AA 015 | Establish Trust


Do you ever feel like you provide excellent advice and service (for free) and then watch your potential client hire someone else? You tell them how you will save them money and never hear back? It’s time to stop working for free and find new ways to build trust with current and future clients! When meeting with clients, it’s important to have that trust factor so they want to do business with you. In this episode of The Abundant Accountant podcast, The Pitch Queen shares 5 actionable ways (plus a 6th bonus tip!) that you can use to build trust with current and future clients. This trust will help you grow your firm and find your ideal clients! Enjoy, and thank you for listening and tuning into The Abundant Accountant Podcast!

Be sure to join us on May 15th for our next amazing episode!

As an accounting professional, I know you’re used to taking on anyone who knocks on your door, tired of not getting paid for your knowledge and worth, or struggling with inconsistent cash flow during the offseason. It’s not your fault! I know nobody is training you to fix these problems and connect the dots.

That’s why I created my Selling Without Ever Selling System. I’m so excited that I’m offering you a free coaching session so I can share this information with you too. Let me help you get your IDEAL clients coming to YOU so you can build your dream practice and still have the time and money to enjoy your family and kids.

Head to theabundantcall.com to schedule your coaching session with my team and me!

Here are a few key secrets we talked about in this episode:

Michelle shares how giving free advice doesn’t help your firm – it hurts you!

  • What is the definition of TRUST, and why is it so important for your firm?
  • Tip #1 – give a “sample” of the work, not the whole “meal.” When you provide your prospects with the full meal, that is like giving away all of your knowledge for free.
  • Don’t tell your potential client HOW you will do the work – tell them WHAT the result will be! The how-to for a client is irrelevant until you are paid.
  • You tell them how they can find someone else to do the work for a cheaper cost.
  • Be strategic about communicating – sometimes, your genius can hurt you.
  • Tip #2 – show the human side of the business.
  • We get caught up in the details and the numbers, but our clients also want to know about the U.S.! Don’t be afraid to show your personality. Clients truly do want to connect with you on a non-work level.
  • Give clients a chance to connect with the human side of the business – how your firm is changing clients’ lives and your own life!
  • Make an “about me” page on your website, and ensure you have a good picture of yourself.
  • Tip #3 – make yourself available for inquiries.
  • Be ready and able to field inquiries. Be reachable even if it’s through an assistant.
  • Consider installing a live chat function on your website so that potential clients can reach out to you.
  • Create unique touch points with clients to set yourself apart from the competition.
  • Tip #4 – be clear about what your client should expect.
  • Rule of thumb: Underpromise and over-deliver!
  • Make sure that your client knows expectations regarding accessibility, potential charges, or anything else related to the engagement that they engaged with you in.
  • Create boundaries, define them with your client, and stick to them.
  • Tip #5 – make sure that you follow through!
  • If you say you’ll do something, DO IT!
  • Operate with integrity in all aspects of your firm.
  • People pay premium prices for your services when they trust you!
  • BONUS tip: Create a Yelp business account with testimonials and current clients’ reviews. Yelp will help bring you business! Watch Episode 14 of The Abundant Accountant Podcast to hear how Yelp helped build Aleksey Kaplans’ business.
  • Michelle invites listeners to pick 3 of these tips and implement them at their firm so they can stop giving away free advice and be paid their value!


Learn More & Connect With Me Here!


P.S. As an accounting professional, I know you’re used to taking on anyone who knocks on your door, is tired of not getting paid for your knowledge and worth, or struggling with inconsistent cash flow during the offseason.

It’s not your fault! I know nobody is training you to fix these problems and connect the dots.

That’s why I created my Selling Without Ever Selling System. I’m so excited that I’m offering you a free coaching session so I can share this information with you too. Let me help you get your IDEAL clients coming to YOU so you can build your dream practice and still have the time and money to enjoy your family and kids.

Head to theabundantcall.com to schedule your coaching session with my team and me!

Listen to the podcast here


The 5 Ways To Establish Trust Without Giving Away Free Advice

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this show, I wanted to show a warm appreciation to our reviewer of the week. Our reviewer of the week is Sean Mahoney. Sean says, “Michelle, I’m not an accountant or a CPA, but I get a lot out of it in my own personal way. Thanks a lot for what you’re doing, and have an amazing day.” I just want to reiterate that what I’m sharing here on show will help you in all facets of your firm, be it from making sure your head is in the game, and that you hold out for those dreams since I know that you’re not. Most of you might not want to be in a corporate position. I am talking to the accountingpreneurs tuning in to the show.

I do want to hear from more of you. I would love it if you could subscribe and also leave a rating for the show, and write a review. Your written review will be a highlight on a future episode here on the show. I would like to request that at the end, make sure to take a screenshot of this episode on your phone and tag me, Michelle Weinstein on LinkedIn. Also, hashtag the show and share with me your biggest takeaways from this episode. What is one thing that you’re going to put into action in your firm or at your job? I want to know what you’re thinking. I want to know what your biggest takeaway is, and I’ll be sure to share it on all of our social platforms.

