Getting Prospects to Open Up to You

Being a CPA means you are in the business of generating referrals and strengthening your client base. You are swamped for months with deadlines and don’t have time to dedicate to building your firm. But once that’s all over, you turn your attention to bringing in those coveted prospects. Networking events or conferences might be a good place to start.

Try to do your homework whenever possible. Social media is a great way to get some background information. If you have targeted certain prospects, hopefully you’ve done some research. What kind of charitable organizations do they support? Do you have mutual friends or contacts?

Once you’ve identified your prospect, how do you get them to open up? This might come very easily to some. However, for others, it’s challenging getting a prospect to open up.

Something to remember: you want the individual to feel like you’re having a two-way conversation, not an interrogation.

Try to establish common interests. Volunteering something about yourself can put your prospect at ease. Don’t go overboard – try to keep it brief and if the other person asks follow up questions, feel free to share more details. It can be tempting to ramble a little if the other person doesn’t open up, but that’s a good opportunity to switch gears, or ask, “What about you? What are your thoughts about such-and-such?”

Clearly, you’ll want to stay away from controversial topics. You don’t have to talk about the weather, you can make it more interesting. It might be easier to start with broad topics and then move to specifics, giving you a better chance of striking some common ground. Do you have the same alma mater, go to the same church, root for the same sports teams? (This isn’t just for the guys – plenty of women are sports fans, too!)

If you feel you need a little more in-depth training on talking with prospects, consider our soft skills coaching. It’s something you could do on your own or include other members of your firm.

Here is the link to the full article from Accounting Web.