Barb Easter offers Tips on Talking Cash Flow with your Clients
Barb shares four simple words that can help accounting pros open up those, sometimes uncomfortable conversations with their clients about cash flow.
Blaine Bertsch with Dryrun here, today I am talking with Barb Easter our Director of Partnerships.
I just came to Barb with a question earlier and we thought we would actually chat about it. I was talking with one of my friends that is an accounting professional and we were talking about cashflow and I was talking about the problems I used to have with cashflow and how man it would be nice if someone would help me and the question she had was well how do you brooch the subject? Because it could be kind of uncomfortable asking a customer about their cashflow problems. So anyways, I think Barb has some great insight on this.
Actually, it is one of my favourite things to tell people because the reason is, in my brain, myself, my own personality, and what I see in a lot of accounting pros, ok, is that drive to help.
And that’s really the route of all entrepreneurial spirit is you see an opportunity to help somebody and you want to capitalize on it. You think you can help them. That’s sales right there.
So, really the conversation is often centred around have you thought about? Ok, so have you thought about X, have you thought about Y, it’s really not invasive, not a threatening way to open the door to a deeper conversation where you get to do a couple things.
You get to show your authority in a given field and then you get to propose a solution.
So, you’ve got the knowledge, you are privy to some if you are an accountant or a bookkeeper and you are privy to some information that wouldn’t be apparat to others about a businesses particular behind the scenes financials and then you are proposing a solution.
And then, beyond that it’s whether we think the solution is going to work or not. Which is a different conversation, ok, so quite often I see a portion of accounting professionals go into, get really wound up about how a conversation like this is going to proceed they are not feelings entrepreneurial, they are not looking to grow their practice if there is a bunch of risk. That’s ok.
Do you think you can help? Is question number one.
Question number 2 is how do you go about opening a conversation, that’s all you are doing, you are opening the conversation for further solution.
Yup, four words, four words.
Really it’s four words. Have you thought about…
Yeah and you know, the thing that I think about as a business owner, when I’m in the battle and in the trenches every day some of the things…and I’ll admit…I have my accountant now and he’s awesome and he helps me with so much stuff and he’s just… but in the past I have changed accountants a few times and just a little bit of insight, is it is sort of the one that comes up and in a round about way may ask that question.
Have you thought about this?
Oh man, this person can help me. And is it easy for me to just go at that point when I am in crisis or I am under pressure or whatever, yes, I will change if someone can help me.
So that’s the other thing is it’s not about can you help your client but it’s does someone else have their ear and is saying to them have you thought about this?
Because, it’s taken me several tries I think to find the accountant that I am with now that I am really comfortable with because he helps me with everything and I have so much confidence in him, I’ll admit, I’ve gone through a few getting to this one.
The reality is with some of the market exploding the way that it has been in recent years for tools that accounting pros can use, if you are not willing to have a helpful conversation because all I ever want to be in life is helpful.
If you are not having that conversation with your business clients somebody else is going to have that conversation for you.
At some point your business client which you just alluded to your business client is going to vote with their dollars, where they think their dollars are well spent in terms of accountancy or bookkeeping.
So if I could have for the same dollar, really, if I could have an accountant who doesn’t propose anything, so is not really proactive, versus one who is proactive, that you know what, that person, that accountant that accountant bee just gives me a number of options to consider. In a very non-threatening way, there is no sales’ thing going on here. Genuinely a helpful person who’s able to communicate opportunities that I might not be aware of as a business owner. Then of course I’m going to vote with my dollars eventually, which you have.
Yes, that’s right, exactly.
An option for somebody that is more communicative and really, more helpful.
Yes, so and that’s what I’m going back with that I’m going back with is it’s a quick email, for me to say ok, here’s the answer.
First, genuinely, probably you are already there, you want to help.
But number 2 I t’s as simple as four words. Have you thought about…X.
Have you thought about your cashflow, have you thought about some of these invoices that are running late.
It is such a noninvasive question, it’s such an easy way into that conversation.
Ok, so the great thing, so specifically I know we’ve got to go but talking about Dryrun specifically is you know what you could do as an accounting professional, you start a free trial, you run a cashflow actually and then you run a what if.
Because you know, you are privy to your business clients financial information and the risks, right so you run like an actuals a best case, a worst case, then you take your screen and you go like this, have you thought about this and how you could mitigate it if X, Y, Z happens.
So, basically you’ve got four words now and you’ve potentially a tool that you could play show and tell with and the conversation might go nowhere or it might go in a lot of positive directions both for your business owner and for your own practice.
So it’s cool, I get really excited, you can tell.
That’s great advice Barb, I’m going to pass it along.
Hopefully some of our users are going to use those four words and start some conversations with their customers and lead them to cashflow nirvana.