Do you know how to execute strategies to grow your business? In this episode, join your host Michelle Weinstein as she sits down for a conversation with today’s guest Eric Green to discuss the difference between sales and marketing. Eric Green is a managing partner in Green & Sklarz LLC, a boutique tax law firm that focuses on civil and criminal taxpayers. You should not encounter any lead problems if you are firm in your marketing efforts to grow your business. The leads and opportunities you get from your good and successful marketing could eventually lead to an increased number of sales. Tune in and learn more!
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The Difference Between Sales & Marketing: Key Things You Need To Know To Get Paid What You’re Worth
Our special guest is Eric Green. He is the managing partner in Green & Sklarz LLC, which is a boutique tax law firm in New York and Connecticut. He’s also the founder of Tax Rep LLC, which coaches accountants, attorneys, and tax professionals to build their own IRS representation practice. He’s also the host of the weekly Tax Rep Network Podcast. He’s also an author of the Accountants Guide to IRS Collection, Resolution Tax Debts, And Resolving Tax Payroll Debts.
Before we welcome Eric to the show, I want to ask some of you because I keep getting emails about how is giving discounts your strategy to your legacy clients going for you? I keep hearing, “I can’t raise my rates to my clients. My clients will never pay these fees. They’re just going to leave me if I do. Why do I keep doing this?” What I found is that most accounting firm owners are typically leaving $5,000 to $15,000 on the table by heavily discounting fees almost to their cost or negative.
Sometimes once you figure out how many hours it takes to do that work, you’re upside down from your legacy clients just so they can stay with you every single year. On the surface, it probably seems like a great idea, but on the conversion rate side, discounting to do that is probably the worst thing you could possibly do to your value, to your reputation, and to your worth.
If you’re sick and tired of feeling like you’ve been run over by a train on a train track, of feeling like a commodity, and of not getting paid every penny of your worth, then let’s have a chat. Head on over to TheAbundantCall.com. You’ll talk to Denise or me, and we would love to explore what opportunities you have in your firm and how much revenue you’ve left on the table. We’ll dissect it all for you and that call is completely free. Let’s welcome Eric to the show. Just because your audience and your people don’t know who you are already, why don’t you share with all the Abundant Accountant readers who you are and what you do.
I am Eric Green. I’m a tax attorney with a firm called Green & Sklarz, but I started a number of years ago Tax Rep Network, a coaching program for tax practitioners who want to build a representation practice. I have the weekly Tax Rep Network Podcast.
He’s a genius.
For my readers, who have not read you the first three times you’ve been on, why don’t you tell my audience who you are?
I am Michelle. I have a company called the Abundant Accountant, and I help you get wealthy and be appreciated by your clients. You get paid upfront. You never have to discount your fees. You never have to justify your prices so you can enjoy the work that you do and not have to work with too many people, but just work with the clients that you love and want to work with. That’s what I do. I’m very excited about this conversation because I am so eager to know that this is our fourth episode together. I’d love to know how much wealthier you are because of what you’ve implemented that I’ve suggested and what your new base fees are for an offer and compromise as well.
For those of you who’ve been reading, our minimum retainer is $5,000. We charge $1,500 for a consult, and I have to tell you that we have had very few who turn us down. I’m trying to remember. I can only think of one that’s turned us down. Usually, if they turn us down, if you press them a little bit, what you realize is they don’t owe very much, and they would never have been good fits for the firm anyway. Generally speaking, they pay it. My sister will tell them is, “We charge $1,500 to do the workup. Based on that, we’ll know if we can make an offer and compromise if we can do what an installment agreement will look like if you’re uncollectable.”
If we do decide to go forward with an offer, that $5,000 fee is reduced by $1,500 because we’ve already done a lot of the work. Once you explain that, what they realize is, “I can only put $1,500 down. I’m going to have a good idea of what we’re doing. That counts toward the $5,000, sign me up,” versus they pay $6,000 to one of those companies on satellite radio to be told that they can’t do anything. I had one of these. The husband paid $6,000, and the company came back and said, “We can’t help you,” and they took the $6,000. That’s where we are. If you want to go back and read the episodes with Michelle, you’ll know her guide going back and forth about, “I used to be at $500 and we went to $995.”
