The 7 Reasons People Don’t Follow Through and What To DO About It

May 20, 2011

After working with hundreds of business owners and countless business coaches, I’ve found a common thread in all of them that stops people from following through on their word or plans.  Now most so called “experts” will tell you that its because of FEAR or Self Sabotage and that sort of thing.  But its really easier than that.  Fear and that sort of classic excuse is what people use to fall back on when they don’t really know the real reason people don’t follow through. 

To be very clear, I don’t share these things so that you can have a new set of excuses.  I share these things because once you know the ROOT cause for the behavior, you can get the proper prescription to help cure this problem.  But understanding the root cause (or psychology behind the actions) is essential in fixing the problem.  That said, here are the reasons I’ve found that are the most common. 

  1. Lack of understanding – What I often find is that people don’t know how to do some of the simplest tasks in their business.  Like getting their financials in order, putting together an email blast, writing a sales script, meeting with an employee, etc.  This lack of understanding quite often stops or at a minimum delays them from taking action and ultimately they will just get distracted by other things.
  2. Don’t know where to start – This is one of the first questions clients usually ask me…  “where do we start?”.  The reason is because even simple tasks usually have multiple moving parts.  And when you are making decisions in a business or even in a household for that matter, you have to consider other people and the impact of your decision on external forces.  So not knowing where to start will often stop people from ever starting at all.
  3. Overwhelmed with details – So let’s say someone understands what to do and even knows where to start… Some people get that far, but get bogged down in the details of how much there is to do and wanting it to be perfect.  Perfectionist are quite often only perfect at one thing…  Being late to the party.
  4. Lack of Value and Expectations – Here’s a massive one.  If someone doesn’t understand the value of doing something they just won’t do it or they will stop.  The classic example is the karate kid.  Young Danielson didn’t see any value in wax on, wax off.  He expected to learn karate not how to wax a car.  So he was very frustrated with the experience.  Now because it was a movie, he put up with the training (also because he had his coach watching over him all day).  But in real life, people just walk away from the task or never start it.  The other part of this one is expectations.  By taking on a task, you have to have expectations around it.  What do you want the outcome to be?  If you aren’t clear on the outcome it makes it hard to pursue the task.
  5. Priorities – A lot things happen in a business every day and knowing your priorities is very important.  This spills over from item 4, but realize if you don’t know the value and expectations of the task you are about to take on, it makes it hard to prioritize in your day.
  6. Out of control with their time – This is one of the ROOT causes I see a lot.  When I work with people I always look for ways to fine tune their schedule.  Even if they don’t ask for that…  Reason being is that this is often the first excuse… “I didn’t have enough time”.  And for that person — in that moment, that’s a fact.  So it has to be addressed.
  7. Stress – While this is just an excuse, stress is very real and often debilitating.  And it is often compounded by items 1 through 6 on this list not being answered for the individual and that ultimately creates more stress.  Stress is not only a distraction it can result in a depression and other paralyzing behavior that makes a person stop caring.

 9 things you can apply right away to overcome this…

  1. Make sure you set clear goals and objectives for each task you take on.  And if multiple people are involved, make sure they are CLEAR and can repeat it back to you.
  2. If assigning the task to a client, make sure they understand the task.  To do this, don’t just ask them if they understand, I ask them to explain it back to me so that I am SURE they understand.
  3. Have a clear starting point and milestones.  Getting started is the hardest part.  Once you get someone started, its much easier to direct them.  It also gets them involved and its hard to quit once you invest your time into something.
  4. Get them involved in the creative process.  Thanks to Brendon Burchard for this quote, “People support what they create”.  If you want someone enrolled in the process and to take ownership of it, get them to help create it.  You can’t just assign tasks to people, they need to be involved in coming up with the tasks.
  5. Get clear on the value of the task at hand.  Attach it to their goals and dreams and HOW this task plays a pivotal role in accomplishing those goals and dreams no matter how small a part it may be.  The bigger the task, the more time you need to invest in understanding the value.
  6. Set expectations…  Not just for the task, but what you expect will come from this short and long term.
  7. Be clear how important this task is.  If you need to, make a list of other things going on this week and rank where this task lands on that list.  Know how important it is.
  8. Get control of your time by making lists.  Break down tasks on your list by categories.  I have 3 categories.  The first is money making activities (represented by a $ sign), the second is client relationship activities (represented by a smiley face) and the third is just “stuff” (I don’t have a sign for that one).  Money making activities are first, followed by client relationship activities and then finally all other “stuff”. (My thanks to Mike Michalowicz – The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur for that one.)
  9. Talk about and deal with the stress.  It’s real and you have to deal with it.  Just addressing it can make a big difference.
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Why Should I Hire a Coach?

