12 Disciplines Of Every Successful Company

October 14, 2011

A common daily question that business owners have is:  What should our company be doing better?  I literally hear this every time I meet a business owner.  Initially, I thought the answer to this question depended on what that business did, or their industry, or maybe several other factors that were unique to that business…  BUT what I’ve found after studying this for several years now is that almost everything you need to do to improve your business will fall into the following 12 Disciplines.  If your company can master these and constantly work on them, you will see tremendous results.

So here are the disciplines and a brief outline of what I’m talking about for each.  More info to come on each of these in the future….

1. Optimizing – Most people are great at starting new things or doing stuff the same way forever.  But to build a truly amazing company, you must have a focus on improving and optimizing what you are doing.  I like to focus on a couple of areas first.  I like to work on current promotions, tracking leads and opportunities, and expenses.  These areas can have a fast impact and boost your bottom line quickly.

2. Team Building – If you want a strong company that operates with or without you, you need a team.  The foundation of the team is your leadership team.  The core of your leadership team is built on communication, mindset and beliefs.  Your building blocks for making it all work together are your Vision, Culture, Integrity, Accountability, and Systems.

3. Sales Process – Map it out from first impression to a closed sale.  Use a CRM!  This is a nonnegotiable.

4. Sales Scripts – What do you say and when do you say it in the process?  What phrases work and which ones cause problems during a sale?  Know this stuff and teach it to EVERYONE on your team!

5. Overcoming Objections – Start by making a list of common objections.  Address common objections during the sales process to minimize them at the end.  Position all your interactions with the prospects so they expect the sale…

6. Customer Service – How do you treat your customers?  Do you survey them?  Do you have standard response times?  How about WOW factors?  What information do you gather about your clients so you can impress them?

7. Knowing Your Ideal Client – Know who you like to work with and who you don’t.  Know who’s a good fit for your company and when you are forcing a round peg into a square hole just for a dollar.  Have a set of criteria that you use to accept a client.

8. Telling Your Story – What makes your company special?  What problems does your company address for the industry.  What makes your product/service better than the rest?  What are the real intangible benefits to working with you?

9. Perfecting Your Follow Up To Current Customers – The first sale is only the beginning of the relationship.  How can you keep your customers coming back over and over again?

10. Hiring – A bad hire will cost you as much as 60K.  Learn how to find, recruit, screen, and train good talent.  It will change your business from the inside out.  Very powerful.

11. Strategy – This is the long-term piece of your planning.  Thinking and planning 5 years or more out, creating a roadmap, milestones, and targets.  Involves thinking about what you want to accomplish and working your way backwards to the present day.  Also includes thinking of ways to accomplish more with each move you make.

12. 90 Day Planning – The strategy is great, but if you don’t get out the business every 90 days and clear your mind, review where you are, and get down in the details, you are going to be in trouble.  This is a key part of growing and maintaining an amazing business.

Want to know more about these 12 disciplines?  Want to Master them?  I have a 6 month training series coming up on this soon.  Email me  michael@michaellejeune.com and set you up with all info…


Mike’s Top 10 Ways to Grow Any Business

October 5, 2011

I get asked all the time about how to quickly and easily grow a company.  My short answer is that there are NO silver bullets!  It doesn’t matter what business you are in, there’s no single way to jump your sales overnight.  And there’s really no way at all to do it effortlessly.

That said, if you want tried and true ways to grow literally any business on planet, read on…

Here’s a list of my personal 10 favorites that work in literally every situation I’ve ever been in.  And by the way, that ranges from advanced business solutions to manure farmer (Yes, I’ve actually coached a manure farmer).  I’ve used this in all situations and they flat-out work!

