The Practitioner: Keeping quiet wins clients

THEY SAY ACTIONS speak louder than words, but recently I’ve learnt that doing nothing and saying nothing can also have the desired effect.

In an attempt to acquire more clients and grow the practice, we have recently engaged a tele-marketing firm to set up appointments for us with potential clients.

So far in 2015 we have had a 100% success rate of converting prospects we have been put in front of. The most recent appointment last week was one of the most bizarre experiences of my accountancy career so far. I had done my homework beforehand and made sure I knew everything to know about the business I was going to see. I also had a little piece prepped to say about our firm and why I thought we would be a good fit.

I needn’t have bothered. In the whole one hour on the business premises – I am not exaggerating when I say I barely got more than five words in the whole time.

Within five minutes I had learnt more about the business owner than I knew about my own siblings. I knew of her beliefs and religion, past failings in marriage, her falling out with her eldest daughter that was still ongoing, and also that her new partner was a master glassblower but had recently been turned down for a bank loan to build a new workshop in the back garden.

To say I was exhausted when I finally managed to escape and get back into my car is an understatement. I actually locked the car door, drove away for a few hundred yards and parked up to relax for a few minutes.

An earbashing

Not only had my ears been bashed for an hour, but I felt that my personal space had also been invaded. The hour had been spent stood up, moving from one room to another, and at times the business owner was nose-to-nose with me as she became more animated about her business.

I arrived back in the office ready to tell them of the disastarous appointment I had been subjected to: I hadn’t managed to ask any questions; hadn’t found out a great deal about the business; and certainly hadn’t told them anything about our firm. A definite no-go, I thought.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. The next day I received an email from the business owner saying how she was so pleased we had built up a great rapport and what a great listener she thought I was. She wanted to move over to our firm straight away. To say I was shocked is an understatement – not to mention a little bit scared…

It just goes to show though that sometimes saying nothing and just listening is the best policy, even if you don’t have a say in it.

The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice – having left a regional firm in the heart of England

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