April 25, 2011

Quite often when I’m interviewing a prospective client I get asked in one way or another why they should hire someone to do what I do.  And simply put there are a lot of reasons why you should hire a coach or consultant to help you grow your business.  But before I get into the reasons why you should hire a coach, I think its important to know what kind of questions you may be asking yourself during this process and some answers you should be looking for.

Questions you might ask yourself while deciding to hire a coach or consultant:

  1. Do I really need help?  Do you really want to take your business to the next level?  If the growth of your business has not been what you wanted or you feel like there is so much more you can accomplish but just don’t know how… Guess what?  It’s time to hire a coach or a consultant to help step up your game.
  2. Can’t I do this on my own?  The short answer is: If you could have, you would have!  It’s OK to ask for help.  But unfortunately most people are so proud that they can’t bear the thought of asking for help.  And think of it this way, two heads are better than one. Don’t you usually get more done when you have help?
  3. I’ve already had several of these ideas.  Why do I need this guy?  So you’ve had the ideas before… What have you implemented?  It’s one thing to be an idea guy.  It’s another to be an idea guy that implements things.  Most people have a ton of ideas, but just don’t get things put in place, effectively measured, and optimized for maximum results.  That’s what a coach does for any organization.
  4. It’s a lot of money, wouldn’t it be better to hire someone to implement the ideas?  It’s not a lot of money when you look at the output.  For example, my coaching produces more than a 10 to 1 ratio on every dollar you invest.  So for every dollar you invest with me, you get AT LEAST 10 back.  My goal is even higher than that.  Who else produces that kind of return in your company?  One more thing on this, it costs a lot more to hire someone to do all of this for you than it does to work with a coach who will teach you how to be more effective and how to run your whole company like a machine.
  5. Is a coach really going to help me?  The success rates are through the roof with coaching and consulting clients.  A recent Harvard study says that companies that have a coach are 725% more likely to succeed that companies who don’t.  That same study also showed that 87% of the fortune 500 companies use coaches and consultants at one time or another.
  6. How am I going to make the time for this?  The great news here is that most coaches are highly trained on time management and can actually help you make more free time to implement new strategies and have more free time to do the things you enjoy in life.
  7. How am I going to pay for this?  More great news…  Coaching and consulting services are self funding.  What that means is that you may have to cover the first 90 days of the service in some cases, but after that your results should be paying for the coaching and turning you additional profits.

And now… 

The top 7 reasons Why You Should Hire a Coach…

1. Strategy – Most companies I run into are just doing “stuff” all day long.  They don’t focus on an overall strategy that accomplishes many things at once.  Imagine having a business strategy for every aspect of your business that allows you to achieve multiple business objectives with every move you make.  This saves a ton of time, builds brand and customer loyalty, and makes you more money than you know what to do with.  A coach can also bring up important things you need to consider that you would have never thought of and how these things can play into long-term decisions.

2. Experience – Ask yourself this… Have you ever grown a company to the levels you want to?  If the answer is no or if the answer is not on your own, then you’re in luck.  A coach has done this over and over again and has so much experience implementing strategies and growing companies that you are sure to succeed.  Experience is much cheaper than learning by trial and error…

3. Accountability – Who do you have pushing you each week to get things done?  For most business owners I talk to, the answer is no one.  Life is much different when you have a coach.  A coach is not only going to push you and hold you accountable each week, they are also going to be the most honest person in your business.  So if something needs to change, they are going to tell you… Especially when everyone else is afraid to speak up… Your coach will be right there to speak the truth.

