After working at a larger Sarasota law practice, Jo Ann Koontz wanted to start her own firm, where the client experience was the focus.
“We have designed our business processes specifically around what will make for a pleasant client experience, even if it’s more costly or more difficult for the staff or me,” she says. “If it’s better for the client, that’s what we do.”
She’s found that concentrating on service is also the best avenue for success. “You’ll have plenty of clients, plenty of money, and plenty of everything else if you worry about the right things,” she says.
To deliver the best experience, listening to what clients don’t say, she says, is just as important as addressing their specific requests. “They’ll tell me what they want rather than why they want it,” says Koontz. “They tell me what they think will accomplish their goal, but often that’s not the most efficient way to do it. It’s important to know what their objective is to make sure that if I do what they ask me to do, I’m really and truly going to serve their goal.”
Because she’s also a CPA, Koontz can offer her real estate, business and tax clients something of a one-stop shop when it comes to issues where the law and money matters meet. She started her firm with a strong staff and client base already in place from her past work in the area. “That was really the foundation we were able to build on,” she says. “People knew what they were going to get.”
When it comes to networking for new business, Koontz likes to do something a little different — hit the gym. “It’s not expected,” says the former college basketball player. “People’s guard isn’t up. When people see you gross and sweaty, it seems more authentic. And that builds trust and builds that first level of a relationship better than some orchestrated networking thing.”