This is the first in a series of posts from Jay Abraham, one of the world’s leading business and marketing gurus. As Founder and CEO of Abraham Group, Inc., Jay has spent his entire career solving problems and fixing businesses. He has significantly increased the bottom lines of over 10,000 clients in more than 400 industries worldwide.
All of the content in this Paving the Way To Your Success series is brought to you exclusively by AccountantsWorld, as part of our ongoing mission to help you maximize the value and relevance of your accounting firm.
In this post, Jay guides you through laying the foundation for greater growth and profitability. Click here to read the full series so far.
WELCOME TO A SIMPLER AND MORE PROFITABLE ACCOUNTING FIRM
I want you to achieve every single dream of incredible greatness, abundant wealth, immense success and exuberant happiness you have ever allowed yourself to dream – plus exponentially more! I’m convinced you deserve to play the game of business by your own rules. As long as you’re operating with integrity and your product or service offers superior quality and value, you deserve to be as successful and fulfilled as you want to be in your firm or professional practice. Whether you want to achieve dramatic financial growth over the next few months, or put an end to those 14-16-hour days so you can have more time with your family and friends—or both—/ know I can help you.
What You Can Expect From Me
I’m approaching my relationship with you in the same way I would approach a consultation with any other client who pays me $10,000 per hour—first, by letting you know what you can expect from me, then explaining what I hope from you. (Note: this is for YOUR benefit alone! I only have your BEST and HIGHEST POTENTIAL in mind. I understand you may be hesitant, possibly comparing my context with others in world who claim to be experts or “Gurus.” I get it. I ask you to step out on faith, either way, I only want your best and highest outcome for YOU!) I’m going to devote myself to you and your enterprise just as I would with a client. The first thing I want to do for you is to de-mystify how to grow your business or professional practice. I’m here to give you the simple knowledge, skills, and strategies you need to design your firm to give you exactly what you want.
So, what do you want for your CPA firm? Do you have a clear vision? If you do, that’s great! But if you don’t, we’re going to work together to help you clarify your vision, so you’ll know exactly what direction to take to get from where you are to where you want to be. This means having the sales you want, the income you’re looking for, the security you’re after, and the personal fulfillment I know you deserve. And here’s the best news—it’s not hard! Actually, it’s fun and easy. That’s what you can expect from me.
What I Expect From You
For you to accomplish your objectives with this program, obviously, you have to do your part.
So, first of all…
I. I expect you to trust me. I’ve been able to help thousands of others, so I know what I have to offer will work for you.
II. I Expect you to commit yourself. Take it one step at a time and follow through consistently on what I ask you to do throughout this blog series…
It’s up to you, of course, to complete the questionnaires and “assignments”—it may take a little time and sometimes a little effort—but the payoff will be more than worth it!
I am at a point in my life where I am more interested in spreading knowledge, than only increasing my wealth. (If you are older, you may understand this, if you are younger, you may think I am crazy!) Either way… the accounting industry, you, are on my heart, and my personal goal it to help 1 million accountants to increase their revenue, and dramatically and exponentially expand their business, and go beyond anything they could have even hoped for or imagined!
Here Is the Simple Foundation We’re Going to Build Upon
There are only three ways to grow your accounting practice or CPA firm. You can:
1. Increase your number of customers or clients. This is where almost everybody focuses almost all their attention. But the second and the third ways are actually where you have the greatest potential for leverage and growth. The second way is to…
2. Increase your average transaction value. This simply means increasing the amount of the sale and the amount of profit that sale produces for you…
3. Increase your frequency of purchase. This means you get more residual value from each customer or client. You get them to come back more often to buy more products or services from you.
Most people don’t realize that the cost of acquiring a customer is substantial, while the cost of selling them more or selling them more often is significantly less. More about this later.
Please answer each of the questions in the survey.
Now, let’s go on to a very important survey I have for you…
What initially got me started in my accounting firm (what motivation, occurrence, etc.)?
When I first started, where did my customers come from (what process, method or action did I use)?
Why did customers originally buy from me?
Why do customers buy from me now?
What primary method of generating customers was used to build my firm?
Which of my marketing or sales efforts brought in the bulk of my sales/clients? What percentage of my business comes from this?