Mike’s top 10 ways to grow any company

  1. Reach out to past leads that didn’t close and see if they are now ready to buy. – Most sales are lost for lack of follow-up.
  2. Reach out to current customers and see if they could use an upgrade or cross sell them into another product or service.  What if every one of your customers purchased just 10% more from you?
  3. Ask everyone, past clients, current clients, people who don’t close in a demo; for a REFERRAL!  People will give you referrals if you ask.  Even if it doesn’t work more than 10 or 20% of the time, that’s better than 0% which is what I bet most of you reading this are getting right now.
  4. Increase your prices.  If you are worth it, charge more.  Cheap = you get what you pay for.
  5. Review your promotions and discounts to find ways of adding value instead of just giving discounts.  I recently reduced the cost of a promotion for a client from $15 to $9 (a savings of $6 per sale).  We reduced the plain cash discount to $5 cash off and a product that cost him $4 but had a perceived value of $10 (still a $15 value to the customer).  Doesn’t sound like much until you hear that he sells 200 of these deals per month.  That equals 200 sales times $6 or $1,200 per month/$14,400 per year.
  6. Review your marketing to see what’s working and what isn’t.  Cut what isn’t working and redirect those funds to what is.
  7. Pick up the phone and call all your customers just to see how they are doing.  You will be amazed at how many will refer business or let you in on a need they have (that you can help with) if you just communicate with them regularly.
  8. Invest 1 hour a week honing your sales skills, presentation/demo, etc.  Get better at closing!
  9. Implement a multi-touch sales and marketing system so that every lead gets “touched” a minimum of 20 times before you give up on it.
  10. Be authentic! – It’s not enough to be funny, cute, or original.  People want to see how real you are.  Show a real side to who you are and what your company is about and more people will buy.
Bonus 11th and 12th Tips…
11. Implement KPI’s in each key area of your business.  Tracking is actually a strategy that will improve your performance.  This one is highly underestimated.
12.  Implement a CRM into your sales process.  There’s no excuse here.  Zoho.com has an amazing free system, Salesforce.com is superb.  This step will increase your sales departments effectiveness by 40% or more.

For more strategies and tips on how to grow your business, email me at michael@michaellejeune.com

Have an interesting tip or strategy you want to share?  Send them in.  I’d love to share with the world!

Your Net Has a Hole – A Story About How To Optimize Your Business For the Holidays

September 24, 2011

Did you know that for some businesses, the holiday season is where they generate 60 to 75% of their income for the year as well as 50% or more of their new customers?  I was a little shocked at first when I learned this, but when you think about it, it’s very accurate.  The main holiday season in the United States is about to kick off and will run right into the first week of January.  After that, business usually slows down for many industries right through spring time.

In a traditional business model, most people are gearing up for the holiday season and looking at ways to make it better than last year.  But let me challenge you with this.  How many of you are looking past the holiday season and how you can make the hard winter months of January, February, and March more successful?  I’ll bet the answer is very few.

If I could show you a way to make your slowest months of the year better, would you take me up on the advice?  What if that advice could set you up to generate 20 to 50% more sales in those months?  Would you listen then?  What if I told you that some people will double or triple their business in those months next year if they continue to take this advice year after year?  Do I have your attention now?

I want you to imagine something for a minute.  Imagine you are fisherman and you are using a net to catch fish.  Your whole livelihood depends on you catching as much fish as you can, selling some at market, and feeding your family with your catch.  Now imagine that your net has a TON of holes in it.  Some big holes, some little holes, but just a ton of holes in it.  Now remember, this net is how you catch your fish and your whole world is depending you catching fish.  Before you take off to sea for your fishing trip, wouldn’t mend the net and fix all the holes?  I know I would.

This is a problem that most business owners have.  Their net is full of holes.  Some big, some small.  The problem is that most people don’t even know there’s a problem.  I’m here today to tell you, THERE’S A PROBLEM!

Here’s the problem…  You are thinking short-term sale instead of lifetime value.  You see, in the winter months people are thinking how they can close each sale and how if they just do a good job that will bring the customers back.  WRONG!  It will bring some back, but let’s get real for a minute, how many people come back over and over again.  If you are really honest, very few unless you have a system in place to bring them back time and time again.

