#010: 4 Best Practices to Better Check In Calls

August 5, 2022
Read time: 5 minutes

Today, I'm going to share 4 tips to have more effective check in calls with your CFO clients.

Effective check in calls will make your monthly or quarterly CFO calls much more value added. These calls are your opportunity to answer your clients' tactical questions.  You'll also get more timely insights on what's going on with your client. 

The payoff? You're better prepared for the CFO call and your clients feel taken care of.

Unfortunately, most fractional CFOs either:

πŸ‘‰ Don't offer check in calls or
πŸ‘‰ Their calls lack structure 

CFO calls must focus on the strategic. But your clients have tactical questions too.

Your clients have tactical questions that must be addressed.

This is where the check in call can help.

But without a proper check in call, there are a number of challenges that arise: 

Challenge 1: You get bombarded with emails and requests to "hop on a quick call" during the month. 

Those can end up eating hours of your time - even if only a small handful of clients are doing it.

Challenge 2: You get big surprises on the actual CFO call that derail your entire game plan for the call. 

You know what I'm talking about. 

You get on the call and they hit you with news that:

πŸ‘‰ They laid off 20% of their team.
πŸ‘‰ They spent a massive amount of unplanned cash. 
πŸ‘‰ They're freaking out about a vendor that fired them. 

Everything you had planned for the CFO call is now out the window.

Challenge 3: You have check in calls scheduled - but clients don't show up for them consistently.

Grrrr.  Just grrrr.

You can overcome each of these by implementing some best practices.

Here are 4 of the best practices that I follow:

Best Practice #1: Structure your check in calls.

Having a structure or framework for your calls increases preparation efficiency and effectiveness.

Here are a few examples of things you might include in your call structure: 

• Cash flow forecast updates
• Review outstanding action items
• Ask questions you need answered before the next CFO call
• Address questions the client has emailed or messaged you about

More importantly, a predictable structure will show your client that there's a clear reason for the calls.

They know what's going to get discussed and why.

When your clients feel like your calls are just the proverbial 

"Hey you! Just wanted to check in and see how things are going!" 

...That's when they stop showing up.

And why should they show up? 

Structure solves this problem.

Best Practice #2: Schedule your check in calls smarter.

We book our check in calls on the same 2 days each week. For us, that's Thursdays and Fridays.

Which days should you have your calls?  

Well, you do you, boo.

We also schedule each client to have their call at the same time every time.

These calls are always 30 minutes with a hard stop.

So Acme Inc. might have their check in calls every other Thursday from 9:00 - 9:30am.

Scheduling this way accomplishes 3 key things: 

1. You're not having to work with the client to schedule check in calls all the time. It's fixed.
2. Your clients can plan for it super easily. This increases the likelihood of them showing up.
3. By having a hard stop at 30 minutes, that keeps the call concise and to the point.

ProTip: If the client has to cancel the call, don't reschedule it. Get them next time. It's not worth the headache to reschedule one call.

Best Practice #3: Encourage them AND push them.

The check in call is a great opportunity to establish yourself as more than "another vendor". 

This is an opportunity to establish yourself as an executive peer. Do this by both encouraging them and pushing them.

Let me explain...

As fractional CFOs, we have to go beyond the numbers and find wins that we can help our clients celebrate.

Even if their business a burning dumpster fire right now...

I promise, there's still something you can celebrate.

But we also have to push them.  Because clients are also paying us to help them grow.

Before each call, proactively identify one way that you can push them to: 

• Make a hard decision 
• Explore a new opportunity
• Think bigger about a particular goal

I promise you, they probably don't have anyone else on their team that is encouraging them or pushing them.

They absolutely don't have anyone doing both.

Best Practice #4: Take notes and follow up.

Take notes during the call.

Follow up after the call with action items, next steps, etc.

This may seem like common sense. 

πŸ”₯ But you and I both know that common sense isn't always common practice. πŸ”₯

Don't overlook the check in call. It's actually an important tool in your service offering. 

πŸ‘‰ They help keep you in the loop and avoid surprises. 
πŸ‘‰ They help your client stay on track and feeling heard, encouraged, and challenged. 

And by implementing these best practices, you and your clients will get a ton of value out of them.


That's all for this Friday.  4 best practices for better check in calls.

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Your coach, 
Michael King

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