Many of us hang-on to client relationships beyond their useful sell-buy date. There is an addiction to the process of growing client lists and gross recurring fees. We hate sacking clients, but we love winning new clients.
Examining “D” list clients can be a salutary process, assuming, of course, that you have classified clients in this way. Many will be bad payers, late deliverers of information, and likely to spent unrealistic amounts of time bending our ears about issues that they have no intention of paying us for any pearls of wisdom we communicate.
What to do?
Clients that should be encouraged to look elsewhere for advice seem to provide further evidence that the 80:20 rule is alive and kicking. For example, do you spend 80% of your time chasing late payers, calling for records or information you need, or having to take yet another call that you know will never result in additional billing? And does that group represent a mere 20% of your client list?
And, of course, the reverse is true. The 80% of clients that you should be speaking with, those that pay their bills on time, that deliver information on time, and that appreciate the advice you give and are willing to pay for it, you only have 20% of your time available.
From April 2018, client volatility will possibly increase, as we focus on the workable relationships with clients. With the advent of Making Tax Digital firms should probably start dusting off their client lists and start weeding out the D list so that there is more time for the A, B and Cs. We may be approaching times where we cannot serve the once a year, records in a plastic bag, late paying clients any longer.