4. Guidance – How many times have you needed to make an important decision about the business and not had anyone you could call for advice?  And I’m talking about real advice here.  Not the kind of advice that you get from your unemployed neighbor who has never run a business but happens to be your buddy.  I’m talking about great advice from a mentor who can see you through this decision?  That’s what a coach does for you.

5. If you could have, you would have – This one is kind of blunt but to the point.  If you could have grown your company to 1, 5 or even 10 million dollars by now, you would have!  So don’t sit around thinking about what you could do, get off your rear and hire a coach that will force the growth in you company and help you to enjoy your business and life like never before.

6. Ambition – If you really want more out of your business and out of life but aren’t sure how to get it… You need a coach.  Even if you know how to get it, but want to accelerate the timeline, hire a coach immediately!

7. Self Funding – This one is already mentioned a few times, but consider this.  If it pays for itself, why not do it?  You’ve eliminate most if not all the risk and the opportunity to double, triple or even quadruple your company is what’s at stake.

 All this said, I suggest whether you are in the market for a coach or not, you should take the time to meet with one.  At the very minimum, you’ll get more ideas and strategies to grow your business than you can imagine and get a sense for how working with a coach can help you.


7 Reasons why Virtual Companies will take over by 2020

April 19, 2011

As a virtual entrepreneur myself, I totally get why people prefer to work at home.  For me it’s simple.  I want to take part in my children’s lives and spend more time with my wife.  This just isn’t possible for me working a traditional 8 to 5 job with a commute.  I’m also a very diligent worker.  I can accomplish more in 4 or 5 hours of focused time than most can accomplish in a full 8 hour day.  I use the rest of that time for exercise, running errands, having lunch with my wife, or whatever else I want to do.  Again, this just isn’t possible when you have a normal career that forces you into an office.

 Now, I’m a little different from your average worker these days because I own my own business and I get to set the rules.  But while I’m different right NOW than the average worker, I’m a glimpse at the future for every worker and every company.

You see, I have a rule in my company, if we can’t do it virtually, we don’t do it.  There’s only one exception to that and that is when I’m asked by an organization to come speak.  Even then, I focus on conference calls when possible instead of live events.  The reason for this goes back to early 2001 when I first started traveling as the VP of a small software company.  I was on the road 328 days out of the year and barely knew my wife and daughter.  To put it bluntly, it sucked.  Always on the road and always living out of a suitcase with little or no time to enjoy life.  Sure the money was great, but my lifestyle was in the toilet.

So in 2004 I made a lifestyle change when I launched my business coaching and consulting company.  I was at home every night, but still out on the road during the day killing myself with meeting after meeting and seeing prospects face to face.  While this was a great step forward, it still consumed all of my day.  I missed bringing my girls to school and lunches with my wife.  But I still did it this way for a couple of years.

In 2009, I started looking at business models that made more sense and the Virtual Model jumped out at me.  Why should I have to go to endless meetings, meet prospects in their office, and hold my coaching sessions on site with clients?  It didn’t make sense.  So I decided to make a switch and go completely virtual by 2010.

The results have been amazing!  Business is booming, I get to bring my girls to school and pick them up each day, I go to lunch with my wife and we work out together at least 3 times a week.

This brings me to the Number 1 reason companies will go virtual by 2020; LIFESTYLE!  My lifestyle and quality of life have gone up 10 fold.  And there has never been a time in history where people have wanted their dream lifestyle more than today. The search for our dream lifestyle is at the core of each and every one of us and can’t be ignored.  It’s the eventual promise of a great lifestyle (usually referred to as retirement) that gets us out of bed every morning and keeps us going to the jobs.  Pretty soon, people won’t be willing to wait until they “retire” to claim the lifestyle that is rightfully theirs.  And its this shift in culture that will propel most of the change necessary to make virtual companies the norm.

The Number 2 reason is Technology.  Technology today is so advanced that you really don’t need to be in an office chained to a desk anymore.  There are simple apps for the iPhone, iPad, PC or Mac, that will allow you to video conference with anyone anywhere in the world at a moments notice, FOR FREE!  Not to mention great apps like Skype that allow you to call your clients, colleagues, and friends all over the world for free.  Just this morning I was on the line with South Africa at 9 am and then Philadelphia by 10 am.  Take that one step further with document sharing and online storage tools like dropbox.com and you see what an amazing world we live in.  And I truly believe that apple hasn’t even touched the surface yet with the iPad that has already changed the way I do business and will for years to come.  Don’t even get me started on-screen sharing technology.  It’s a whole can of worms itself.  The technology will only get stronger.

