Watch, listen and learn… and be inspired
On stage in Paris, CPA Trendlines expert contributor Martin Bissett teaches a global meeting of top CPA firm leaders how to land the new breed of the high-growth, high-value client.
The complete 1 hour, 38 minutes. With audience Q&A and the full set of handouts.
Purchase and download the video today,
See Martin Bissett at work:
- The new breed of client called T.O.M. (Tom).
- What Tom wants.
- Why Tom doesn’t want you – yet.
- How to identify, attract, and sign new Tom clients.
- Identify your Tom clients and prospects.
- Capturing the right clients: Growing, profitable, ambitious
- And they’re outgrowing their current firm (but they don’t know it yet)
- Defining and leveraging your special advantage
- Why most accounting growth plans fail
- The Five Easiest Ways to Lose New Business – Before you even start
- The Hard Truth: What Clients Say
- The Transformation from a Professional Service Firm
For Martin Bissett, It’s Personal
This is the true story behind “Meet Your New Best Client.”
Top-quality clients are out there for the taking.
They need better accounting and advisory services than they’re getting.
They just don’t know it… yet.
Getting their business means overcoming an illogical hurdle – their loyalty to in-place accounting firms whose capabilities the prospects have outgrown.
Bissett describes in detail how to lure those valuable prospects to your firm.
He provides the four mind-blocks CPAs must overcome with any potential new client.
In the mind of the client:
- “We are a business outgrowing our current firm of accountants. But when you come to see us, we will never admit it.”
- “We have been with our current accountants for years have never known another world, and although we are outgrowing them, we have a sense of loyalty. You cannot break that barrier with a logical argument of ‘we could save money with you.’”
- “I have no desire to change. I do not know you and have not gotten a sense that you understand me.”
- “Until you open up, and resonate with us, the challenge of moving is greater than the opportunities from coming to you.”
“That is what has to be broken down, Bissett says. “For pro-active marketers, this is where you start.”
Bissett focuses on what he calls “today’s owner-managers or “TOMs.” They typically manage fast-growing companies that have strong profits that can be plowed back into growing their businesses and, as such, they need the services to help that growth.
TOMs are Grade A or B clients – ambitious entrepreneurial people who need more than just compliance-type services to achieve what they want.” They also may deal with other organizations around the world and could help you land work with other clients.
Advisory services most in-demand by TOMs, according to Bissett, include:
- information management,
- cash flow forecasting,
- budgeting and
- quarterly reviews.
Due to their fast-growth, you’ll need to be ready to provide round-the-clock, 24/7, service.
Unfortunately for firms seeking TOM clients, many TOMs feel loyal to their current accountants. “The accounting firm relationship is cozy, and TOM’s current accountant is not incompetent. But TOM does not know how his accounting relationship can be better than just okay,” Bissett says.
Overcoming the bonds of loyalty requires you to address the prospects’ real needs by taking the time to understand their underlying motivations and anxieties.
CPAs should be asking, for instance,
- “Why are you in business?”
- “What would you do if you don’t need to work?”
- “How and when would you like to retire?”
- “What do you wish for your family, your children?” “Now, let’s see how we can achieve those goals for you.”
Meanwhile, many firms are making some common – and avoidable – mistakes. For example, Bissett notes that the first meeting with a prospect should be treated like a first date. Yet firms have a tendency to arrive late, which causes TOMs to question their commitment.
Pricing is critical. Bissett advocates accountants bill based on the value they provide versus offering low prices to attract prospects.
“Discounting is cancer in this profession. Low-balling provokes doubt in clients’ minds,” he says. It makes prospects think the firm will use junior persons for their work.
Bissett cites an example of how a good business advisor can help a TOM client in an unexpected way.
That’s a TOM who focuses so much energy on building his business that he overlooks his family’s need to live in a better house. While the business was growing, TOM’s home neighborhood deteriorated to the point that it was uncomfortable for his children. In this case, the advisor stepped beyond straight business services to help the TOM handle issues involved with selling and buying a home. That, in turn, relieves TOM’s stresses and frees up energy he can apply to expand his business. In the end, TOM appreciates the added value his advisor brings. And he tells his friends.
“I’m asking you to find your TOMs,” he says. “So, call on your TOMs. Now is the time to help them.”
For a real-life TOM example, Bissett gets personal.
He cites his father, who, in 1976, was a successful independent financial advisor in Manchester, England, making a very high income. But he hit hard times, and years later could only find work as a hearing aid salesman paid on commission. He died in 1993 at the age of 54. Bissett believes his father’s financial firm could have thrived with some advisory services from the right accountant – if one had been available back in the 1970s.
“That’s a TOM we cannot now help,” Bissett says.
“But we have many TOMs out there now that we can help.”
About Martin Bissett
Martin Bissett, author of Winning Your First Client, Passport to Partnership, and Business Development on a Budget, is the founder of The Upward Spiral Partnership Ltd., the UK-based consulting firm that specializes in the implementation of professional selling and leadership skills in the next generation of accounting professionals.
Previously, Martin served ten years on the board of the directors of the UK’s leading provider of high-quality new business appointments for accountancy firms. There, he held the responsibility for the nurture and organic growth of the organization’s new client base, including six of the UK’s top 30 firms of accountants.
Martin became fascinated by the apparent juxtaposition of partners not vocalizing what they were looking for in terms of an accomplished skill set from their potential future partners and their managers not asking to discover what that skill set included, despite wanting to reach that very position. In a profession with a supposed “Succession Crisis” on the horizon, this apparent stand-off struck him as curious. This has led Upward Spiral Partnership to personally interview several hundred partners and managers in the US and UK to learn what partners are looking for and how the managers see their own future in the firm. There are, of course, firms who have addressed this issue already, and their initiatives have also been captured.
The results of the research, including both the consensus and the exceptions to the general opinion, is called “Passport to Partnership.” This study provides the highlights of each factor that the majority of partners interviewed use as their criteria when evaluating whether someone in their organization can make it to the top. As a result of the combination of his experience, intellectual property and this proprietary research, Martin now consults with accounting firms in the UK, Europe and the USA to support them in their transition through to the next stage of their development and growth.
(Note: CPE credits not available for this recorded program)
See the complete set of Martin Bissett’s practice development and professional training library:
- Business Development on a Budget – Handbook and Audio Series
- Winning Your First Client
- Passport to Partnership
How to Win the New Breed of Client