This week, I am going to get into the three key systems to scale you firm. Certainty around growth depends on these systems.
But first –
Unfortunately, at times the value received does not match the value perceived. When this happens, clients discount what we do.
So how do we decrease the gap between reality and perception?
Alex Hormozi created a value equation to help us understand the components of what clients perceived as valuable.
The numerator is what we focus on. We deliver the right outcome with 100% achievement. As accountants, we’re geared for precisely that.
We know a valuable tax return is 100% compliant. A valuable set of Financials are 100% accurate. We think our value is in the ‘What’ we deliver through our service.
However, most of us miss the value detractors in the equation (see denominator). As service providers, if we drop the ball of the ‘How’ we deliver the service, the perceived value drops off a cliff.
Time Delay: If a tax return is fully compliant and saves a client $2,500 but takes two months to complete, we reduce the perceived value.
Effort and Sacrifice: If we deliver a clean set of Financials but send 15 emails of questions to the client, we cut the perceived value in half.
A large denominator chips away at the initial value.
The value would be infinite if we could reduce the time and effort required to zero. Any number divided by zero equals infinity.
Now I know a 0-day turnaround and 0 level of client effort are impossible, but the idea of addressing the process is essential.
For tax returns or financial statements, reduce the value detractors with:
- Twice weekly automated updates for clients to bridge the time to complete a return. I’ve never heard of an accountant that overcommunicates.
- A thorough onboarding and data collection process from a mobile device reduces the client’s efforts. People invest millions of dollars from their phones. Surely they can work with their accountant the same way.
We need to manager the ‘How’ along side the ‘What’.
The term ‘scalable’ gets thrown around quite a bit. I am guilty of it.
In fact, part of my tagline is helping accountants build ‘connected, scalable’ firms.
Why can’t we say that we’re ‘building’ a firm? The term Scaling can come off a bit pretentious.
However, I’ve found differences between ‘scaling’ and ‘building’ a firm, and it involves one main idea: Sustainable Speed.
I like to break down sustainable speed into two main components:
- Effective – Focus solely on actions that move you towards the core goal
- Efficient – Minimize the resources to reach the goal
Next, firms, as entities, don’t scale. But the individual systems that makeup firms will determine whether the firm is scalable.
This is how I like to break down the individual systems of any firm:
For a firm to grow quickly, the following systems must be scalable in this order:
This order is critical for new firms looking to grow as well as established firms looking to transition.
The truth is, firms rarely maximize their scaled fulfilment systems because their marketing and selling systems are never optimized.
Scalable Marketing Systems
Effectiveness is defined as doing the right thing. What defines something as right or wrong? For effectiveness to exist, there has to be an associated goal.
Without a clear goal, every action you take will be wrong.
Your clear goal for your marketing system is to identify your ideal client and move them into your selling system.
You’ll have to decide the following:
- Offline/ Online
- Size of company (Annual revenues/ Headcount)
- The largest problems they encounter
- The channels they frequent the most
If you don’t have these nailed down, your marketing will be ineffective and unscalable.
Marketing takes investment. Testing and ongoing refinement are needed. Your selling and fulfilment systems will uncover nuggets and problems to refine your message and market position.
Efficiency is doing the right things as quickly and resourcefully as possible.
As a busy firm owner, you can leverage either Find (outbound) or Attract (inbound) marketing.
If you have cash and less time, focus on Find marketing. This creates cold leads with a lower conversion rate.
If you have time and less cash, focus on Attract marketing. This creates warm leads with a better conversion rate.
Your marketing system is more science than art, so it’s crucial to test your message. Outbound paid ads get you immediate feedback. I recommend some message testing before investing in a sizeable outbound campaign.
Efficient marketing includes a feedback loop to refine as you move along.
Scalable Selling Systems
The right things in your selling system will have ideal clients signing core service engagement letters at higher levels of fees.
When your marketing system works, it will feed prospects into your selling system.
Selling systems have:
- Qualifying/ vetting forms – Ensure only ideal clients can book calls.
- Scripted diagnostic discovery call process – Don’t wing sales calls.
- Tiered value pricing – Offer an increase in value, not volume, in your tiers.
Each step qualifies the clients and maximizes the value you can deliver.
While we can automate most of the selling system, you must get in front of prospects during the discovery call.
If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:
A selling system that identifies the client’s problem (that they will pay large amounts of money to fix) will be the ticket to getting everything you want inside and outside your firm.
Automation is the key here.
When your marketing feeds clients into your sales system, you will need an automated nurture campaign with ample calls to action that quickly directs them to book a call.
Here are two slides from my signature program:
If you want to discuss how this funnel could be installed in your firm, click here.
After the call is booked, there must be a proposal delivery process and value-add follow-up sequence.
There are fortunes in the follow-up.
Scalable Fulfilment Systems
The right things are completing the scoped services in your engagement agreement.
Your selling system should outline what is and isn’t involved in your engagement.
Scope creep is a significant issue in firms looking to keep clients happy.
Happy clients need ultra-clear expectations upfront.
When expectations are met, there is minimal emotional impact. When expectations are not met, it is catastrophic.
It is harder to scale your firm if your clients don’t pay for everything you do
Efficiency in your fulfilment system could take another seven newsletters for comprehensive attention, but the keys are:
People and Processes
You must train and match people to work for their skill and ability levels. One person should not handle an engagement alone from beginning to end. Trained and incentivized people are a firm’s cheat code to efficiency.
Processes are the combination of tech and workflows. Tech is not a silver bullet when it comes to efficiency. It is a tool in a series of events needed to complete the work.
A process is only as fast as the slowest bottleneck. A scalable fulfilment system knows where the bottlenecks are and addresses them first.
If it wasn’t apparent, scalable systems are interconnected, and each plays a role in sustainable firm growth.
If you’re not getting the traction you want in, I am 100% confident that one of these systems is not getting the attention it needs.
The tech conversation today is about a less sexy topic, but it can hold the power to impact your firm significantly.
I wrote off Facebook for most of the time I ran my firm. It was gimmicky and not a ‘professional’ marketing channel.
The thing is, we don’t get to decide where our prospects hang out.
Despite the negative publicity and apparent disapproval, Facebook is still the biggest player in the social media space.
Facebook needs to be part of any accounting firm’s marketing system and strategy. The value of FB is that your prospects still check their feed consistently, and the algorithm has 100 to 150 data points on each of them.
At the moment, it is still the best audience consolidator online.
Build The Firm You Want.