We then went to $1,500, and that’s where we are now. Although I will tell you, we have pushed a few people into the $2,000 range. That’s where we’re getting a lot of pushback. Knowing that I have 23 people to keep busy, as much as I always want to maximize what I’m worth, I also need to keep everyone here busy, but no, absolutely.Change happens when the pain of staying the same becomes worse than the pain of change. Click To Tweet
I’m very excited about it too because there are a lot of readers who don’t know the difference between sales and marketing. When this issue came up, I said, “There’s only one person I need to get to talk about this, and that’s Michelle.” Hence why we were dragging you back because I’d love to see your thoughts on this and dive into this a little bit as far as what is the difference between sales and marketing.
I’m very excited to talk about this because I’ve had a few of your Tax Rep Network members reach out. The biggest thing that I hear from all of them is, “I need more leads.” What we realized after talking for about an hour is that we think it’s a lead problem. A lead is when someone calls you and asks you, “How much do you charge? I’m interested. I heard about you through Bob or whatever it is.” That would be a lead. That’s the contact of the person that’s reaching out for help. That lead came from what I call marketing efforts. A marketing effort is how do you generate interest from somebody to pick up the phone and call, email, or contact you through the website, whatever it may be.
How do you get the “business activity” generated interest to work with you? The sale is the transaction between you and your prospect, meaning they pay you. It’s an exchange of money. The sale is also what I consider conversion. Eric, I have the best example for you. It was one of your members. For the sake of this discussion, we’re going to call him Bob.
I am not going to give out any real names. Bob is in a job, and he wants to get his firm going well. He booked a phone call with me to talk about whatever it was that he wanted to get behind the curtain on. What he realized was that he sent out or he got about 100 leads. It is what we calculated in the 2 to 3 years he’s been attempting to get this firm off the ground.
He wants to quit his job, but he only has eleven clients. The emails that he had are considered leads. However, he only had ten transactions, which means sales, the top thing on your P&L statement. You’re either going to say total revenue or total sales, depending on how you categorize that. I said, “Bob, it sounds like you don’t have a lead problem. We just figured out that you’ve had 100 people contact you over the last few years, and you only got ten to pay you. You only were able to help 10 out of 100, which means you have 90 other people that might be having their wages garnished. They might have a lean on something. They might have all those things that you all help your clients with.”
That is what we’re going to talk about because that’s the big misunderstanding. I get many of you contacting me, “I just need more leads.” I go, “That’s not a sales problem. That’s a marketing problem.” If you can’t convert, which is what happened to Bob, he has no process or plan for conversion. He just shows up, and I don’t even know what he does. We didn’t even get that far.
My point is that he had 90 other opportunities from his marketing efforts, referral efforts, from a Google ad effort, or whatever that advertising piece was that generated the interest in his services. What I said is, “You don’t have a lead problem. You have 90 people you could reach back out to and help if you had a sales process and a process on how to communicate with them in order to help them get out of the pain that they’re in.” If someone is having money sucked out of their bank account or getting sucked out of their checks, that must suck. That cannot be a good thing.
A lot of people don’t track this. The app that I developed, which is partly what I focused on, is that trip campaign to close people after it because what I found, in our niche, is generating leads is not difficult now. I have to tell you, we close almost everybody, which are the sale. The marketing is when Eric goes out. The conference, the blogging that I do, or the newsletter I put out that’s your marketing. A lot of people don’t consider how many leads have come in versus how many have I closed because that’s fascinating there. It’s almost like they’re going to play a numbers game of if I can close 10% if I can get 1,000 leads instead of focusing on, why am I only closing 10%?
Some of you spend money on marketing. I don’t know who it was. It was another person of yours whom I talked to, and they’re doing advertising. We got down to the bottom of it and realized that this person also had about 200 opportunities that weren’t tracked or missed out on. I said, “You might want to shut down the advertising stuff. That’s a waste of money right now.” What is the challenge is, for the example with Bob, how do you get another 90 of those people that you didn’t help out? How do you email, call, text them, meet with them and see how you can help 10 to 20 more of those people? I bet not much has changed. If anything, it got worse in their world.
