead
Depending on your field, staying ahead of industry news will mean different things. If you are an accountant, for instance, it’s important to stay up-to-date on tax laws and financial news. If you are an accountant with a large chunk of clients who work in one vertical, then it’s not a bad idea to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in that space.
Creating networks with individuals who work in a similar field is a great way to remain in-the-know. Signing up for newsletters from trusted sources is another easy way to keep informed. At Employment Hero, we send out a weekly e-newsletter where we keep readers updated with changes in Fair Work laws, best practice HR processes, and so on (we recently shared a report explaining what Australians want from their employers, based on a recent nationwide survey we conducted!).
By keeping current with industry news, you will be able to have more informed with your clients. More importantly, you will be able to see the future!
4. Give free advice
You read that right! Giving free advice is one of the quickest ways to build trust with a client and showcase how much value you can offer. Many advisory firms share quick tips on their social media pages, write informative “how to” blogs, and send out useful newsletters to their client base with the latest in industry news (see tip #3).
If you have resources and capacity to do something similar, that’s great! If you have the budget to spare, but no time, consider hiring a freelancer to get your content and social media pages up and running. If you have time but no budget, don’t worry – it’s still just as easy to get up and running. There is a plethora of information on the Internet about how to write blogs and use social media channels for business purposes.
5. Create a community
One of the greatest strengths you have as someone who works with many businesses is that you know many people who work for different businesses!
Have there been any instances where Client A has a problem that Client B could solve? How grateful would they both be if you could introduce them to each other? By creating a community where you put your clients on each other’s radars, you help them thrive. This promotes goodwill and allows your clients to see that you genuinely care about their success! It’s also really fun.
You could also host meetups where your clients come together for a drink, a chat, and perhaps even a panel discussion. You could create a Facebook or LinkedIn group for like-minded clients to connect and ask questions. Or, you could include promotions and special deals from your clients, for your clients, in your regular newsletter – for example, if one of your clients is a hairdresser, they might love the opportunity to offer 15% off to your other clients and their staff.
Building a strategic partnership isn’t easy, but it will benefit your firm in the long run! Use the five tips mentioned above to focus on providing more value, and you’ll be well on your way to a win-win partnership with your small business clients.
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About the AuthorMore Content by Jacqui Graham