The Number 3 reason is Acceptance.  We have now come into time and culture that is quick to accept new things.  As cultures have shifted at home and become more accepting of different social trends, these same people in the workforce are more accepting of trends in the workplace and from companies that supply them products and services.  The more this happens the more the acceptance grows and over the last 10 years we’ve seen an increase in at home workers and entrepreneurs.  The key part of this that translates into more companies using this model is that CUSTOMERS and CLIENTS will accept that this is OK.  That acceptance paves the way for MASS distribution of the virtual model in every business known to mankind.

The Number 4 reason is Social Media.  Social media has played a huge role in the acceptance factor.  The reason is that it has basically immersed a large portion of the population into technology tools that get you to communicate remotely with other people.  Thus making those forms of communication more acceptable to nearly everyone.  It’s also helped train people to communicate remotely.  Believe it or not, communication skills were the biggest barrier to going virtual.  Now that people have the tools and are training themselves to communicate virtually, the biggest barriers are GONE!

The Number 5 reason is Cutting Costs.  This factor is usually the turning point for most companies when they realize how much money they can save by going virtual.  For instance, do you know how much office space costs?  Well, the answer is A LOT!  Even in a recession, it’s still expensive.  Going virtual eliminates the need for extra office space.  So if you want to grow, but don’t want the office space you can just go virtual and you have no increase to your overhead.  In some cases, that can save a company 50 to 75% on just their rental lease alone.  Then we get into purchasing desks, phones, lamps, printers, computers, paying for extra utilities and all the stuff that goes with each employee you bring into an office space.  That stuff gets expensive!  With the virtual model, all those costs are gone.

And if you use a company that specializes in virtual staffing you can cut even more costs.  For example, do you know how much time it takes to screen, recruit, and interview an applicant?  Quite a bit…  What if you could connect with a virtual staffing company and give them your criteria for an employee and be given three applicants to choose from without you doing the due diligence?  Would that save you some time and money?  You bet it would.  And when they work for someone else, you don’t pay HR costs, benefits, unemployment, etc.  It’s a huge win for you.

The Number 6 reason is Customer Service.  Once you cut costs, you can really focus on enhancing your customer service by hiring and training better people and doing so more often.  This takes your customer service level through the roof.  Also imagine being able to increase or decrease your staff based on the demands of your customers?  Pretty cool if you ask me.  And ramp up time is cut drastically because you don’t need to order a PC, get their “cube” setup, get with HR and get their “package” ready, etc.  So the speed from concept to implementation is much faster.  You can literally have an idea on Monday and be implementing it hours or just days later.  This all translates into a better experience for your customers and that my friend is what drives business.  Just ask Zappos, the fastest company to ever go from zero to a billion dollars in revenue.

The 7th reason is Demand.  Believe it or not, by 2014 the government is predicting that there will be a shortage of highly skilled workers in many fields.  And just like with the laws of supply and demand, the best workers will have a say in their work environment or they will go work for the competition.  The number one thing they will demand more than money by 2020 is to work from home.  Many will even take a pay cut to do it.

Bonus 8th reason……  Entrepreneurs.  My bonus reason is that entrepreneurs will truly embrace this concept and infuse it in the DNA of their people.  As this happens it will spread and grow through organizations until it completely saturates the market.  During this time you will start to see more technology and more business models that focus on this virtual concept.  As this happens, the acceptance level will rise and enforce the model even more.  Companies will see the cost savings and benefits and pursue the model even more.  Trust me when I say it’s coming to a job near you.


Why Honor and Integrity is Worth More Than Money

March 31, 2011

A friend of mine asked me this week about a business decision I made last year that cost me several thousands of dollars.  I thought I would briefly share what happened and why I feel I made the right choice.  You can decide for yourself what you would have done.

