How does a partner move up the value chain and spend less time on prospective clients that aren’t a fit for the firm?
A hot topic that is brought up quite frequently is “How does a partner move up the value chain and spend less time on prospective clients that aren’t a fit for the firm?”
Let’s address each matter separately.
*Moving up the Value Chain. My interpretation of this is, “How do I work with higher value/bigger clients?” It is simple. As a part of your Pareto analysis, it is imperative that you assign every client in your firm a “Client Manager.” The assignment can be based on service, industry and revenue. The Client Manager is responsible for Client Service, Communication and Profitability related to the Client. It is critically important that you send the Client a note and let them know who their Client Manager is and what role they play. This is analogous to the Loan Officer who gets promoted to Bank Manager and lets you know he/she will no longer be your first point of contact but he/she will be there for you as needed.
*Prospective Client Triage. I recommend that you have your “Director of Operations” handle the first touch so that he/she becomes proficient at directing the prospect to the right place in your firm.
Here are some sample questions your DOO could ask:
We value your time. To ensure the highest quality service, we would like to connect you with the best person to assist you in our firm. Is it okay if I ask you a few questions? Also, please note our minimum price for individuals is $500 and businesses is $1000. Have your DOO pause….i.e. if they hang up on you know they aren’t a great fit for your firm.
*How did you hear about us?
*Are you an individual or business?
*If a business: How long have you been in business?
*Who is your current CPA? If they aren’t currently using a CPA, the likely next step is not a Partner.
*Why are you contacting us today?
These simple questions, if handled appropriately, will help your firm leverage its resources more effectively!
Lastly, here is a firm in San Jose, CA that asks its prospects to complete questionnaires prior to a meeting. Please have a look.