Now on the show, we are talking about the five ways to establish trust without giving any information away or free advice to your clients. I know for a lot of the accountants I work with, if you’re giving away free advice, it’s a desperate attempt to impress a potential client or gain a new client. You probably sit there and wonder, “Is it worth my time or did I waste a lot of time?” They didn’t even join your firm as a new client. I’m sure you’ve wondered this, but most people’s goals are to work as little as possible while making as much revenue, and growing your top-line revenue as possible.

This way of attempting to gain new clients doesn’t achieve the goal when we give away too much free advice or answer every client’s question. In this episode, I want to go over the five actionable ways that you can establish trust without giving away any free advice so you can increase your revenue while spending less time working. I was wondering and thinking about the definition of trust. I want to read it to you so you all have an idea of what this is. The noun itself is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, and strength of someone or something. That’s what trust means in the dictionary.

I don’t know if anyone has ever read the definition. Did you know that trust is a law? The law is confidence placed in a person by making that person the nominal owner of the property to be held or used for the benefit of one or others. That’s a little bit of a weird languaging. I’m not an English expert by any means. I do believe that trust is believing in the reliability, the truth, and the ability of the strength of the other person. The first thing that we want to do when working with new clients is build trust. I believe trust is the foundation of any new client enrollment that you’re going to have. Any new client has to feel comfortable.

AA 015 | Establish Trust

Establish Trust: Trust is the foundation of any new client enrolment that you’re going to have. Any new client has to feel comfortable.


I’m going to use an example that literally happened today. I was working with one of my students, and we were both working with one of his clients who has some major tax liabilities that he will have to pay in the next year if he doesn’t do anything in the next few weeks. Having trust is so important. I’m going to use this example throughout this episode so you can get a sense and understand how this might apply to one of your potential clients in your firm.

Give A Sample Of Your Work And Not The Meal

The first way is to give a sample of your work and not the meal. What do I mean by that? It’s about how you can answer a client’s question by giving them the answer but not everything. In order to get everything, you need to get paid. I’ll give you an example. With this client, because that is going to be the basis here, we’re going to call him John. John and his wife, Susie are who we met with. They both have a couple of businesses. They have a lot of real estate investments. They own a building, and there’s a massive opportunity to save money about $150,000 in taxes right now.

For us, we couldn’t give John and Susie all of the answers. Otherwise, they could have taken it, gone down the street, and said, “Can you do it for cheaper?” You’re giving your knowledge away for free at that point. What you want to know is how much content or information can you share with a potential client where they see the end goal, but you don’t give them the how or how you are going to do it. You have to be strategic in the way that you communicate. I know a lot of you are so brilliant and genius, and that’s why I love working with each and every one of you, but your genius sometimes can hurt you.

What I mean by that is when we go through let’s say a land easement, and you give away all the information on exactly what you’re going to do, then they don’t need you anymore. When we keep giving information to our clients and they don’t need us, then we don’t deliver the value or they’re not going to pay for your value. What I highly recommend is keeping things general. We want to focus on the results.

The result for John and Susie was saving $150,000 minimum, plus $30,000 in tax savings year after year. That would be the result. What I’m not focusing on is the how. How are we going to do that? That’s not relevant until they pay you. A lot of times with a lot of accountants that I’ve worked with, we always provide the how and then wonder why the result never happens because they don’t engage with you, or they go somewhere else, or they think they can do it on their own, which typically doesn’t work out for anyone. Keep that in mind. Remember, we want to give a sample, not the meal.

Another way to think about this is your favorite place to eat and get samples. When I go to ice cream places, one of my favorites is Pinkberry. I love Pinkberry yogurt. When you go there, they give you a little sample cup of yogurt but you don’t get a whole cup for free. You get a little sample. When we provide what we’re able to do and help our clients with the end results, that’s like giving a little taste out of the sample cup at the yogurt store. If they want the full cup with all the toppings, then they have to pay for it. If they want to know how, and how you provide the savings of $150,000 for the year plus 30,000 every year going forward, they’re going to have to enroll with you, pay, and engage. That’s the first way.

Show The Human Side Of The Business

Let’s move on to the second way. I know this might be a little bit of a difficult one for some of you, but it’s to show the human side of the business. As accountants, we get carried away with the numbers and what form or section this or section 139 and 141. I don’t even understand all the sections, but for your clients, that’s not interesting to them. What they want to know is your personality. For John and Susie, they’re more interested in their accountant whose name is Steven. What is Steven up to with his kids? What’s Steven up to with his wife? What is Steven up to with his brand new business where he’s able to change the lives of his clients because he has time?

