TFYW#047 Triple Your Margins By Turning Your Services Into Offers

Aug 4, 2023

This week I get into how to 3X your engagement profit margins by changing how you communicate your value.

But first –


Today’s Tactic

Much of Jeff Bezos’ innovation has been attributed to the ‘Institutional Yes.’

The Institutional Yes added cloud servers and data storage to Amazon’s retail flagship in 2006.

Today, Amazon Web Services (AWS) maintains a 44% market share in cloud storage and is arguably the reason Amazon is profitable as a company.

The Institutional Yes directly opposes the innovation killer, the Institutional No.

When someone puts a new idea forward, leadership often responds with “Yes, but…” which is another way of saying no.

It is an institutional (faceless) way to say no, pointing to established norms or ideas as justification without giving a real reason.

Example:

The firm leader’s response seems justified. I have heard and said similar justifications numerous times.

Conversely, the Institutional Yes changes the initial response to “Yes, and…” which makes everyone lean into the idea to test its validity.

If you want to innovation in your firm, look at how you respond to your team.

The Institutional Yes invites leadership to lead with questions and innovation instead of assumptions and ego.


Turning Services Into Offers

Typical comments I see on LinkedIn include:

“People don’t understand what we do!”

“Clients don’t value our services!”

Many accountants blame clients or prospects for not valuing their services but do nothing to bridge that knowledge gap.

 

If you don’t remember anything else from this week’s newsletter, remember this:

 

It is not up to the client to discover our value proposition. It’s on us.

 

Everything we do while we advise (AND SELL to) our clients is distilled down to education.

Clients are not stupid and cheapskates; they make decisions based on their understanding and experience. Most times, they simply don’t understand.

Prospects and clients don’t know what accountants can do and the value they can offer.

Honestly, at times, we struggle with what we do and the value we offer.

One thing that can help you better understand and articulate your value is to turn your services into an offer.

By defining and shaping what you do, you can package your services at a higher price.

Communicating Value

Learning how to explain your value is crucial for creating an offer.

Explaining your value is a mix between communication and selling, both of which accountants shrink away from.

Sure, we can explain the difference between straight-line and declining balance amortization methods, but ultimately that doesn’t impact most clients.

My intent is not to undermine the importance of what we do but rather focus on the value of what we do.

Many accountants and bookkeepers pound the desk about the importance of clean books. But few explain the value and direct benefit of clean books for clients.

Protip: Start posting or writing regularly about the value you offer. You will stumble around a bit, but you will start thinking differently about what you do and its impact on your clients.

We demonstrate value by illuminating the applicability and relevance of your service.

  • Applicability is the matching of client characteristics.
  • Relevance is the matching of their problems.

As an example, a firm can take the position that it works with contractors. For the prospect, the applicability score is low, and the relevance score is nil.

There is not enough detail in stating ‘we work with contractors’ to spark interest or action.

A better position would be a firm that working with multi-crew plumbing companies, with decreasing margins as revenue increases.

Once you’ve achieved applicability and relevance, you want to package it to formalize the offer.

Packaging a service includes:

A Name – Naming your service turns it into a solution. Leverage the transition you help clients grow through as the name of your offer. I love the example at sbstandard.com, an accounting and advisory firm for craft breweries.

A quote from their website:

“Our contention is, that despite the challenges, there is a path forward for those who are willing to walk it. We call this, the Pro vs. Amateur Separation.”

A Goal – Defining the end result for the client makes it tangible. Reaching goals and milestones shows your offer’s ROI and proves your value.

For the multi-crew plumbing company, the goal is consistent margins for all current and future crews.

A Timeline – Businesses with pronounced seasonality, like retailers, know the importance of timing. Other businesses have unique timelines, like when they want to open a new location or when the owner wants to retire.

Placing offers within their timelines reinforces its urgency and skyrocketing relevance.

The more you define the offer, the more narrow the prospect pool becomes.

And THAT IS OK.

An offer that we think is valuable to everyone is valuable to no one.

Your offer should appear in multiple places with slight variance to balance intent with format.

Social Headlines + Bios – Keep it short and simple. Speak to ideal clients and problems. When scrolling social media, prospects are usually in a different mindset than reading lengthy descriptions. The headlines are only invites for a deeper dive.

Paid Ads + Lead Magnets – These are for cold prospects and are the initial introduction to your firm. The prospect has taken action and shown intent to learn more. Doubling down on the problem and associated pain increases their receptiveness to your offer.

Website – The prospect has taken action to seek you out. You can leverage more of a journey approach to lay out every offer component. Adding detail, testimonials, and case studies will solidify the offer value.

Discovery Call – This is an in-depth opportunity to align your offer to their situation. It is a dynamic conversation to actively overcome obstacles and justify the higher prices.

Each is a step towards making the prospect aware of their problem and positioning your offering as the solution.

Build The Firm You Want.

Mark

 

P.S. Email Mark@FirmNexus.com with something that you want me to talk about. I’ll add it to the list. 

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