How well-connected or how involved am I with my customers at the sales or transaction level (do I still sometimes take orders, or sell, or follow-up)?
What ongoing sales efforts do I personally perform today? How do these functions differ from those I performed when I started my firm?
Where do my customers come from specifically (demographics)?
What do I believe my greatest single competitive advantage is?
What aspect of my CPA firm, product or service am I most proud of?
If I had a magic wand, would I rather attract more new customers or garner more money from my existing customers and why?
Who else benefits from my success; excluding my customers, my employees and my family members?
How many of my suppliers would be motivated to help me grow my business more because it will directly benefit them at a very high level? Who are they?
When I create a new customer for my firm or profession, who else have I indirectly created a new customer for?
General Marketing Information
Who is my target market and how did I arrive at it?
Describe what my accounting firm does completely (what I sell, how I sell it, and who I sell to by industry, commercial category or specific niche).
What is my business philosophy as it relates to my customers?
How have my methods for doing business, or the product or service line(s) I market changed since the inception of my accounting firm?
What is my vision for my firm for the next:
● 6 months
● 1 year
● 3 – 5 years
● 10 years and beyond
What or where is my biggest opportunity that will help me achieve this vision?
What is my greatest strength, and is it consistent with this opportunity?
What are my sales per employee? Is that above, below, or equal to my industry average and what are the steps I am taking (or going to take) to improve it?
What is the “lifetime value” of my typical customer (i.e. How much revenue will he/she generate for me over the entire period he/she does business with my firm)?
What is the biggest customer complaint about my CPA firm, and how does my firm address this problem?
What is my Unique Selling Proposition or USP (why do my customers buy from me – what is it about my product and/or service that distinguishes me from my competition? I may have more than one for different product/service lines or segments of my firm.)?
Is my USP a consistent theme in all of my marketing and sales efforts? If yes, how, and if no, why not?
Briefly describe my marketing program or marketing mix (all the different types of marketing I use and how they interrelate – i.e. yellow pages, spot advertisements, direct mail, direct sales, telemarketing, etc.).
Who are my biggest competitors and what do they offer that I do not?
What steps do I take to offset their advantage? Are they working? If not, what needs to be changed?
What is my competition’s biggest failing, and how do I specifically fill that void?
Do I use direct response marketing concepts (those designed to induce an immediate and measurable response)? If no, why not?
How much of my time each month do I devote to marketing?
Do I have a marketing director? If so, describe his/her primary responsibilities and duties:
Do I have a written marketing plan that I adhere to? If so, explain it:
Is the plan based on a fixed budget number (i.e. $10,000 per month in the newspaper), or is it a variable percentage of sales?
What do my customers really want (be specific, don’t just answer “a quality product or service”)? How do I know?
Do customers buy from me exclusively or do they also patronize my competitors? What steps can I take to get the main portion of their business?
Do I provide incentive bonuses to my employees for creating new and better marketing methods for my accounting firm? Explain.
What’s my market potential (universe) and my current share of that market?
What are the top 5 ways I have used to attain my existing customers (from best to worst)?
What does it cost me to get a new customer (i.e. if I ran an advertisement that cost $1,000 and I attained two new customers, my cost would be $500)?
What are the average sales and profits generated from a new customer in the first year, and how is that information useful in my overall marketing strategy?
What is my biggest and best source of new business, and am I doing everything possible to secure this business? If no, why not?
What has been my biggest marketing success to date (defined as a specific promotion, advertising campaign, telemarketing script, etc.) and am I still using it?
What is my biggest marketing problem or challenge today? Describe it in its entirety as candidly and direct as possible, including personal, financial, and transactional implications it may impose.
How many better ways could I reduce the risk of a transaction, lower the barrier of entry or reduce the hurdle for my customer, client or patient to make it easier for that person to do business with me?
After the initial sale, are there systematic, formal methods I use to communicate and resell my customers? If so, what are they? If not, should there be?
Do I have a systematic back-end (selling my own or others products to existing customers)? Describe how it works:
What problems does my product or service solve for the customer? Describe my customer’s needs and the positive results my product/service provides?