So here’s the scenario last year.  A very wealthy friend of mine asked me to get involved in a business venture of his.  I took a serious look at the business, but ultimately decided it wasn’t for me.  I knew we could make a lot of money, but quite frankly the concept bored me to tears.  One of the key compensation components was in building a national sales team and  receiving a generous commission on all their sales.  While this intrigued me, I had to make a decision.  Was I doing this for the money or the love of the business?

You see, I’ve found that if you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it very well.  Forget the money for a second because loving what you do each day is priceless!

Let’s fast-forward a few months.  After I decided not to pursue this opportunity, I referred another friend to it.  Now I did this for the sole reason that I knew she would LOVE this and pursue it will all her heart and I knew she would be a rock star at it.  Soon after I referred her, my friend called me up and told me I should jump in the business and put her on my team.  Even if I didn’t do anything else in the business, I would make a small fortune off of her work.  I politely declined.

For me, this is where HONOR and INTEGRITY come in.

You have to understand my point of view on this.  When I commit to something, I really commit to it and stick with it until it works or fails miserably.  It’s the only way I function.  So if I would have gotten into that business, I would have gone all the way.  For me, I wouldn’t recruit a sales person and then leave them without my leadership.  In my opinion, there’s no honor or integrity in that move.  It’s purely money driven and will bite you in the rear.

In this particular case, I knew I couldn’t look myself in the mirror if I left my team out in the cold without my direct guidance and supervision.  Regardless of my abilities, those people would be my responsibility and I would give them 100%.  But that’s where my heart jumped in and said, NO!  I knew I didn’t like the business and would be bored out of my mind very quickly.  That would translate into the business amd my team and I would eventually hate every moment of it.  Which would present another problem for me.  Because of my commitment mindset, I would pour my soul into this business only to hate every minute of it and eventually resent the whole thing, my team and my friend.  My other option was to quit if I hated it and quitting just isn’t an option for me.

So in this case, the honorable thing to do was not to get involved in that business, BUT still refer people who I thought were a great fit for it.  You see, in your heart, you have to figure out who you are and what you are about.  For me, I’m all about helping people achieve their dreams.  I’m not the only person in the world like this, but I’ll tell you what differentiates me from many.  I don’t focus myself on how I will be rewarded for helping others.  That limits my abilities to help people achieve their dreams which is why I was put on this planet.

Honor and Integrity are more important than money for this simple reason…  You can always make more money, but it’s nearly impossible to get back your honor or integrity once you show the world that you are willing to comprise either or both of them for any reason.

Another great reason to focus on honor and integrity over money is the legacy you leave behind.  Most people have no idea the impact they make on their team or their family.  Believe me when I say everyone is watching every move you make.  Especially your children.  So leave the generation after you better off by leading with Honor and Integrity every day in every decision you make.  You will be rewarded properly for doing the right things.  And as you can see from the picture of my little girls below, there are some things that money just can’t buy!

My little girls

Katie and Megan 2010


The 3 Biggest Dangers Facing CPA Firms Globally

March 13, 2011

The Situation Globally For CPA’s

I get quite a few inquiries from CPA’s asking about what they can do to grow their practice. My first question to them is always, “Are you already servicing your current clients as best you can?” The response is always a resounding YES! So then I follow that up with this question, “So on average, what are you billing per year per client?” The usual answer is somewhere between $1,000 and $1,500 for business clients and somewhere around $200 to $300 for personal tax clients.

What comes next usually shocks the CPA because the next words out of my mouth are, “So what you’re telling me is that you don’t believe in providing the best possible service to your clients. Because if you did, you would be billing between $5,000 and $10,000 per year for your business clients and $500 or more per year on the personal clients.”

Sounds harsh right? Well not really when I break it down for them. You see, I know their business model so well that I can tell by how much they are billing their clients how well they are servicing them. In fact, I believe if you are just doing the basics for your clients and not providing them with everything that they need, you are in fact providing a disservice to them. Which leads me to the 3 Biggest Dangers Facing CPA Firms Globally!