So without any more delay, here’s how you should be thinking.  Yes, the short-term sale is great, but what can I do at the point of purchase to (1.) Position the client to come back soon and (2.) Get them to tell their friends.  After all, the power of the referral is something you really want.

So let’s take a retail jewelry store for example.  If someone comes in your store and places a custom order for a piece, how do you normally handle this?  You make a sale and then tell them you will call them when it’s in.  If you are good at what you do, you send them a thank you card.  But MOST people don’t even do that.  When the piece is in, you call them, they come check it out, pay the rest of the fee and then they are off and possibly out of your life.

If you are superstar, this is what you WOULD do.  Someone comes into your store and while they are making a purchase, you strike up a conversation about them, their family, and eventually get into other pieces they would like to have some day.  You even help them build a wish list with their 2 or 3 favorite items on it.  You ask about birthdays, anniversaries, kids, etc and if there’s a significant other, you get their details so you can “remind” them of those special occasions.  When you are wrapping up the sale, you give your new client a simple postcard that asks them to rate their experience on yahoo or google under your business profile [note to self, make sure you have a business profile on both] and that their review will entitle them to a free cleaning/or other service if they bring the card back with a date of the review on it.   [Please note that this is just the beginning  J]

Next, you do send a thank you card.  Make sure it is hand written, in your authentic style, says more than “thank you”, and DOES NOT promote your business [i.e. and here’s a gift certificate for xyz].  [By the way, you can pick up boxes of these for pennies at discount stores, close out sales, and end of season clearance – requires you to think ahead…  See the theme here?]

Here’s a cool step.  When their piece comes in, call them and tell them you can show it to them online in an interactive fashion.  Tell them you do this for your customers so they don’t have to fight the traffic and the mall/parking lots, etc and view this in the comfort of their home.  Build up the benefits of this and how cool it is and customers will love it!  At the end of the online presentation ask them if they would do you a favor.  You can do it like this.  “So what do you think about using the internet to see your piece?”  Most will say that it was awesome.  Your next question should then be, “It would mean the world to us if you would share this experience with your friends.  Would you help us out by spreading the word?”  Again most would say, “sure”.    You say great, and then ask them to “like” your Facebook page and put a quick comment about the online presentation.  [Note to self, Facebook isn’t a joke and I need to create a page immediately…]

But it doesn’t stop here.  This is just where the relationship starts.  From here you can start a whole plethora of contacts and touches about their wish list, new pieces in your store, and even interacting with them and their friends via Facebook.  But that’s a story for another day…

To wrap this up, let’s bullet point what we accomplished here for our new client by thinking ahead.

  • We learned about them, their family, what they like, and key dates
  • We thanked them for their business in a super nice way
  • We made an impression on them that we are unique
  • We introduced them to a time-saving way to interact with you through the internet
  • We got them to rate our website via google or yahoo
  • We got them to like our Facebook page
  • We got them to tell their friends about us
  • We set ourselves up to speak to them again and again

If you want more cool ideas for your business, you can email me directly at michael@michaellejeune.com

I also want to hear your success stories from using these ideas.  Please send them so I can share them with the world!

How to Get 10 times the impact out of every marketing dollar you spend

July 19, 2011

Want 10 times more impact from every marketing dollar you spend?  If so, check out these 9 key factors that will allow you to maximize your marketing budget and dominate your competition….  These 9 keys are ideally meant to work together, but you can start with just one and add the other in later.

1.       Is my marketing aligned with the strategic objectives of the company?

First off, if your company doesn’t have strategic objectives, you are in trouble!  Worse than that, if your marketing isn’t aligned with where you want to go as a company, you are just wasting your marketing dollars.

The first key here is establishing clear objectives for the company.  Get this done at the beginning of each year.   But just get it done.  Your next question may be, so what’s a strategic objective look like?  If so, here are a few for an ink and toner remanufacture business:  We want to capture 50% of the market share of small businesses in our company who buy ink and toner.  We also want to position our company as locally owned and operated experts in our market.  We also want to educate our clients on the environmental impacts of not using a service like ours.  We want to increase our revenues 25% over last year.