Most people don’t enroll with you. This is crucial to understand because it’s the same thing when you all contact me. If we don’t end up working together, your situation doesn’t change a whole lot when we talk again in 6 to 12 months, and the same goes for your clients. If they’re in deep water with the IRS or they owe a lot of money, and the wages are being garnished and Eric, maybe you can speak to this a little bit. I’m going to guess that if you talk to them several months later, if they’re not in jail yet, their situation didn’t get better all by itself. Is that an accurate statement?
Yes. There’s an old saying, “The change happens when the pain of staying the same becomes worse than the pain of change.” What ultimately happens, for my clients, is the IRS will go quiet. They’re like, “Maybe they’ll go away.” They don’t. I’ll tell you what’s amazing, “How do you build a $1 million rep practice?” It’s one of the biggest changes ever.
When I realized I had to take money upfront for the consult. If you don’t, you’re going to spend an awful lot of your time doing free consults all day with people who are not invested in the process. The first year I tracked it, I realized I was getting five $500 consults a month, which for me at that point, was an extra $30,000 that I had been giving away for free prior. Now, I have to tell you the truth. We don’t need leads. The phone rings off the hook.
Tracking them is imperative because you could also become an advertising agency for your membership. If you have too many leads, you could pass them on to the member.
That’s what we’re doing. What’s happening is because of my speaking, I get calls from all over the country. What we decided internally is we can’t handle this. It makes sense to hand it off to the members. If I can spread the wealth, why wouldn’t I? That’s what we’re doing. Cases that come in, if we have a member in their area, send it to the member. Even if we don’t, if it’s the kind of thing I know I have members who can handle, I’ll give them 1 or 2 members’ names. Let them call them. One of the critical things if you’re reading this is the people that you don’t take or the people that don’t close with you, you need to track that.
“How do you track it? Do you have an elf that lives under your desk that tracks us? What do you do?” What we do is when you call, we don’t tell you yes or no. My assistant will take the information on our intake sheet, which gets circulated, which means at the end of the month, we took on 18 new clients, but we have 30 intake sheets. “Here are the twelve we didn’t take. Here’s what happened. They didn’t sign up. We sent them somewhere else. It was too small.” Sometimes people call us, and it’s something we don’t do. We do get those.
We do every single intake, which is, by the way, you’re listening. That’s not like a consult. It’s a five-minute conversation with my assistant, who has a form that says, “I will take the information and we’ll get back to you. If it’s something we can do, if it’s not, we’ll give you some names of people that we think can help you.” We take their information. What is it, federal, state, or both? Is it an audit, collection matter, criminal investigation?
It is roughly what dollars are we talking about? That gets circulated. What it does is enable us to see everything that comes in. We have data to look at. How are we doing? What is happening? Who do we not close to? What do we think happened there? You need the information, and a simple way to do it would be to capture all of your leads so that later you can sit down and say, “Who did I close? Who did I not?”
If you don’t have a system or an assistant, just open up a spreadsheet, Google Sheets, or Excel work wonders. This doesn’t take much effort. You don’t need any beautiful system. I told Bob to make a spreadsheet of the 90 people that he did not contact. I said, “You don’t have a lead or marketing problem right now.” Here’s the other major thing for number two, add up how much money you’ve spent on Google ads or Facebook ads or any form of advertising that you’ve done and see if your conversions and your return on that investment of that money is paying off. That’s the other thing I see. No one tracks that either.
How much is it costing you to get each one of these leads? How much does it cost you to get each client?