Danger #1: My clients only need the basic services

If you truly believe this you are either delusional or you truly don’t know what your clients need. Either way, that’s not good. First you need to understand what services your clients could use and what you can provide. Most CPA Firms that I deal with only provide about 6 or 8 services to their clients when I meet them. 6 to 8 months into our relationship they have over 40 services that they provide to their clients. Now not every client uses every service, but on average most clients will use between 8 and 10 of my clients services versus the traditional 1 to 2 services from the average CPA Firm.

Here’s why my CPA clients are able to provide 8 to 10 services per client. This may sound overly simple, but they understand their clients needs and recommend solutions to their clients on a quarterly basis and do this by literally diagnosing what their needs are and prescribing these services almost like doctor would for a patient. You see, you the CPA are the expert in your field and YOU know what a client needs and WHY they need it. So they need your leadership and expertise to guide them. Instead of thinking about what the service costs to provide, you have to think about what benefits your client will get from the service and what this is worth financially and mentally to them.

Danger #2: My clients can’t afford more than what they are already paying

The first mistake here is believing that your services are just an expense to your clients. You have to understand how your services are an investment into their business. That is if you are servicing them properly. Think of it this way… Your services need to be self funding. What does that mean, you basically need the service to provide enough value to them to pay for itself. In many cases, many times over.

Here’s a quick example. After reviewing a clients P & L, I noticed that they had 5 loans in their business all related to the building but with different banks and different interest rates. I also knew from their balance sheet that they had 70% equity in their building and land. All these loans amounted to just over $12,000 per month. I asked them what their CPA thought of this and they said he had never brought it up. So we sat down together and in the span of an hour found 3 banks willing to consolidate the loans, reduce the rates, and get them under $8,000 per month. They invested $3,600 with me to help guide them through this process and the return to them was $4,000 per month for the next 20 years (the length of the loan). That’s without interest savings. That’s $960,000 over the life of the loan.

So get this, I took it another step with this client and showed them how they could reinvest that $4,000 a month into paying off the debt faster and partly into improvements into the business that would double the business.

So how much was this service worth to them? Well, if you are keeping track $960,000 without even touching the business. It was worth double that when we paid down the debt in half the time and doubled their business.

This is the worst part. After we started this process I asked their accountant if he offered these services. He said, yes. I asked why he never offered them to this client and he said, “They couldn’t afford it.” Needless to say, he isn’t their accountant anymore.

Now not every client has a hidden pot of gold like this, but many could use and would pay for a service that really guided them in their business. You have to ask, “What do each of my clients need?” And then you have to provide them with it.

Danger #3: I don’t have the time to service them

This is usually the first thing CPA’s tell me when I start talking about servicing their clients better. You see most businesses in general don’t appreciate or care for their current client base like they do about new clients. So most businesses (including CPA Firms) are spending 80% of their “Free” time marketing for new clients. What they don’t see is the cost of that. And by the way, what you invest most of your time toward is what you care most about.  Just ask any child how they spell love….  The spell love – T-I-M-E… 

You see it’s as much as 9 times more expensive to get a new client as it is to service your current clients better.

Here’s an example… First, you need to know how much time it takes networking to get a new client. Let’s assume for this example that you are really good at networking and for every 4 hours of networking you can get 1 new client. That’s a pretty good ratio. And lets say that this client bills out at $1,000 per year. That means you are generating $250 per hour in revenues. For the sake of this we won’t get into the actual cost of the networking, your added travel time, etc. Which could add another 2 or more hours to this.

Now, what if you weekly reviewed 5 client files for 5 minutes each and selected services that would greatly benefit their business and gave each one a call (roughly 10 to 15 minutes each) to go over the value of doing this? We know from tons of research studies by the Harvard School of Business that current clients are 80% more likely to add-on additional services than brand new ones who don’t know you are even likely of signing up with you. So let’s say 4 out of 5 say yes to an additional $250 worth of service. That’s $1,000 in services for less than 2 hours of your time. And there’s no drive time, no networking fees, and no lost productivity. That’s $500 in revenues per hour you invest in this method.

The beauty of this is that you could replace the 4 hours of networking with this method and significantly increase your business. And if you look hard enough you can find several other 1 hour slots per DAY that you could invest in this method. Where as networking can usually only be done once or twice a week due to availability. And you can’t control when people call you on your ads. BUT you CAN CONTROL how often you call your current clients. So my advice is to block out an hour a day to this method and between April 15th and December 15th block out 2 to 4 hours a day doing this.

