by Art Kuesel, President, Kuesel Consulting, for Accounting Today
With so much in the world in disarray and businesses feeling like they are in limbo or worse, it may seem like the wrong time to focus much attention on business development at your firm. However, business development is just as important now as ever, if not even more. Needs are there for our prospects — they just may not look the same as they once did, even a month ago.
We know that the business development lifecycle for CPA firms takes months or years to build, so there is no reason to assume there’s not an opportunity because of the current crisis. You want to be careful in how you approach your prospects in your manner of messaging and communication, but that doesn’t mean the opportunities are not there.
First, in circumstances like these, empathy goes a long way when communicating with prospects. The landscape perspective you provide as a CPA advisor is valuable in that it offers a 30,000-foot view of a complicated situation. Find a way to communicate what you’re seeing with your clients to your potential prospects in a way that they can relate to. Sharing that perspective and knowledge, ideally with some solutions, can endear you to a prospect as a helpful and useful resource during troubling times.
Additionally, recognize that many of your services are important but not urgent. There’s no doubt that compliance deadlines create a sense of urgency, but when a business owner has several other issues on their minds, including navigating cost-cutting, furloughs or layoffs, emergency economic relief, and just trying to survive, some of the compliance tasks go by the wayside. That’s where advisory comes in.