Note: A summary of this event was initially published on CPA Practice Advisor.
Many accounting firms still struggle to expand their practice and sustainably increase profits. On November 17, AccountantsWorld presented an event designed to cut through the clutter and offer unique growth strategies and tools – straight from one of the foremost thought leaders on growth in the world.
In this exclusive event, business and marketing guru Jay Abraham showed how to leverage factors WITHIN a firm for exponential growth. Jay introduced his proprietary concept of strategic preemptive marketing, and demonstrated via case studies and actionable insights how this concept can help accelerate a firm’s growth. Jay then brought on stage three special guests, each with distinct expertise in leadership, client management, and understanding millennial employees. And finally, Jay took questions from the audience to help accountants work therough their specific issues and opportunities.
Here’s a recap of this one-time-only event.
Dr. Chandra Bhansali
Chandra Bhansali, CEO of AccountantsWorld, kicked off the event by introducing his company’s new initiative and mission: “Raise your value, raise your relevance”. Dr. Bhansali explained that this initiative crystalizes AW’s long-standing focus on empowering accountants to take back control of their core services (particularly accounting and payroll), so that they can boost the value of their firm, as well as the value they deliver to clients. In 2018, AccountantsWorld will extend its range of offerings beyond existing cloud-based software solutions, and offer more support, services, and training for forward-thinking accountants.
“Developing your soft skills is going to be as critical to your firm’s future success as your technology choices,” stated Dr. Bhansali. “Today’s event with Jay represents the launch of our commitment to provide firms with everything they need to grow their relevance in a rapidly changing landscape.”
In the course of 3+ hours, Jay covered a wide range of topics related to both organizational and personal growth. Here’s a sampling:
- Working away from being a commodity
- The goal of an accountant is to be seen by their market as the only viable choice , the most trusted advisor. The goal they need to be working away from is being a commodity.
— Rita Keller (@cpamanagement) November 17, 2017
- The importance of thinking differently, and the power of thinking unconventionally
- Train yourself constantly to be more expansive with your thinking
- Always consider your client relationships in an opportunistic way
- Thought exercise: what if your practice or your client’s biz were an investment fund? Would you buy it?
- Think of the market you are targeting and the market your clients are targeting
- Know your clients’ long term goals
- A series of stories that exemplified the range of hidden opportunities available to every firm
- An accountant’s problem may be someone else’s solution
- Access people that have access to the market you want to be in, then gain their trust and then get them to endorse you. It doesn’t matter what industry they reside in, as long as they understand your market and match your passion and trust.
- Focus on making investments that deliver quantifiable ROI.
- The importance of A/B type testing with your methods
- Maximize and multiply – uncover an opportunity, test your way to optimizing that opportunity, and then find a multiplier
- The importance of variation. The same growth strategy applied over and over will p
— AccountantsWorld (@PowerAccountant) November 17, 2017
- Jay’s 5 aspects of maximizing a business:
- Multiply income
- Create far better income
- Ethically exploit windfall income, opportunities internally and externally
- Achieve monster-size psychic emotional wealth
- Position your practice and your clients business at the maximum value and worth possible
- An accountant’s job is not to practice numbers
- To grow, thrive and prosper, accountants have to transcend their basic functions and become a true advisor. That means someone who collaborates with clients and looks at their businesses in a holistic, proactive manner – and commands far greater compensation for it.
Panel with Ramit Sethi and Phillip Stutts
Next, Jay brought on stage two experts on people optimization, especially as it relates to millennials. Ramit Sethi is author of the New York Times bestseller, “I Will Teach You To Be Rich,” and writes for more than 1 million readers on his websites, GrowthLab.com and IWT.com. And Phillip Stutts is Founder and CEO of Go BIG Media, Inc., an award-winning media firm, as well as a regular contributor on news networks on topics such as politics, business and digital media.
- Optimization: Getting your practice working harder for you than you work for it.
- When connecting with millennial clients, it’s best to connect with them in person. Learn about what their friends do and like, what they enjoy reading and where they’re learning from in order to better understand them.
- For accountants interested in attracting millennial clients, it’s important to show them what your accounting firm does in a meaningful way. Rather than listing your portfolio of services (e.g. banking and budgeting, compliance experts, etc.), talk about how you used your expertise to help clients (e.g. turned a struggling startup into a thriving business with better management of the business’ financial needs).
- Be technically excellent but show it in a way that resonates with millennials.
- A good way to test your messaging is by hiring a journalist who works for millennial-centric publications (the Muse, Buzzfeed, etc.) and work with them to put your messaging into a language for millennials.
A conversation with Blair Lacorte
Blair LaCorte is a leading business strategist with a passion for purpose-driven organizations. Blair has led and transformed companies in six different industries, and currently invests in small- to mid-sized companies through LaCorte Ventures.
Jay and Blair discussed how to effect change in your clients and your organizations.
- No one cares about how smart you are unless they know that you care about them.
- All of your professional and personal connections rely on you putting energy back INTO them. The amount of energy is proportional to the amount of trust earned.
— pamelacdevine (@pamelacdevine) November 17, 2017
More from Jay
- Client service:
- Giving more than you take
- Always be growing
- Talk to clients – the definition of client service lives in their heads, not in yours. What matters to them specifically?
- Be relevant to yourself before you can be relevant to your clients.
- Service needs to be embedded into everything you do
- Show clients connections that are profound and impactful for them. Surprise and delight them by delivering value in unexpected areas.
Three ways to grow a business:
- Remember the Diving Board Philosophy: relying on one marketing approach will inevitably lead to a decline over time.
- So how do you diversify?
— AccountantsWorld (@PowerAccountant) November 17, 2017
- For most firms, the greatest way to grow your practice is by growing your client base
- People buy results, benefits, education and protection. They don’t buy features.
- Understand customer lifetime value.
- Optimize your service based on the customers who drive the most value for your firm (loyal clients who are more likely to offer referrals, testimonials, case studies, etc.)
- With new clients who are referred, you have to build trust and walk through several “trust levels” in order to build a strong relationship. Trust-building is automatically bypassed with new clients who are referred.
- Integrate and secure new business that’s a blend of lifetime value-based clients and short-term clients to boost and sustain cash flow.
- If there are certain elements you can guarantee, it’s easier for people to say yes
- The more risk you can take away, the more you can help put clients at ease and become successful
- Be an advisor to transform their business
- The greatest gift to help you add value is by helping them add value.
AI and Automation
- AI will help accountants who are able to leverage predictive analytics. The capabilities allowed through automation in tandem with the advanced analytics achievable through AI will prove to help accountants leverage real time and historical data to best advise their clients.
- This further solidifies accountants’ position as a trusted advisor and partner (service model accounting over transactional model of accounting) and will increase client stickiness, as they will grow to expect these insights to inform their business decisions.
Personalization and Value
Jay closed the event with a re-definition of the value that successful accountants will provide in the future.
- Clients are capable of doing their own accounting through DIY software. What will interest clients in the future won’t be an accountant’s ability to “crunch the numbers,” but their unique ability to offer insights and advice for growing the business.
- Accountants must go out of their way to get to know their clients and prioritize learning key insights about their personal and professional lives. Become trusted allies for your clients and they’ll be much more reluctant to reevaluate the relationship.
— Chandra Bhansali (@CBhansali) November 20, 2017