Session #4 – Your Structured Business Coaching
Recap assignments from session 3
Did they attend Chamber function/networking event?
What did the conversations sound like
What were the results?
How many businesses did they speak to?
How many appointments did they set?
How many presentations did they give?
How many new clients do they have?
Analyze the results with them and coach on any weaknesses found
Assignments for this week are get and use Letters of Recommendation – Testimonials, to perform a benchmarking report for someone they met thru networking efforts or other marketing efforts. Give a presentation. Start with the pricing sheet. Then focusing on the importance of analyzing and consultation of financial reports/benchmarking report. At the end of the presentation be prepared to ask for the business. Let’s get you started!
Using Your Presentation Manual
Universal Accounting’s presentation manual, Accounting for Profit and Growth/Professional Portfolio, is an effective tool that will enhance your presentation results. Acting as a presentation outline, it will provide a visual representation of what you are saying in order to increase understanding for your prospective client.
The title is intended to draw attention to the fact that you are a Professional as well as a Profit and Growth Expert. The demonstration portfolio includes a colorful flipchart to accompany your presentation, and, if you enrolled in the Professional Bookkeeper course, it also contains a sample of financial statements from several businesses for which you performed the accounting. In addition, you will also have access to the Business Benchmarking Report sample.
This manual is designed to provide you with the opportunity to establish a higher level of credibility in your sales presentation while maximizing the perceived value of your services. It will also help you address and even preclude many objections and questions that prospective clients may raise.
Follow along with the instructions below in your presentation manual.
Before meeting with a prospective client, you should complete the Scope of Services worksheet in order to determine your client’s needs and calculate your monthly fee. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to give your presentation. First, take out your presentation manual so that your prospective client can see the cover. Give him/her a chance to glance at the title: Accounting for Profit and Growth/Professional Portfolio. You are ready to start your presentation.
“Mr. Client, I am excited about what we can do for your business, and I hope you will be too. First, I’d like you to know that I am not like other accountants.”
Open the manual to display the cover page of the presentation. As you can see, the title of the presentation cover page is Profit and Growth for You and Your Business. The subtitle, placed below the picture is, Decrease Taxes, Increase Profits, Optimize Cash Flow. Direct your prospect’s attention to the title page and say something to the effect of the following:
“Accounting is only a tool I use to help you achieve profit and growth for your business. I do this by focusing on three things: decreasing your taxes, increasing your profits and ensuring you have money in the bank when you need it to operate and grow your business. Would you like to achieve those goals?”
Try to punctuate each page with a question that elicits agreement from your prospective client. Turn the page to the graphic of the one-legged stool entitled Balanced for Growth? and say something like the following:
“Most small business owners are in this situation. They are perched precariously atop their business. As long as they are balancing everything perfectly, the business stands. If they ever get up or walk away from the business, it falls over. In fact, sometimes they feel like this guy, with the business strapped to their backsides; they can’t separate themselves from it. This may be typical, but it’s not conducive to profitability or growth. It usually leads to a situation where business owners feel overworked and underpaid. Have you ever felt that way?”
Would you like to experience a better model?”
Turn the page to the picture of the 3-legged stool entitled Balanced for Growth!, and say something like the following:
“This is a better model that allows your business to grow. You see, all businesses have three core areas of competence that are required for growth: Marketing, Production, and Accounting. Most small business owners come from one of these three areas, usually production, like you. Because their expertise lies in only one of these areas, they are unfamiliar with what is required to make the other two equally strong. But for a business to grow, it has to be strong in all three components. This allows the business to stand on its own and become an entity separate from the owner, allowing him/her freedom from the business. This also means the business is now working for the owner and not visa versa. What difference do you think it would make if your business was functioning at 100% in all three areas?”
Turn the page to the first Universal Business Model page and say something to the effect of the following:
“All three areas of the business need to be in sync and working from the same information toward a common goal. This model represents a business that is not well integrated, like most small businesses. Can you see that if these areas aren’t working together at 100%, your profitability is greatly limited?”
Turn the page to the second Universal Business Model page and say something like the following:
“Accounting is the key to ensuring that all three areas are working together. If I provide you with the financial information and tools necessary to make each area work at 100% capacity for your business, do you see that we will increase your profitability and grow your business?”