Those are just a few strategic objectives for that business.  I suggest between 10 and 12 per business per year.  But understand the impact of having this on your marketing.  Once you understand what you want to accomplish, you can then build your marketing campaigns around those objectives.  This puts your marketing and your business in harmony and allows you to be more effective.

2.       Do I communicate the SAME clear message through my:  Marketing, Business, Customer Service, Website, and Staff?

This one is pretty simple.  Do you have the same message being broadcast in all the areas of the business?  The odds are that every area of the business and even each marketing piece are all selling something different.  One of the most important keys of marketing is having a clear message.

For example, if you are Jewelry Store and you want to sell diamond rings, your direct mail needs to focus in on diamond rings.  Your website should educate buyers on the value and how to properly select diamond rings.  Your website should mention the direct mail ad directly or indirectly and connect with that message.  Your staff should talk about diamond rings with everyone they meet and your business should have strategic objectives around how you will sell more diamond rings.  One more, your customer service team should be TRAINED on handling diamond rings, cleaning them, and educating the customer in even greater detail on the great purchase they made.

3.       Do I engage my customers the way they want to be engaged?

This is where most businesses completely veer off track.  If you remember nothing else from this post, remember this.  Just because you can put a cheap ad in the paper or hit 10,000 houses for dirt cheap with direct mail — doesn’t mean you should!  You have to understand HOW your buyers want to be communicated with and then engage them PRIMARILY in that way.  The secondary way/s are also very important and I cover that in my next point.

So how do you know the best way to engage your clients?  The first thing you can do is poll your current clients.  Ask them how they like to be communicated with.  And start with your best or top 20% of customers first.  These are your ideal clients and the ones you want the more of.  So talk to them and find out what works best for them.  The next thing is to study your ideal client by making a list of their characteristics.  Then you move on to practical things like testing your theories.  It sounds much more complicated than it is. 

My main point here is that if you want to be successful in business, you will find out HOW your customers want to be engaged and then you will do it!  Because I can guarantee you one thing… If you choose NOT to engage your buyers the want they want, they will find another business that is WILLING to engage and communicate with them they way they prefer.  In this global economy, even the local jeweler isn’t the only game in town.  People are one google search away from 20,000 businesses who do what you do and one of them is bound to do what they ask.  It might as well be you. J

 My Top 6 ways to engage clients:

  • Through an ACTIVE referral program
  • By Phone
  • Webinar
  • Direct mail
  • Website
  • Social media

 4.       Do I engage my customers using 5 or more methods with my message?

This is what I call a complete marketing strategy.  It’s when you send a piece of direct mail that has a link to your website, facebook, twitter, and blog on it.  The customer then goes to any one of those online places and finds out that you have some great educational pieces they can download after they enter in their contact details.  They can also email you or signup for a webinar with you.  If this person gets your same direct mail piece and chooses NOT to go to your site but rather search for your product or service, you have done some SEO work as well PPC and you SHOW UP in the search research!

The takeaway from this section is that you need to use multiple methods to reach your customers with the same message.  Mix it up and have them all touting the same message.

5.       Do I educate my clients with my marketing?

Doing what I do its inevitable that I wind up reviewing countless marketing pieces each month.  And the there is one they all seem to have in common.  They talk about all the reasons they think you should buy from them.  As an FYI – that only works for the people who already know they want your product and are just shopping for the best supplier.  Which winds up being about 1 to 2% of the population.  So that means for every 100 direct mail letters you mail out, you will AT BEST only appeal to 1 or 2 people.  Starting to understand the conversion rate of direct mail?  Makes sense doesn’t it?

So let’s look at the education based marketing approach.  Education marketing is designed with 2 things in mind.  The first is obvious.  It’s designed to educate the market.  But the second thing that isn’t as obvious is that this marketing method is designed to interrupt the daily  patterns of your buyer and build a case for why they should consider getting this education.  In short, it’s designed to get your first sale…  Which is getting them to read your material, attend a webinar, download your free report or take a free consultation.  Whatever it is that you are going to use to educate them.