The numbers don’t lie!

So let’s look real quick at a small accounting firm and what this would do for them. This firm has 750 individual tax clients at an average of $300 per year and 200 business clients at $1,500 per year in services. Now we come in and systematically and professionally show them how to increase individual tax clients to $400 per year and the business clients to an AVERAGE of $5,000 per year. That would generate an additional $75,000 in revenues for the individual tax clients. You would have to add 250 new tax clients to generate that kind of return.

Let’s look at the business clients now. These numbers would generate an additional $700,000 in revenues for the business. It would take adding over 460 new business clients at your old rate to produce this!

Here’s the best part!

When you serve them better, your clients will stay longer and refer you more business. This gets into the lifetime value of the client and drastically explodes your business. Exciting stuff that I just don’t have the time to discuss here.

One more thing before I sign off…

Because most CPA firms only operate at 20 to 40% capacity outside of tax season, they have PLENTY of TIME to service these clients for all of those additional services. So that means the MARGINS are MUCH greater on these additional services. That translates into more money in your pocket as an owner and the ability to pay your people more and get and keep the very BEST people. It gives any CPA the makings of an unstoppable business in any economic climate.


Positioning and controlling Franchise Candidates

December 4, 2010

I am often asked by franchisors and business brokers to provide some insight on closing more candidates.  As someone who has talked with hundreds of franchisees and had an average 80% close rate, I know a thing or two about this.

It’s my belief that you have to focus on 3 key areas if you want to close more franchise sales.

  1. Mindset – both yours and the prospects…
  2. Positioning – you have to position EVERYTHING…
  3. Maintaining control – If you want the sale, you have to maintain control…

Understand right out of the box that mindset is CRITICAL!   Mindset determines your attitude and influences the decisions and more importantly the actions you take.   Key examples of this are the coaches I work with around the world.  Some coaches bill out around $1,000 per month for their services while other bill as much as $5,000 per month.  They provide the same service, get similar results, and even work with similar demographics.  The difference is that one group has a different mindset about the VALUE of the service they provide.  The result is that one makes $15,000 per month while the other makes nearly $100,000 per month.  Big difference if you ask me.

The second thing you have to focus on is positioning.   You have to position EVERYTHING!  But if you aren’t sure where to start, I have 5 key areas that I feel are the most important to position.  Follow these and then adjust from there.

  1. Position YOU – Who you are, that you are professional, and that YOU are confident in the process.  Prospects look to brokers are leaders in their life and need you step up and lead them through the process.
  2. Position THE PROCESS – Everyone you encounter will want to know what the process looks like.  You don’t have to get into all the details or take 30 minutes to explain this.  You just need to outline it so they know what to expect.
  3. Position YOUR TIME – My time is valuable and $500+ per hour, I don’t want to waste it on people who aren’t serious.  I like to think of my time as inventory with a daily shelf life.  At the end of the day, I have 8 business hours that will expire no matter what I do.  I have to use them wisely.
  4. Position A BALLPARK INVESTMENT – We all know that buying a business costs money.  But what we need to do is bypass the fear of talking about the range of the investment.  At a minimum, YOU need to know how much they are willing to invest and if this is worth your time.
  5. Position THEY WILL MAKE A DECISION – One way or another, YES or NO, we are going to come to a decision.  In fact, there are many decisions along the way when buying a franchise.  Part of your role as a broker is to get them to make these little decisions that ultimately lead to a sale!

The third and final tip here is maintaining control of the prospect at all times.  One of the ways you do this is by working on their mindset and positioning everything along the way.  And be ready to reposition anyone at any point in the process.  To do this effectively you have to become a master at listening to your prospect and asking powerful questions.  I personally like to maintain control by assigning homework with deadlines for everything.  So if I tell you to fill out a questionnaire, I want a commitment from you when you will have it done and I let you know that I’m going to follow-up with you.  In addition to that, I hold people accountable to what they say they are going to do.  You have to step up and say, “You said you would have this done today at 3:00 so that’s why I’m calling you.  Is it done?”  if not, be willing to ask why .  I give one second chance.  I reposition how valuable my time is and I simply ask if this is still important to them?  One key factor here is that I’m not afraid to walk away.  I am concerned about wasting my time and I let them know that.