Turn to the Climb the Wisdom Pyramid page and say something to the effect of the following:
“I will take your raw financial data and generate information that will enable you to climb the wisdom pyramid. Right now, your accounting data is in disarray and not very useful to you. I want to transform that information so that it becomes valuable knowledge about your business. As I review that information with you more frequently, that knowledge will become wisdom, and you will be making profitable decisions about your business that will assure its growth. Can you see how studying your financial reports on a monthly basis can be more valuable to you than reviewing them just once a year like you do now?”
Turn the page to the Our Mission page and say something like the following:
“In fact, our mission is to provide you, the business owner, with valuable information intended to help you lower your taxes, increase your profits and optimize your cash flow. If we can significantly improve your business in each of these areas, what difference would that make to your business?”
The next several pages of the presentation focus on these three areas. Turn through these pages and get a feel for the organization:
- Reducing Taxes – 1 page only, 2 areas.
- Tax Planning
- Tax Preparation
- Increasing Profits – 4 pages.
- Income statement – what do we learn from this report?
- Balance sheet – what do we learn from this report?
- Key comparisons – putting the numbers in context
- Benchmarking reports – what do we learn from this report?
- Manage Cash Flow – 1 page only – cash flow strategies.
These pages allow you to demonstrate your expertise. As you go through these pages, be sure to do the following:
- Quantify the financial benefits. “By following these tax planning strategies, is it reasonable that we might cut at least 10% or about $25,000 off your tax payments each year?” or “In your case, you paid over $2000 in penalties and late fees last year. We could completely eliminate those penalties and fees!” The better you quantify the benefits and provide tangible calculations, the more reasonable your fee will appear later on.
- Qualify the financial benefits in time. “How soon would you like to start saving $2000 in expenses every month?” This will make it less likely for the prospective client to procrastinate a decision at the end of your presentation. Build URGENCY around receiving the benefits, not around paying the fee.
- Use samples that best represent their business. As you are presenting the value of the Income Statement, the Balance Sheet and other reports, use the samples closest to their business model. Show them what you are talking about by explaining some of the valuable report features. Become familiar with the samples so you can show any prospective client the very thing that would be most important to them. “Let me demonstrate what we can learn from the income statement by showing you a sample from another construction company.”
- Use questions that encourage agreement from prospective clients on each point you make: “Can you see how that would increase your profits in your business?” The strategy is to get them to say “yes” as many times as possible regarding the benefits of your services so that it is easier for them to say “yes” at the close of your presentation when you ask for their business.
Demonstrate your expertise and have fun showing them RELEVANT benefits you provide.
The final 3 pages of the presentation are benefit-summary pages. There are a lot of benefits listed and not all may apply. Review the ones that you think are MOST applicable to your prospective client and let them read the rest themselves so that they can appreciate the other points as well.
Turn to the Professional Consultation page. This page lists characteristics that elevate you beyond a mere clerk, positioning you as a trusted advisor and a profit and growth expert.
- Second set of eyes – There is great value is having someone review a company’s finances to ensure the data is accurate and correct. You are also more likely to catch things they have missed. This bullet is especially pertinent to those business owners managing the books themselves because they are weary of having anyone else involved. This gives you an opportunity to teach them why they MUST have someone else review their books. It’s a basic GAAP principle, isn’t it? Teach them the benefits.
- Second opinion – This item provides you with the opportunity to establish your role as an advisor. No one person can see all sides of an issue clearly, especially a business owner who is mired in his/her business. This makes is nearly impossible for an owner to be objective which is something you can easily be.
- Sounding board – This emphasizes the fact that as an advisor, one of your most important roles is to listen to and understand what the owner is trying to accomplish before providing that second opinion.
- Resource for the right answers – As far as managing the business using crucial accounting data, you are more likely to generate the necessary information to answer important financial questions than the business owner who may lack an accounting background and the industry connections you have. Remember that Universal Accounting is there for you as a source of information in finding answers to these important questions.
- Resource for connections in the business community – You are more than just an accountant who manages their books, but you are also connected with other businesses in the community who may have what your client needs or needs what your client offers. As you network effectively, you will meet many business owners and government service providers who comprise your network of client resources. This is an area that can make you invaluable to your clients.
- Saves you from your own desperation – Business owners are often placed in compromising positions where they are compelled to make decisions that solve short-term problems but have potentially devastating long-term consequences, like borrowing from the sales tax or payroll tax escrow account to meet payroll expenses. You can be the one that helps them slow down, take a deep breath, and explore options that will not compromise their business’s longevity.
