As many of you will be aware I edit the news copy for Informanagement. As part of this brief I also contribute blog articles. Last week I wrote about the amount of advice we professionals tend to give-away. The post is reproduced below.
How much advice do you give away?
There is a difference between flagging up an issue that could be a problem and offering a solution.
Most professionals sell solutions and so offering advice without agreeing that you be paid for giving that advice seems to be counter intuitive, and yet most professionals seem to do this.
Why is that?
Would you willingly sanction a loss of earnings for your practice?
Perhaps advisers just surrender to age old desires to be liked or respected? It is likely that during a thirty year career, accountants let slip valuable advice, let’s say twice a week, forty-eight weeks a year. If we estimate the value of each slip at say £75, this would amount to a thirty year loss of income amounting to £216,000. If we factor in the possibility that staff are prone to the same largess, the lost revenue quickly becomes a sizeable retirement pot.
Take a step back
The key to closing this drain on fee income is partly to acknowledge that it happens and secondly to rethink exchanges with clients or prospects. There will always be a temptation to demonstrate that you are smarter than your competition and this is a sound way to impress prospects and retain your clients. So, if you are going to avoid blurting out the solution to problems in order to stand out from the crowd, how can you do this without giving advice away for free?
Give yourself time to consider
A possible strategy, apart from biting your tongue, may be convert the blurt into an acknowledgement that you may possibly have the answer required, but you need to check out a couple of issues, and you will get back to them the next day. When you subsequently respond, you could say that you can fix the presented problem, but you will need to invest “x” hours to do so and your fee would be £xx. Follow up quickly with a cost/benefit statement that will convince them your fee is worth paying.
The place to start is to consider how much advice you give away. By all means keep your clients informed, this is a brilliant way to stimulate interest in your services, but don’t be tempted to blurt out the solutions.
Food for thought.
And, if you are considering an alternative supplier for your practice news feed to clients or staff, take a look at Informanagement’s offerings on their website. Or contact Laurence Vogel, Laurence.Vogel@informanagement.co.uk.