Do I have an adequate supply of customer testimonials, and is there a system in place for their capture? Are they written, on audio-tape or video-tape, and how are they used in my marketing?
In what ways, if any, are the testimonials dramatic, dynamic, and compelling to others?
Describe the best specific achievement I have produced for one of my customers.
Do I actively solicit referral business? If so, how does it work, and if not, why not?
Have I ever tried to reactivate my former customers and non-converted prospects? Explain:
Have I ever tried selling my non-converted prospects to my competitors? Explain:
Do I make consistent efforts to communicate with and educate my customers about what my company is doing to help them? How formal, informal, or systematic is the process?
In what ways do I try to up-sell and/or cross-sell my customers?
Are there other ways or different products/services I could be selling but am not?
Do I need to make money on first-time buyers, or am I satisfied with only making it on the back-end (reorders)? Explain:
Does 80% of my sales come from 20% of my customers? What are the implications of my particular ratios?
Do I ever barter my products, services or assets with other companies in exchange for their products, services or assets? Explain how it works:
Have I used bonuses in my sales/marketing propositions? If so, how did it affect the response?
What kind of guarantee or warranty do I give my customers, and how does it compare with my competitors or with the accounting industry at large?
What is my customer attrition rate?
Is that normal for the accounting industry?
If it’s too high, what do I think is the reason?
If it’s lower than average, why?
How can my customer attrition rate be improved (be specific)?
If I have a sales force, how are they compensated?
Do I have a sales manager? Describe his/her duties and objectives, and how they coincide and fit with the overall marketing strategy.
Have I tried different types of compensation programs? How did they affect sales?
If I use another direct sales firm (independent sales reps, dealers, manufacturers reps) have I ever compared the results to an inside or outside sales force?
How do I capture the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all my customers and prospects? Do I use them in my marketing programs?
What is my selling season, if any, and am I actively looking to sell other complimentary products or services during the slower periods? If so, how do they interrelate?
What is my gross and net income per salesperson? What are methods I can use to improve it?
How much time do I personally devote to sales or sales people?
What is my average order amount, and what are the steps I can take to increase it?
Do I do anything at the point of sale to increase the order or add on other products or future products or services (up-sell)? If so, what?
How much professional sales training have I had, and what type of training do I offer my salespeople (both junior and senior)?
How long does it take me to fill an order after I receive it, and if I improved it would it have a dramatic effect on my sales?
Is “buyer’s remorse” a problem for my customers, and, if so, how do I overcome it?
Do my customers feel my customer service department is prompt and courteous? Explain why or why not:
Are my ads working? How do I know?
Do I use two-step advertising (i.e. step one generates qualified leads, step two converts those leads to customers)? If so, describe it.
What’s my conversion ratio (in others words, out of every “x” leads I get “y” customers or sales), and what are the different techniques I have used to improve it?
What is my advertising cost per sale (i.e. when I run an ad that costs $1,000, I generate S’V of sales)? Have I tested different approaches to increase this number?
Do I use a conversion kit (a package of follow-up materials) to convert prospects to sales? If so, describe it. If not, describe the steps I take to convert a prospect.
Do I test the different aspects of my advertising? What do I test?
Copy? Offer? Price? Illustrations? Media? Headline? Size? Publication position?
If so, what did my tests tell me that I didn’t know before?
How much is the initial sale to a new customer worth?
How much prospecting mail do I drop each month? To whom, and why?
Do I use a list broker? If not, where do I get my names from?
Do I test the different aspects of my mailings? What do I test?
Copy? Offer? Price? Media? List? Headline?
What is the return on investment for my mailings, and how do I think it can be improved?
How often do I mail to my own list of customers?
How often does a typical customer buy from me?
Have I ever created proprietary concepts or ads or mailing pieces that could be sold or licensed to other businesses outside my marketing area? Explain:
Do I rent my customers names to other companies? If so, what were the results?
How do I use a public relations strategy to complement my marketing?
Just by completing this survey, you have placed yourself ahead of most of the accountants in the world—those who never take the time to think deeply about their firm, individuals (many of whom are your competitors) who spend so much time working “in” their firms that they never take the time to work “on” their firms.
I’m excited to help guide you as you work on your accounting firm!