Surveys underused as new business tool

Accountants should consider using surveys more often as a method of attracting new SMSF business to their practice, a specialist business consultant has said.

Speaking at the Accounting Business Expo during a session hosted by Class, Mayflower Consulting managing director Sarah Penn said surveys were currently being underused and they could provide key benefits for accounting practices.

“Surveys have two benefits – one is getting a better handle on what’s going on with your clients,” Penn said at the event in Sydney last week.

“Secondly, they’re actually a good way to promote new services. If you send a survey out to all your client base talking about your SMSF services, you are in effect promoting your service.”

She pointed out unless accountants adhered to some basic rules around the use of surveys, the exercise could end up being a waste of time.

“The whole thing about surveys is you have to be super clear on what it is you’re trying to learn. For example, if you’re offering financial advice, ask how many clients would take it up and could you charge. Very specific questions,” she advised.

Keeping a survey brief was another key rule accountants needed to recognise when employing this strategy, she said.

“Surveys have a habit, especially if you’ve got a couple of partners or even new people in the business, of becoming a shopping list where everyone wants their 55 questions,” she warned.

“Also, we all have short attention spans. I can go about three minutes of filling in a survey before I lose interest. So you need to really think about what are the really important questions that you want to ask and just ask those questions.”

Further, she emphasised practitioners needed to know what they wanted to achieve before they sent out a survey.

In addition, she identified the ability to act on the information gathered from a survey as a final key step accountants needed to incorporate when considering using the new business technique.

“Unless you implement the changes regarding what you discussed, then the whole thing is a complete waste of time,” she advised.

“So you’ve got to make sure that whatever you decide are the changes, you actually have to do something with them.”

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