Building the Pipeline for your Firm

Money _umbrellaMost of us don’t like to have to go out and sell – partly because it makes us feel like we are “asking” for money.  In my last Rainmaking blog, I asserted that it’s hard to ask for money and that theme continues to resonate.  But what if asking for money were easier?  What if it didn’t have to seem like asking for money?  What if asking your clients to assist them with their tax, accounting and finance needs just seemed like an ordinary part of the conversation?

As accountants, many of us want to be valued by our clients because we are technically competent and trusted business advisors.  But we don’t like to have to sell to them. And we certainly hate the thought of cold calling – it doesn’t really work in our businesses anyway!   As partners or owners of firms, we understand that we must bring in business to survive, but younger staff members may not truly get that message – either because they simply don’t like to sell or because they are not receiving guidance from their supervisors. And we can all feel a little bit guilty about that.  Yet, in order to build thriving CPA practices (or other professional services firms in general), we must be able to have the selling conversation with our staff so that they begin to add those skills. It begins largely with focusing on our existing clients and how we can provide additional value-added services to them. Here are some suggestions:

Continue reading “Building the Pipeline for your Firm”

It’s Hard Asking People For Money

monika_strides_mcAsk people some of their least favorite things to do (at least professionally) – and you’re likely to get some familiar responses – public speaking, firing an employee (or a client), getting into confrontation, and selling!  And selling professional services often tops that list – even for salespeople.

When I was in high school, I worked at an ice cream shop.  What a great job.  I got to serve ice cream, make sundaes and banana splits, shakes, and ice cream cakes and pies.  I was on the giving end of happiness.  And people on the other side of the counter were happy to be there. I didn’t have to worry about selling much because people were already in the store to be happy!  But one day our store manager asked us all to attend a sales training seminar.  I was 18 and remember the pitch like it was yesterday – it was called SMASH – “Sell More and Sell High” –and they were talking about ice cream.  What did they want us to do as high schoolers pitching ice cream?  Turn a single scoop into a double, or a small shake into a large shake.  Ask customers if they wouldn’t rather have a waffle cone for a small extra charge.  Inquire about upcoming birthdays and sell a cake or pie.  So, even in the ice cream store, where happiness was already built in and people already were going to buy something, there was an opportunity to offer them more happiness, and more profit for the store. Maybe that’s when I truly became an entrepreneur!

Continue reading “It’s Hard Asking People For Money”