Why Do We Accept Poor New Business Results?

5 critical steps to turn things around.

By Domenick J. Esposito
8 Steps to Great

The question to ask is why do so many firms accept poor performance from so many of their partners relative to growth and generating revenue?

MORE ON STRATEGIC PLANNING: Is It Time to Manage Your Receivables Like a Real Business? | Profitability Requires Discipline | Pitching Vs. Pursuing | The Top 11 Reasons CPA Firm Mergers Fail | Growth: The Difference between the Disruptor and the Disrupted? | M&A: Sometimes Bigger Is Better | What a Value Proposition Truly Is (and Isn’t)
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There isn’t a firm in existence that does not depend on constant growth to be successful and to generate enough profit to pay its staff and partners well.  Yet, so many firms accept the old bell-shaped curve argument that they are winning if just 20 percent of their partners are good at generating business.
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First, You Need Clients

Small potted plant fertilized with coinsApply systems to your sales funnel.

By Jassen Bowman
Tax Resolution Systems

If your experience is primarily in the tax return preparation arena, then you are most likely used to the service being what is referred to as a “lay down” sale, meaning you really don’t have to sell.

MORE: Tax Resolution: A Lucrative Opportunity | 4 Problems with the Tax Resolution Industry | When Tax Filing Season Is Over, What’s Next? | How to End the Tax Revenue Roller Coaster with a Four-Season Practice Model
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As an optional service that many people just aren’t familiar with as an option, tax resolution actually requires a little bit of sales skills. I think it’s important for you to have a handle on the key benefits that you bring to the table for potential clients.
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Sales Is Like Workflow Management

Four colored arrows in an arc with shadows underneathThe 4 core steps to take.

By Rob Nixon

Most accountants have a workflow system of sorts. You get the information in, you check the information, you manipulate the information, you query it, and you then bind it up and lodge or file it.

MORE ON STRATEGY: 4 Sales Systems and Some Secret Sauce | 17 Killer Questions for Prospects | Growing Your Client Database | Niche Markets Are Your Best Buyers | 8 Questions for Product Creation | How to Deliver Wow! Every Day | Communicate Until It Hurts | Why a Virtual Team Makes Sense
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It’s a process (simplified, I know) that is like a manufacturing line. The raw materials come in and after a series of steps and people touching the item, a finished product is created and shipped to the customer.
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17 Killer Questions for Prospects

Businessman looking at question mark sketch on the wallPlus 6 tips for HOW to ask them.

By Rob Nixon

I am blessed to be working with the accounting profession for 20+ years. I love the influence that you can make and the difference to a client’s financial position.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Sales Is about Trust | Marketing Must Generate Leads | Be an ‘Object of Interest’ | Marketing Must Be About Sales | Turn Your Knowledge Into Products | Why Clients Really Stay | 8 Ways to Build Team Engagement | How to Create 4 New Billable Hours per Day | Do You Know What Clients Want? | Is Your Business By Design or Default? | The World Is Flat
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You are very loyal to your clients, your vendors and your team. You are sometimes obstinate on parting with money but that is not the most annoying thing. The most annoying thing in dealing with you is that you don’t ask enough questions. Sometimes none at all. It is so frustrating.
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What I Wish I Knew When I Started My Practice

Word "MARKETING" highlighted above other wordsThey are skills you can learn. Accountants are good at that, right?

By Sandi Leyva and Michelle Long
The Ultimate Accounting Virtual Conference

One thing I like to focus on is just letting people understand that they do need additional skills.

MORE SMALL FIRM GROWTH STRATEGIES: Best Practices for Growth: Network, Specialize, Share | Reconnect with Your Why | Use Payroll to Grow Client Retention | 3 Ways to Work Less and Earn More | What to Do When a Client Doesn’t Pay | How to Handle Price Sensitivity | How to Find Hidden Money for Your Clients | How Small Firms Can Use Value Pricing | 3 Killer Lead Generation Channels
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We already come with the accounting because that’s our background. So we come with accounting, bookkeeping, tax or whatever it is in our background and so we have that part down.
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How to Create 4 New Billable Hours per Day

You have more capacity than you think.

By Rob Nixon
Panalitix

I am going to show you how to free up to 4 hours per accountant per day of new capacity – without hiring any more accountants. 

MORE ON STRATEGY:  Don’t Let Technology Make You Dumber  |  Do You Know What Clients Want?  |  What It Means to Be a Real-Time Accountant | 12 Predictions on the Future of Accounting | Will the Internet Replace CPAs? | The Profession Disrupted: Compliance Commoditized
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Catch Rob live and in-person: CPA Trendlines readers can save $50 on Firm of Now events with the discount code “TRENDS” at firmofnow.com.

I’ll use the example of a sole practitioner with accountants. You can multiply the math out for your size firm. You’ll see that by implementing just three strategies you can free up to 4 hours per accountant per day – maybe more. With five accountants that’s 100 hours per week, or 4,500 hours+ per year.

If you have an average hourly rate of just $150 that’s $675,000 of new capacity. You could re-fill the capacity or downsize your team. Have I got your attention yet?

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14 Ways to Leverage Client Data for New Billings

Chart of client interest in KPITop of the list? Cash flow forecasting.

By Rob Nixon

As you become a real-time accountant, one of the key steps is to strongly recommend that your clients migrate across to a cloud accounting solution. That’ll take 12 to 36 months to systematically help your clients change.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Don’t Let Technology Make You Dumber | Do You Know What Clients Want?  | What It Means to Be a Real-Time Accountant | Are Your Goals Big Enough? | Is Your Business By Design or Default? | 12 Predictions on the Future of Accounting | Finding New Opportunity in Compliance Services | The World Is Flat | Will the Internet Replace CPAs? | How Offshoring Is Shaking Up Accounting | The Profession Disrupted: Compliance Commoditized
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Let’s assume you have done that. You have spent the time training them. You have helped them to get good data in, so good data can come out.
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Marketing vs. Selling: Both Must Serve the Client First

Woman explaining financial brochure to manIt comes down to what will best serve your clients.

By Ed Mendlowitz
How to Build a Stronger Tax Practice

There are differences between marketing and selling.

Selling is a process whose goal is an actual order. Marketing involves the totality of presenting the company to the prospective customer so they want to do business with you.

MORE ON MARKETING: Adopt a Marketing Mindset

Salespeople need immediate gratification. Marketers take a long-term view.

Both are necessary for successful growth.
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Use This Spreadsheet to Evaluate Prospects

Tiny businessman standing on dripping faucetGet your A.C.C.O.U.N.T.S. in order.

By Martin Bissett

There is a difference between a pipeline and a simple list of prospects.

MORE ON BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: Consider Hiring a Sales Director | Understand the DNA of Business Development Success | Do You Deliver on Your Website’s Promises? | Lowballing Is Undervaluing Yourself | Appraise Your Prospects | The Science of Pipelines | Do You Have a Pipeline or Just a List? | Develop the Habit of Consistency | Prepare Your Next Generation of Professionals | Overcome Recurring Fee Apathy | Banish the Idea that Selling is Difficult | How to Win Your First Client | You’re Selling All the Time

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A true pipeline grades prospects, works out the value of each prospect and determines where they should fit in your business development efforts. You can use this process to create a mathematical equation that scores how likely you are to win the work.
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