If you would like more details on any of this information or if you just want to have a discussion about how I can help your business, please email me at Michael@michaellejeune.com or you can give me a ring at 636-577-5005.


Delivering More Value in 30 Minutes or Less

August 21, 2010

This is something I’ve been personally working on quite a bit lately.  First off, you have to set a goal to be able to do this.  So I set a goal to get to make my coaching more powerful, focused, and condensed.

To do this, I had to focus on a couple of things…

1.        Positioning

I know you hear this one all the time, but have you done it?  This is the key in DIAG’s, calls, etc.  Example, “What I’d like to do today is really keep focused on the top 1 or 2 things you have going on.  Let’s address those and then get you back to business.  Sound OK to you?”

 2.        Asking better questions by listening more

This is just a key to coaching in general.  I find a lot of people get off on all kinds of tangents and try to address every possible need a client has that week.  Wrong move!  I’ll address this more in my “Fastest Ways to Kill a Client” post in a few days.

If you really want to help your clients and ask better questions, you just have to listen to them.  Listen to what they say in the WIFLE or your version of the WIFLE and then ASK QUESTIONS about that.  I also ask this important question EVERY CALL, “So, what would you like to get out of today’s call?”  Ask that question no matter what they put on their weekly focus sheet.

From there, ask questions like:

How is that impacting your business?

What do you think needs to happen this week to fix that?

What do you think the result would be if you fix this?

What benefits would fixing this have for you personally?

How important is it to you that this gets taken care of immediately?

What obstacles do you see to getting this done?

Most importantly…. Ok, so when will you have this done by?

If they are struggling with doing things….  How would you like me to hold you accountable?

3.        Less Prep and more listening

I can hear you…  “less prep!”  What are you crazy?  Crazy like a fox maybe… Often, coaches spend a lot of time prepping for what they think a client needs or what they feel they should deliver that week.  WRONG MOVE!  Yes, you need to be prepared for your call with the client, but most of that should come from their focus sheet.  If you focus on learning the 5 ways, and a few other key flipcharts (post on key flipcharts coming soon…) you will be prepared and can focus on listening.

I know listening is a spillover from my last topic, but its here for a reason.  Most coaches DO NOT LISTEN ENOUGH!  We have a big mouth and a lot to say AND some of you are always trying to find your fee…  Want to find your fee?  Listen to your client and respond appropriately.  When they are talking, clear your mind of the next question to ask and JUST LISTEN.  Respond with natural questions.  Sometimes you have to just ask, “Can you tell me more about that?”  That’s a GREAT question to ask so you can get to the heart of the matter.

Here’s another tip… See how long you can keep your mouth shut after a client answers your questions.  You will be amazed at how much more they share with you when you aren’t talking.

4.        Keeping the call focused

I’ve noticed over the years a lot of clients and even coaches that want to talk about everything they can possibly imagine on our call.  A lot of times they want to make sure we get a full hour in.  Clients will often bring up additional topics when they feel uncomfortable about something and want to distract themselves from dealing with it.  You see, one of the primary functions of the brain is to keep you happy at all times and at all costs.  So anytime someone becomes uncomfortable, the brain overrides their logic of dealing with the issue and just brings up another one.  This is where we come in as coaches and go back to the issue at hand and help them deal with it.  This is where you will deliver most of your value as a coach.  You may need to say, “That’s a great topic, but not for today.  Let’s focus on the first thing you brought up and deal with it.  How’s that sound to you?”

5.        Wrapping up when done

Simply put, know when you are done.  You can’t put more than a couple of tasks on your client each week.  I like to focus on 1 or 2 things.  3 is a stretch and 4 tasks will burn them out.  I like to ask this question, “do you have enough to do this week?”  They most often say YES.  My answer to that is, GREAT then I ask one last question….  “So tell me, what are the top 2 or 3 things you got out of our call today?”  They know we are done at that point.  I may also ask, so how do you think this is going to change your business this week and over time?

Follow these simple steps and you too can deliver more value in under 30 minutes.