Turn to the Accounting Pays You Back page. This page helps you review the quantifiable financial benefits that provide context for the flat monthly fee you will quote. The previous page listed some qualitative benefits; now it’s important to enumerate the quantitative payback.
- Opportunity cost – This is where you estimate the cost of NOT retaining your services, calculated in terms of the owner’s time, lost revenue opportunities and mistakes. If you haven’t already done so, calculate what managing the accounting costs them in time. Help prospective clients understand how easy it is for someone not formally trained in reading the financials to miss money-making opportunities that you are trained to find. Also, because you are focused on their finances, you will ensure that all payments are made on time, eliminating penalties and late fees, while avoiding other costly financial mistakes. Again, it’s important to align these benefits with actual numbers.
- Makes you and saves you money – Here you have the opportunity to review all the quantifiable financial benefits you discussed during the Decrease Taxes, Increase Profits and Optimize Cash Flow pages. Remind your prospect about the expenses, including taxes, that can be saved and redirected into more profitable activities, accelerating cash flow.
- What is your PEACE OF MIND worth? – This is where you demonstrate the ultimate intangible benefit: peace of mind. This is positioned after the quantifiable benefits so that you can use the “MasterCard” progression of value:
– possible expenses to save = $6700 per year
– possible increased revenue = $38,000 per year
– receivables collected = $8900
– late fees and penalties avoided = $2000 per year
– PEACE OF MIND = PRICELESS!”
- Working ON your business, not just IN your business – Now you and your prospective client can determine what must be done in order to move him/her from the one-legged stool strapped to his/her backside to the three-legged stool that will give him/her the freedom desired. This is your opportunity to discuss the big picture and indicate you are the one to help him/her evolve from a self-employed professional to an entrepreneur!
Turn to the Why Us? page. This is the final page and gives you one last opportunity to build value and differentiate yourself from other accountants before announcing your monthly fee and closing the deal.
- Convenient – Remind your prospect about pick-up, drop-off of book-work, and time saving, etc. Better yet, show him/her how convenient “cloud” accounting will be as you both work from the same file on the internet using online solutions, like QuickBooks, that maximize convenience.
- Accessible – Remind the prospective client that your flat monthly fee allows him/her to call you anytime during business hours (set boundaries so that you’re not getting calls at 7:00am on Sunday morning!) without incurring additional fees. You will be personally involved in his/her account.
- Affordable – Review the advantages of a flat monthly fee and automatic billing which enable you to keep pricing low and focus on priority tasks.
- Knowledgeable – Remind them that your PB, PTP, and QS certifications focus specifically on small-business entrepreneurial accounting. Share any other professional designations that may set you apart from the competition. Most importantly, let them know that you are also a profit and growth expert.
- Goal-oriented – Clarify that their goals are your goals. As their profit and growth expert, you will be using the accounting data and financial reports to gain knowledge and wisdom in order to help them achieve their business goals. The answers to their most pertinent business questions, and what should be done, are contained in the financial statements.
- Client-oriented – Relating to the preceding bullet, this point emphasizes the fact that their growth is your growth. You have every incentive to help them grow, because as they grow, so will their accounting needs and the amount of accounting work they need done, thus helping you grow your practice as well.
- Profit-oriented – You are a profit and growth expert; everything you do is intended to help them become more profitable.
- LET’S GET YOU STARTED! – This invitation beckons them from the moment you turn the page. As you move through the list of benefits on the previous pages and, again, on this one, you should recognize the buying signals your prospective clients convey. When you see them nod their heads, ask a question that affirms their interest in enjoying that benefit, like, “I can see that’s something you’re interested in enjoying, isn’t it?” The more you get them to agree with your questions and say, “yes”, the more you are programming them to say “yes” when they reach this final invitation.Review the benefits, quantifying those benefits that they’ve already agreed they want, and then say – “Sounds like we’ve found the perfect solution for you, haven’t we? And based on what you’ve told me you need to have accomplished, I can provide all that for a flat monthly fee of _________! So, LET’S GET YOU STARTED!”
By the end of this session the student should be realizing the importance of saying the right thing at the networking functions, by using the introductory presentation.They realize that they can get out and have real conversations with business owners by focusing on the principals of what they do for businesses.There has been a lot of efforts made on marketing by this point.The student should have a handful of prospects that we should be coaching them through the appointment/presentation stage by now.Very possibly, the student should have a client in the works.
Book recommendation is “Red to Black”
Set appointment for session 5