When you free up time in your business and with your firm, you can provide a higher value service. It’s important. A great way to do this is to have an About-Me section on your website. I’m not sure how many of you have an About-Me section on your website, but it’s something you want to do. On your LinkedIn profile, have an About-Me section. If you have a Facebook profile, have an About-Me section, and talk to your potential clients about things other than your services as an accountant or a CPA. Steven talks a lot about his family and kids. Even with Steven, if you want to do a little bonus, you can do an About-Me video that you could put on your website or you can even email it to your clients.

Imagine this. This will change the game of the whole industry. What if each of you, as the amazing accountant and CPA that you are, made a little welcome video about who you are and sent it to all potential clients? What would that be like if all of your future clients got a little bit of your personality and knew a little bit about you before they even met with you? This is all about building trust. Trust is about building connection and rapport. By doing that and increasing trust with each other, that’s how you get to enroll more clients to work with you.

Trust is about building connection and rapport. By doing that and increasing trust with each other, that's how you get to enrol more clients to work with you. Click To Tweet

Make Yourself Available For Some Inquiries

Be sure there is a picture of your face on your website. Not just an About-Me section, but make sure to add a photo. Having some professional photos is helpful in that way as well, not just numbers. What are we talking about? Building trust. It is everything that we’re discussing here. Let’s go through the third way. It’s making yourself available for some inquiries. There might be some clients that have some questions, which is a great way where you can screen future clients, but always be reachable for people to contact you and to learn more about your services.

Having a good website is one step. Also, you might have an admin that can help answer your phone calls so you’re not the one answering them. If you’re a solo accountingpreneur, that means you’re taking in all the inquiries. It’s great to also create an FAQ page on your website. You can put facts about yourself and common questions that maybe you get asked. This is different than just handing out and dishing out free advice. This is allowing people to get to know more about you and to get to know your personality.

There are plenty of people and accountants that I’ve personally worked with. I’ve had multiple phone calls with you prior to even enrolling in one of my classes or just being of service to you to help you. If you want to get a little technical, you can even install a live chat on your website so you can answer questions in real-time. I’ve tried this personally. It’s a little bit more technical. Maybe if you have 1 or 2 people in your office, that might be something you can test out. In this day and age, it’s pretty important. Everyone is online and it’s not how it used to be.

Having a live chat box and the opportunity to communicate instantly with clients will help not only build trust but let them know that you are a human on the other side and that you’re available. If you do have a staff member on board, you can have them be your main point of contact for your clients. Having the About-Me page, having the photo or if you want to go the extra mile, doing a video is a great way. I know Steven has done that and is doing that for his business, and the ROI is great.

Anything you can do to build different touch points of trust with your clients will set you apart from other CPAs, accountants, bookkeepers, or enrolled agents who are in your area. At the end of the day, you still have competition. What I am trying to help you with is learning other ways to build trust, so the client says, “John and Susie see something unique in Steven that they didn’t see in anyone else, and he did that through all of these different touch points.”

Learn other ways to build trust. Click To Tweet

Be Clear About What Your Client Should Expect

Let’s go through the fourth way. This is one of the most important that I’ve heard a lot of complaints about, but it’s being very clear about what your client should expect. Some of you have some current clients and some are just starting out and might be starting out with brand-new clients. When talking to a potential client or even a current client, we need to be clear about our boundaries, what we will do for our clients and what we will not do for our clients. It’s having a good line in the sand. You know when they say, “Draw a line in the sand?” I’m going to give you some examples of what you can offer them and what they should expect.

One of the best ways to do this is by having clear engagement letters for any services you provide. Estimate the number of hours it would take you to do the work. If you estimate 20 hours and it’s going to take you 40, then that’s a problem. We’re not being very clear about what the client should expect. We are building trust. Trust means we should probably under-promise and over-deliver. Every time you talk to a client, that’s important. Let me give you an example of how this happened. With Steven, we were with his client, John and Susie. It was a fairly large engagement. It was a big tax plan, and there were going to be some implementation fees.

The client wanted to be clear about what they should expect to pay for the implementation fee before they committed. One of the things Steven gets to do is craft an email, clearly stating out what the boundaries and the expectations are, what is going to be entailed to implement this work, and approximately how much that’s going to cost. The client was okay with a range. Steven has to estimate how many hours it will take him. He must estimate a little higher and come in lower. Does it make sense? Think about that.

How long will it take to achieve the end result? If the end result is to save $150,000 in taxes for the year and $30,000 year over year going forward, it’s imperative that he estimates this correctly. How much access will he be allowed? In the call, the access was you can email as much as needed, and they will have a standing meeting every single Thursday from now going forward. He will have access to Steven every single week, be able to gather questions and bring him to the table. His financial picture is going to completely be 180 of what it was before.

