Posts Tagged ‘services’

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Additional Services Season Is Coming

It’s that time of year again. You and your team will be seeing clients face-to-face. It’s time to cross-sell your firm’s services. The challenge is mastering the art of cross selling.

Why is this valuable? Why should you be encouraging even your first year accounting staff to recognize cross-sell opportunities? It is because the more services your provide to a client, the more profitable they become and the harder it is for them to break-away from your accounting firm.

Plus, as you have heard from consultants like me for years and years, it is so much easier to cross-sell to clients because you already have a solid relationship. Relationships are the foundation of sales for an accounting firm. Take a minute to read this article by Alan Weiss, author of Million Dollar Consulting, “You Are Not In The Sales Business, You’re in the Relationship Business.”

As with most new activities inside a CPA firm, at first you will probably need a system, a process, a checklist, a questionnaire – – whatever tool it takes to help your accountants actually explore expanded services with current clients.

Some firms call it the Additional Services Checklist. Others may call it The Expanded Services Questionnaire or The Enhanced Opportunity Checklist. No matter what you name it, it is a sales tool that your team can use to find out how the firm can truly better serve…. fully serve…. your clients.

The goal is to bring extra value to your clients. Right now, do all of your team members, even the most recent college recruits:

  • Know what to look and listen for while they are at the client’s location?
  • Been educated about all of the firm’s service offerings?
  • When they recognize an opportunity, know who to refer it to inside your firm?

If you answered “no” to any of these, quickly take action. Host a “breakfast & learn” or “lunch & learn” in early January before your engagement teams go into the field.

Talk about this topic. Provide the entire team, including the admin team, with a listing of questions/items to apply to the clients and give them the name of the partner to seek out for guidance if they identify an area where your firm can bring more value to the client. Just having this simple questionnaire or checklist seems to give everyone more confidence.

During this session, experienced partners and managers can speak-up and give practical advice to the less-experienced team members.

If you would like a sample copy of an Additional Services Checklist, just let me know.

 

  • You don't earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-to-day.
  • Jeffrey Gitomer

Friday, June 8th, 2012

The Important Actions In “Life After Busy Season” For CPAs

I’ve talked about it before. How many CPAs go into a 3 or 4-week trance after the April tax due date. I understand….. you are tired, burned-out and need a break. So, you chill for a week or so, take a much needed vacation and maybe even clean-up your office or workspace.

Then it’s suddenly mid- to late May, you have your annual partner retreat. The list might look like this (along with my comments):

  • The partners need to make more money (to accomplish this the firm need to grow).
  • We need to attract the best and brightest people (to accomplish this the firm needs to grow).
  • We need to be a strong contender on our local college campuses (to accomplish the firm needs to grow).
  • We need to move up market so we attract larger clients (to accomplish this the firm needs to grow).
  • We need to really beef-up a special niche (to accomplish this the firm needs to grow).
  • We have candidates who really want to be a partner (to accomplish this the firm needs to grow).

See where I’m going with this? For your firm to become a leader in your marketplace, to attract quality clients, to attract larger clients, to develop a strong niche, to be a major magnet for talent – both from campus and with experienced hires – your needs to grow.

So now, here we are, well into June and we need to grow. One way to add revenue is to reflect upon your “Busy Season Opportunity List.” This is a list of additional services that you and your team have compiled as you worked and talked with clients during the first 4 months of the year. Often firm leaders tell me that they equip their team with forms/checklists to accumulate possible additional services to existing clients, the team members submit them to firm leaders and then nothing happens!

Dig out those lists now and get busy. If you want more information on how to structure and carry-out this accumulation process, let me know.

If you did not accumulate the information, it’s not too late. Here are some steps:

  • Gather your accounting team for a debriefing session.
  • Create a non-threatening atmosphere for the meeting – make it fun.
  • Ask your partners and team members to reflect back on their busy season engagements and identify possible additional services for the clients they served.
  • Create a list from the session and schedule meetings with the appropriate clients.

Why involve the entire team? It’s how they learn to help grow the firm. It’s how they learn to actually contemplate possible additional services for existing clients. It is a stepping stone for them in being able to sell to successful companies who are not current clients.

Want to assess your firm’s marketing aptitude? Check out this assessment.

 

  • Don't wish it were easier, wish you were better.
  • Jim Rohn