It’s your Customer Acquisition Costs, the CAC. You also have the cost to get that person to talk to you or to reach out. Again, the marketing effort is where we are generating prospects. We’re generating people interested or if you’re reading the Abundant Accountant Podcast, for all those tax resolution experts reading, that’s for you. How do I get the prospect interested? When they a customer becomes a client, they pay. There is a financial transaction that happens, and that is the sales piece. However, there’s a little middle ground. I call this the wobble area. This is where most everyone reading has a difficult time. “How do I get those 90 people to say, ‘Yes, I need your help?’ What do I say in order to get my new client?” Client means they’ve paid you.
That’s where the challenge lies. That’s where the sales process is important, not winging your conversations, not going off the seat of your pants, just thinking whatever you say is going to work. A lot of people’s strategies, “Let me do these consults for free and see how many new clients I can get.” You’ve done 30 consults, and you’re like, “I have no money and no revenue to show for this. Now they don’t even want my service,” because most people don’t value something that’s free. Some of you might be arguing because you’re like, “You and I had a phone call.” I understand. That’s a little different because I have that in my marketing plan. I build that in.
I am here to help and serve you and get behind the curtain of what is not working. I’m going to be a mirror and ask you questions that you’ve never even thought about in your firm before. I am willing to give one hour of my time because I value myself at $1,000 an hour, sometimes more now. I say, “If I talk to you, I’m giving you not only my time, but that’s part of my marketing efforts.” I’m building that in.
It does depend on the service. For instance, with estate planning and I don’t do much with estate planning anymore, but I do have existing estate planning clients. We have an estate planning practice at the firm for those clients who call up for estate planning. I historically would always give them a half-hour at least because it’s a relationship. They’re shopping. When it comes to IRS stuff, it’s very transactional. They’re here for their problem, and then they’re gone.
That’s the same for my business. It’s very relationship-built. If we’re going to work together, we’re going to be together for a good two and a half months, if not longer. Some of my clients have been around for 3 or 4 years, but it’s a relationship. I’m willing to invest that hour to see if we’re the right fit to work together and if I can help you. That’s what it comes down to. The tax resolution might be more of a transactional thing where you can charge for that consultation upfront.You don’t have to work with everybody. If someone makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t work with that person. Click To Tweet
If you don’t, you’re going to spend a lot of time giving away free information.
You don’t want to do that because free information doesn’t get them and you anywhere. Those people who need tax resolution, they’re already not following the law or rules, for the most part. We don’t want to incentivize, “You don’t have to pay me anything. Keep going.” It’s like a ticket. If you don’t get your car registered, they’re going to give you a ticket.
It’s like if you don’t follow the rules, don’t pay your taxes, don’t do something, and you try to hide from the IRS, you’re going to have to pay a premium to get out of it. We can’t reward poor behavior with something free. They’re never going to change. I want to give a few examples so you all can understand. Should we go through some examples of some of your marketing efforts, I’ll share some of mine, and then I’ll share some that you might find on Google, something pretty general. What are some of your marketing efforts? If I hear a sales effort, am I allowed to tell you that I don’t think that’s a marketing effort?
The marketing effort is, for lack of a better term, spewing information into the nether. My talks to large groups and my blog it’s not directed at any particular individual. It becomes a sales effort once there’s a connection. Once there’s a human that comes up to me at the end of the talk that says, “I have a client that I need to talk to you about,” or the person who emails me from the blog and says, “Can I set up a time to call you?” That’s when you shift from marketing over to sales because now I’m working to close them. To get the retainer, to get the consult fee.
That’s all a money exchange. Anytime there’s a currency exchange of something of value. In the United States, we’re talking about a dollar. Once the dollars hit your bank account or you are like, “Here’s the invoice for my consult that’s $1,500 or $2,000. How would you like to pay? Credit card, ACH, or which is best that they give to you.” That is now the sales efforts.
Your talks from the stage are a marketing effort. Our episode is a marketing effort. Let’s say some of you are doing direct mail or sending emails out to people. That is a marketing effort. If you’re posting on social media, that is a marketing effort. If you’re doing any digital marketing, that would be Facebook ads, Google ads, SEO, or any of that, that would be a marketing advertising effort.