Here’s an example of a plumber that I worked with.  His original marketing was to restaurants and his pitch was of course about him.  So every 100 calls got him 1 or 2 appointments.  We changed up the phone pitch and it went something like this, “Did you know that are 7 key problems in every restaurant that cause 87% of your downtime?  Do you think it would be helpful for one of my engineers (not plumbers – engineers sounds really professional) to drop by this week and do a walk through your kitchen with you and educate you on these 7 areas and how to avoid any downtime?  Much better than, “hi, I’m Joe at ABC plumbing and I think you should use us for your next job”.  CLICK…  DIAL TONE….  REPEAT 99 more times to get an appointment…  OR my education based marketing approach where you get 3 appointments for every 8 to 10 calls.  Your choice…

6.       Do I have a system in place to follow up with prospects, current clients, and past clients?

I’ll keep this brief.  If you don’t plan on doing any follow up, just quit your marketing all together.  You’re wasting time and money.  You can read more on this in my article on why your marketing sucks by clicking here:  https://michaellejeune.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/the-single-biggest-reason-your-marketing-sucks/

7.       Does our marketing include more than 16 touches?

This piggybacks a bit on number 6, but since it’s about follow up…. So it’s worth repeating. J    Understand that most buyers don’t even recognize your marketing or brand until they have seen it at least 6 to 10 times.  Some surveys say it takes as many as 20 touches.  It just depends on how bad you want the client and how creative you can be.  I’ll give you a personal example.  It’s taken me nearly 7 years of emails, phone calls, and letters to multiple departments and many staff at Tony Robbins to finally get through and get myself aligned with that organization.  But I did it!  And I’m only 1 of about 60 people in the world vetted and trained to work with their business clients now.  That’s huge personal accomplishment for me to be in that type of elite group of coaches and consultants.  But most people would have stopped after an email or two.  How bad do you want your dream clients?

Remember this, anything less than 10 touches (emails, direct mail, phone calls, letters, etc) and you have wasted all the rapport, time, money, branding, and effort that you have put into your marketing.

Think about it this way.  With each additional touch you add to a campaign, you significantly INCREASE your chances of getting that client. 

8.       Do I track and analyze my marketing campaigns?

This one is pretty basic, but most people don’t measure anything.  By simply measuring how many letters you send out, what the response is, and what the revenues are, you can better run the business.  This makes your marketing predictable and affordable because you know the results it produces.  It also lets you know what works and what doesn’t.  It sure beats doing marketing and guessing about its effectiveness. 

 9.       Do I make it Super Easy to buy?  This is HUGE!

This sort of goes along with all the others a bit.  You have to understand that if you sell a product that people want to buy at 2 am while surfing the web in their underwear, you better have a way for them to do that!  After all, the customer is in control these days.  And again, remember that if you don’t allow the customer to buy at 2 am because your store requires them to call during your hours, there’s another guy somewhere in the world selling the same widget who has a customer service rep online at 2 am (maybe even working from home in their underwear).

The point is, if your customers want to buy online – Sell online.

If your customers want to get on a webcam with you and see the details of your product before placing a big order – Have a way to do that.

If your customers want to pay via credit card – you better accept them all.

The Single Biggest Reason Your Marketing Sucks!

July 19, 2011

Simply put… Your lack of follow up!

You may think you follow up enough, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t!  How do I know this?  Because I have YET to meet a single business owner, sales person, or marketing “expert” that follows up enough.

But because you may still be skeptical, I’ll put my theory to the test.

How many times on average do you follow up on a lead that doesn’t call you back before you quit?

The AVERAGE answer is 2 to 3 times.

The BEST answer….  As many times as it takes to reach them or until they get a restraining order…  That may sound extreme, but is it really?

The SECOND best answer is 20 times.  Want to see your conversion rates quadruple?  Follow up like you’re getting paid to do it.  Wait a minute…  You are getting paid to do it!  So follow up!