When they’re doing tax planning engagements, which I’m sure a lot of you here have done, we’re not just recording the history anymore. We’re planning for the future, so there are a lot of moving parts in what to do. Make sure you stick to your boundaries with this. Make sure you don’t deviate off the path. Make sure that we don’t allow our clients to take advantage of us where then we say, “I’m not getting paid enough anymore to do this kind of work.” That’s the thought that I know a lot of you have.

AA 015 | Establish Trust

Establish Trust: Make sure you don’t deviate off the path, and don’t allow our clients to take advantage of you.


You have a client who let’s say wants to do a business tax return, and they want it for under $1,000. A lot of you are just sick of dealing with the clients that are wheeling and dealing on price. A lot of this has to do with what I’m talking about, establishing trust. Number four is being very clear about what your client should expect of you and where they cannot cross the boundaries. You’re not going to have a daily call with your client. Steven will not be talking to John and Susie every single day. He doesn’t have the bandwidth for that, and it’s not necessary, but he committed to once a week. That’s my example of that.

Make Sure You Follow Through

The fifth way is very important. It’s to make sure that you follow through. In this day and age, there are so many accountants and a lot of accounting firms. It’s easy to find information about you, the good and the bad. If you aren’t reliable with your clients, they might post about it. They might write a bad Yelp review. I shared an example in the past about one of my students who has a few hundred Yelp reviews. Even in my last business or any business, I feel bad news traveled a lot faster than the good news. We want to be careful because the bad news does unfortunately travel faster than the good news.

For those of you that don’t have a Yelp account, this is a great way to build trust. If you want a sixth way as a bonus, create yourself a Yelp account, which I have discussed before. A Yelp account for an accounting firm is an amazing way to generate new clients. It’s a great way to get testimonials from happy clients. A Yelp account is a testimonial reel for your firm. Don’t focus so much on getting new clients and forgetting about your current clients. I always say think about the 80-20 rule. Where does 80% of your revenue come from? If 80% of your revenue comes from the majority of your current clients, we don’t want to forget about the core base of our current client base, which a lot of us do sometimes. We take it for granted.

You have a client who’s been around twenty years, yet you’re giving more focus on the brand new client. What if we flipped it and make sure that we follow through on everything that we say? An example is Steven. Steven owes John and Susie an email about what the next steps are to implement this plan, and what the estimated cost is of what would be involved. He’s going to craft an email to send to them, and he promised it to them tonight.

Steven will follow through. If we follow through, keep to our word, and stay in integrity with that, that’s what’s going to set us apart from a lot of other people. As accounting professionals, and I’m sure each of you has experienced this, we get a little busy. When you get a little busy, you forget to do things. Make sure you stay on top of it and have your admin help you. Put it into play because these things I’m telling you about are real. I literally experienced all of it in building trust. When you can build trust, people will pay you premium fees for doing this type of work. This plan that Steven got a new client was a $64,000 tax plan.

People need your help, but you have to do the work in order to establish trust and connection, in order to enroll these clients and work with you. I invite you to listen to this goal and put it into practice, but we want to focus on not giving away your expertise for free. We want to know your value. Remember, think about how we’re going to focus on the results, and we’re not going to explain how we got there. We can explain the how once they become a client. Until they become a client, the how is irrelevant as long as you’re confident about the result. I know I gave you six ways to build trust, but what if you focus on the three that resonated the most with you? Put it into practice, and see what happens in your firm. I want to thank you all. I want you to put this into practice. Thank you for joining me.

Thank you all so much. I hope you put at least three of those ways into practice. If you have a quick second, I would be grateful if you could leave me a rating and a review on iTunes, and also subscribe to the show so you never miss a show. I always love hearing from you. One last thing before I let you go, if you ever feel like you’re giving away too much information for free or you’re tired of not getting paid what you’re worth, you’re just like many accountants who feel like you’re on this cashflow roller coaster. I do have a solution for you.

You can join me for my free Accountants’ Masterclass over at TheAbundantAccountant.com to learn how to communicate your value, collect higher fees with confidence, and get paid for what you’re worth so you can work a little bit less and make more. I go into a lot more detail than we did now. Once again, you can visit TheAbundantAccountant.com. Thank you all and have an amazing day.


Important Links


About Michelle Weinstein

AA 015 | Establish TrustI’ve earned the nickname “The Pitch Queen” by helping entrepreneurs and accounting professionals learn how to sell high-value services to their dream clients – without feeling sleazy, pushy, or desperate. And I’ve even been told that I make selling fun!
I show my clients how to have empowered sales conversations, own their value, and confidently charge higher rate so they can earn more, work less, and have the life of abundance they desire. My unique and proven sales system is currently helping CPAs add $10k to $50k in additional revenue every month.



Pin It on Pinterest

Share This