It’s almost a negotiating maxim: When talks deadlock at the last minute, it’s usually over a relatively insignificant item. Here’s what happens: After lengthy, hard-fought talks, negotiators like to feel they’ve won the last point at issue—especially if they fear criticism for earlier concessions. So the barrier may be more ego-related than issue-related.
One strategy that often works: Offer a face-saving concession on some other issue as a way to overcome the block.
Advice From a Trusted Professional
Marketing-savvy CPAs know one of the best ways to enhance their relationship with individual clients is to provide wise financial advice. Here are some advisories worth passing along:
Automobile insurance is getting cheaper and competition among providers is heating up. The bottom line: Advise clients to review their policies—especially if they haven’t received a cut in their premiums. Last year’s rates fell an average of 2.8%, and it’s likely they will drop another 4.5% this year. If their insurers haven’t lowered their rates, advise them to ask why and to consider shopping around.
Advise clients who travel and rent cars to see whether their personal auto policy covers use of a rental car or whether they can get sufficient coverage using their credit card. Suggest that, while they’re at it, they confirm that their homeowner’s policy protects their luggage. In addition, a laptop computer may require additional coverage.
With property prices continuing to rise, tell clients to review their homeowner’s policy and consider an increase in coverage.
As clients’ net worth rises, so should their umbrella coverage.
Capital Option: Plastic
Banks are notorious for lending money only to those who have it or who have plenty of collateral. In the past decade, however, many desperate—but confident—would-be entrepreneurs who were rejected by banks turned to plastic as the creditor of last resort. Today, the credit card route—while a bit pricey—is getting more popular and also getting more respect.
Credit card companies now offer more than simple consumer credit. Many are offering a range of unsecured credit-line alternatives—including equipment leasing deals—to young, fast-growing enterprises. And once a client can show it’s a good customer, credit limits rise and interest rates decline.
Stamping Out Stamps
One of the minor headaches in an office is postage stamps—whether it’s maintaining a supply of them or filling the postage meter, which requires a trip to the post office.
An alternative: postage by e-mail.
You can now order postage from the following Web sites: www.estamp.com , www.pitneybowes.com/soho , www.pcstamp.com and www.postageplus.com. When you print an envelope, the required postage is printed in the appropriate place. Your computer keeps track of how much postage you’ve used, alerting you to when it’s time to download more.
Advantages: This method, unlike a postage meter, requires no lease fee and no special supplies (since you use your own computer and printer).
The JofA publishes a monthly collection of Golden Business Ideas and invites readers to contribute their favorites (for attribution, if you like).
Send your ideas to Senior Editor Stanley Zarowin via either e-mail ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or regular mail at the Journal of Accountancy, Harborside Financial Center, 201 Plaza Three, Jersey City, NJ 07311-3881.