Here’s just a few more reasons why should follow up more:

  • Leads are expensive and follow up will increase your conversion rates and reduce your marketing costs
  • Your product or service is NOT the center of the universe for your prospects.  So even if they ARE interested they have other things going on in their life that are more important.  You have to consistently and repeatedly get in front of them
  • It takes a prospect 12 to 18 times of hearing your name, seeing your emails, listening to your voicemails to even recognize your brand.  So anything below 12 marketing touches is a complete waste of time and money unless you are just plain lucky.

One more quick test for my theory.  Suppose you get a hold of the person and they are not interested.  Do you follow up?

The AVERAGE answer is no.

The BEST answer is YES.  And not only do you follow up, you build a case over time with valuable data of why they should be interested.  You find out what their objections are and you probe for valuable data that you can use to fine tune your sales process and be a closing MACHINE.  No wait, you don’t do that.  Your answer was no…you don’t follow up….

Getting the picture of why your marketing probably sucks?

….Here’s the good news….

If your company is currently in this position and you are still surviving, a few simple changes to your follow up and you could be THRIVING!

Here’s just 2 things that I would implement right away.

  1. Create a 20 week campaign minimum that includes email, phone calls, and direct mail follow up
  2. Shorten your pieces.  A big mistake people make is trying to tell a prospect 100 facts about their product in the very first touch in hopes that all that data will get a sale.  The problem with this is that you overwhelm the client and you don’t leave anything of value to share with them after the first contact.  Leave them wanting more…

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.

What’s the true value of coaching and consulting?

March 11, 2011

For some, this is a complicated question.  Do you put a value on coaching based on what you are paying each month, the market price for the services, or even what you can afford?  I say none of those.  For me, I practice what I preach and have a coach.  So when I look at the value I look at the following areas first.

What are the strategies worth?

This is a big deal.  Maybe one of the most important factors.  The reason I say this is because even if you are a great strategist you may not be able to come up with the strategies that your coach can.  The other factor here is being able to optimize strategies you are already thinking of.  A coach can help you do this to get 10 times the impact from your strategies.  What’s that worth?  Simply put, A LOT!

The other scenario here is when you have tried everything and nothing is really working like you want.  Your coach will have half a dozen proven strategies you can try right away.  A great coach will be able to help you monetize those and see which ones will give you the greatest impact right away.  And a Master coach will not only monetize these with you, but also pick strategies for you that cost nothing to implement.  This is the masters distinction and allows you to profit right away from the strategies and the coaching relationship.

Case Study 1 – No cost Strategies

An example of this is a recent client in the manufacturing business that sells 500 units per month at $90 per unit.  We went through the numbers and a few questions about the market and determined that he could easily raise the price right away to $95 per unit.  That’s an increase of $2,500 per month or $30,000 per year and we haven’t even gotten started yet.  They expect they can raise the price another $10 to $20 by offering the clients a better service with an additional guarantee and a few other benefits.  But this strategy didn’t cost him a dime to implement.  That’s the beauty of it.  This client unfortunately never thought of this simple strategy because he is so consumed by hunting for new clients that he never considered optimizing his current clients.

What is it worth in the time and money you save?

To know this you have to understand what you time and money are even worth.  For example, I have many clients with MBA’s and other various degrees.  On average they have paid somewhere in the range of $100,000+ for these degrees and spent 4 to 8 years getting them.  All the while earning pennies at their job or a fraction of what they could in a small business.  So while they were taking years to educate themselves, they weren’t earning their full potential income.  This income is lost forever.  A great coach will actually give you a Doctorate level on the job education in business in just 6 to 12 months AND you will be earning more money while you learn.  In fact, in our business we focus on self funding any of our programs so that by month 3 or faster, we have paid for our self for the whole year and beyond.  Wouldn’t it be great is universities took that approach?  One last thing to note is that Master Coaches have anywhere from 10 to 20 years of high level experience running and growing businesses.  So this means they have seen almost every scenario.  If you are like most people, you don’t have 3 or 4 years much less 10 or 20 to master the art of strategically growing a business.

