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Best Tips for Accountants Including Controllers, Outsourced CFOs, and Tax Professionals

For best tips for accountants, Lisa asks, how do I approach an existing client who I can see needs controller and CFO services?

It’s a check-in, right? It’s a check-in coming into the end of 2020. Just doing check ins with all my clients before we get to the end of the year, making sure everything is squared away. “So I was looking at 2019…”  and then go through the script, go through the script in detail, follow it every single step. So, that’s what you say. And then you also go through, do the script and transition. It’s simply like that end of the year check-in, your check in just a process. They’re not going to care. They in fact are going to be happy. What happens is most accounts should be doing this anyway. The problem is they don’t know how to monetize the experience. So clients hate to ever reach out because some clients get on the phone with the need of not pitching them.

Next question for best tips for accountants, Rudy asks, I seem to get pushed back every time I ask for someone to set up a recurring payment plan with me, how can I solve this problem?

So, what I do Rudy is people sign agreements, e-sign agreements with the ACH information there. The engagement letter has the ACH information in there and then you just put it into the ACH immediately so it goes in same day. Now, it might not process for a day or two the way ACH works, but for them it’ll process the very next day. You should have an agreement signed before the call is over and that agreement should include the ACH details and that should bill immediately. That’s what I would say to do. 

Best tips for accountants, Ashley asks, how do I stay motivated and driven during the slow times in my business?

You’ve got to look at the bigger picture of your life. There’s two things: one, I would look at the bigger picture and then the second thing I would do is fight. Fight like hell. What can we do to get this fixed today? Who can we call back today? I’m going to tell you a story. I had a guy, this was in July 2016 and I spoke to him not but two hours ago and he signed up to work with me. He basically at the end of the period of us working together, asked for his money back. At that time I had promised that to him. I had also helped this guy a lot, tremendously helped him.

It was in this month of July where I had a bad month and he asked for his money back, and I was already having a really bad month. Not only were sales not going up, I had a return. So that was a breaking point for me.  I just had this thing snap in my head and I said, I’m not going to let this guy or anybody else take my business from me. This is crazy. I said, this is totally unacceptable. I’ve been having trouble closing. Now I’ve got this guy doing this thing.

I remember I even took my hand, and I’m not a physically aggressive guy, I’m not a big gym rat even…but I remember I just slammed the table right with my hand when I got off the phone. I remember at the time Amanda saw that because she was in the other room, she heard it. I never do that unless I’m messing around with someone or whatever. But I was actually upset. I took that anger as fuel and the next two days I think I got five new clients in two days, called everybody back I possibly could, went insane. Every person I called back, I said, “Hey, I thought of you today. And you know, when I look back over the last six months of all the people I’ve spoken to, I feel like honestly I can help you more than almost everybody else I’ve talked to. And so I wanted to call you today and see if you wouldn’t reconsider working with me.” Signed up five people in two days. That guy that asked for that return, six months later, he called me and apologized, offered to pay for that thing again.

Now, two years later, I talked to him three hours ago. He’s one of the top clients in the history of this business in terms of his results and in terms of his investment with us. So the point in that story is that you want to take adversity as fuel. When something bad happens, you need to figure out a way to turn it into the best story you have. I first learned how to do this from a guy, Dave Ramsey, who went bankrupt at 26. He has a company that does $150 million a year in sales today built on that story, built on the fact that he went bankrupt, aged 26. He helps people get out of debt. That’s the way to turn your greatest weakness in life into a strength.

Most people just let these things cripple them, be it a bad month in sales or bankruptcy. How do you take your greatest weakness and turn it into your greatest strength and the core of what it is that you do? Now obviously you had a bad sales month, right? So does that need to like, “Oh my gosh, now I need to like make this the story of my entire life?” No, because it’s not that big of a problem, but you need to get crazy and you need to figure out a way to get crazy. You need to get out and figure out a way to get on the phone and, if you’ve got access to this deck and you are not using it—that’s your biggest problem. You’ve had it for awhile now you’ve got to do it and you gotta do it today.

Best tips for accountants, Ashley also asks, how can I explain to prospects what a tax plan is?

I tend to walk them through what it is and the result, but they don’t really seem to understand it. I talked to a guy today, and he’s like, “yeah, I only asked for a tax plan one time and I asked for $4,500 and the guy took it, and I have never done it since.” It’s not easy to sell psychologically, but it is very easy to sell once you actually do it. All people are all sorts of afraid, right?

Best tips for accountants, Brian asks, can you please thoroughly define value? I define it as ROI, but I’m interested to know what you define it as.

When I think about the value…so there’s the value of money, right? That’s great if we can help them make or save money. There’s the time, can we help them save time? Or if there’s just some emotional anxiety that we can do. Like those are really some really key ways that I was thinking about finding value, because you can’t always get to money. You can’t always get the time, and you know, it’s good to do the emotional side too. 

So I had a question recently where the client is making $980,000 a year, but they’re losing money every year because their personal finances are out of control. So that’s more about a behavioral change to help them make more money. There’s all sorts of things that are accountability and so on. So if you can make somebody a lot of money, if you can save them a lot of money, if you can save them a lot of time, if you can reduce emotional anxiety of something that they’re doing, all of those things can be used. And actually I’ve got a training  that talks about it, it’s a process called value extraction. We’re actually putting together a spreadsheet where I go through and show you how to map out time, money, emotion, and how to quantify those to create an idea of how much value you’re providing.

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