Case Study 2 – Time

A couple of years ago a client came to us and said this:  “I’m 50 years old and just starting my own B2B Services Business.  I don’t have a degree and have never done this before.  To add to this, I don’t have 5 years to learn how to do this because I can’t stand the idea of wasting 5 or more years of my life just learning what to do and then beginning the business at 55 years old.  I want to retire while I’m young enough to enjoy myself.”

This is a common feeling among people of any age, but I certainly understood his perspective.  To make a long story short here, we took an active role determining the vision and strategic direction for this company.  In just 90 days he had 3 major clients and within the first year 20 accounts that all together more than doubled what he was earning in his previous job.  His profits quadrupled in year 2 and he is on his way to doubling again in year 3.  We have also reset his mindset that business is only about working all the time and not enjoying life now.  This is a major distinction and has given him the freedom to take 6 weeks of vacation a year while making more money than he could imagine.

What’s it worth to YOU to accelerate your dreams?

What is the accountability and guidance worth?

For many people, this area is the reason they come to us.  Most people left to themselves do not ever see their full potential.  Just think about the last time you had a great idea at work or home and kept it to yourself…  It may have taken weeks, months, or even years to take action on this idea and get something done.  That’s of course if you bothered to do anything about it.  Because many don’t.  Now think about a time where you shared an idea with a co-worker or supervisor or even a spouse and worked on a timeline, a to-do list, etc.  What were the results?  If you are completely honest about it, you know that because you had someone watching over you, you got it done.  Even if you procrastinated a bit, you pulled through on your deadlines and made it happen.

Unfortunately in most companies, the owner doesn’t have anyone holding them accountable or have anyone to answer to.  So they turn to people like me to get in their business and in their face each week to make sure things get done.  A factor here at play as well is that lost opportunity is lost forever.  You can’t recapture lost revenues from sales you didn’t make.  If we could go back in time and implement winning strategies earlier in our life, we would all be rich, but until you get a time machine, this just isn’t an option.

How about the guidance?  So next time you are thinking of implementing a strategy but don’t know where to start, how are you going to move forward?  What about not knowing if you should even pursue an idea or which one to pursue first?  This is a big deal for most people.  No knowing for sure what to do or HOW to do something is paralyzing.  And business is hard enough without being paralyzed.

So what’s this kind of service worth?

Think about this for a minute…  If every time you give me $1 I can turn it into $5 or even $10 for you, how often would you do that?  If you are honest, probably all day long.

Lets take it to another level.

What if you gave me $1 and I turned it into a money tree that generated $5 a month for the rest of the time you owned that business?  Now that’s exciting!  That $1 investment could be a bringing you $60 per year for the life of the business.  That’s HUGE!

Lets take it to an even greater level…

Suppose you see the writing on the wall and realize that while a $1 investment is great you want even more.  But that means a little more time with me and a bigger investment.  But again, you KNOW the return.  So you invest $10 with me expecting to get 5 for every 1 you invest.  Your return is now $50 per month or $600 per year.  It’s a massive increase and the beauty is that it was self funded by the strategies we implemented.  The real beauty is that is never stops there.  You see your investment will compound itself by using multiple strategies to get an even better business.  This means that at some point you are not getting $5 for every $1 you put in.  You may be getting 6, 8, 10, or even more!

So what’s the Value of coaching?

I put it simply as this.  What’s the GAP between where you are and where you want to be?  That’s the value of coaching and consulting.

Here’s a quick example.  Let’s say you have a $400,000 company but want to take it to $4,000,000 over the next 3 years.  The GAP here is $3.6 Million.  So as long as I can get you these results in the time frame you are looking for, the coaching and consulting is WORTH $3.6 Million to you.  How much are you willing to pay to get that?  Oh, and by the way, that will continue for the life of the business.  It will even grow at a substantial rate.