The second that you get the phone call or that you have someone come up to you at an in-person event and start talking to you because they have a client they need help with, that shifts immediately into the sales effort. That’s where it becomes the enrollment process is what I call it. Some of you might use the word convince. I don’t like that word. I don’t think you need to convince anybody.
If they’re in deep waters with the IRS, it’s clear that they’ve got to do something. When we enroll them into hiring you and your firm, that becomes the sales effort. That requires a relationship of some sort. That requires some interpersonal interactions. It requires some persuasion on why you’re a little unique and different from somebody else. It might require that you’re a tax attorney or an EA.
You can review the transcripts. You can see all these things and be unique and different and say, “I want you to help me. How do we start?” That is the sales conversation. The leads where you’re getting them from a podcast or Eric speaking events, that is your marketing efforts. Those are the main differences between what is sales and what is marketing. When we think there’s a sales problem, it’s not the leads. I would say out of every single person I’ve ever spoken to that told me they had a lead problem, we uncovered that they had zero lead problems. We had a conversion problem.
A conversion is if you talked to the person at the back of the room about their client that needs help on a case. You have a great conversation and you tell them it’s a $5,000 engagement. They say they’re going to get back to you, but you never hear from them. Your conversion is zero on that and that’s the challenge. It’s how do we enroll people to end up working with you, see the value in you and pay you the price where they see the value. You don’t have to discount your fees or justify them.
I have to tell you what’s interesting. I have the benefit of being able to see members where they are in the lifecycle of their business. We have people that just got their EA and they’re starting. They’re going through the training and I’m doing a lot of technical answering questions. We have people that are like, “How do I get more leads? How do I close people?”
I have people, many of them are my platinum members. Our platinum level is not really a level of membership. They don’t have any access to any differently. It’s the mastermind group where we do a lot more interactive live. We keep it to ten people or less because it’s fairly intensive, but these are people who have hit a certain level and are now trying to take their practice to the next level.
It’s virtually never a lead issue, and it’s not a sales issue. What I find fascinating is they like me. They don’t have a problem generating leads or closing people. Their problem is more on processes. They can’t manage the flow. I’ll give you an example. We had one of our platinum members who do a lot of radio ads in her area, which is something I don’t do.
I thought she was asking me about how should she do radio? I know this is something she does. They were not set up to handle the amount of calls that came in. What she ended up doing was generating a massive number of leads that they literally could not get back to. One of the lessons the mastermind group got out of that is you need to set up a foundation.
Bob, who calls 10 of the 100, why didn’t he close the 90? Did he not get back to them? If not, why could he not get back to them? One of the things that I have noticed with the accounting audience is that they’ve been doing cheap 1040s and some small businesses, and now they start getting this work, and when they’ll call them, they’ll say, “I’m too busy.” “What do you want to do?” “I’d like to make more money per hour but to do what you do. I like to do just the resolution work.”
“Get rid of the 1040s.” “I don’t know.” I said, “Here’s what you should do. You go back, and I want you to come back to me in a week. What is the average that you’re making on a 1040?” They’ll come back and tell me, “$200 or $235.” I’m like, “What are you doing? You’re cheaper than H&R Block. No one should be cheaper than H&R Block.” What I told this person, and this is my thing. If you’re reading this, we’re going to be facing another tax season in the coming months. If you dread the sound of that and the onslaught of taxes, that will tell you there are some accountants that love it?
No better time of year to make money? It’s making rain. If the thought of tax season makes you want to cry, here’s what you do. First of all, rank all of your clients. The deeds and the apps, just fire them or get rid of them. Send them a letter, “We’re simply too busy. We will not be able to do your return anymore. We just give you an FYI. We’re not holding any of your records, or enclosed are copies of the original records we’re holding. Here are your original records. We wish you the best of luck.”
If you find that offensive, why? It’s your business. You work with who you want. Just because I decided to walk into your accounting office, it doesn’t mean you have to take me. We get that. I’ll get calls and people are like, “If I’m going to be a client.” “Who says you’re my client? I’m not saying I’ll help you.” This is what happens when you turn 50 and become crotchety.
Crotchety? What does that mean?
It’s a side benefit of success. I’ve discovered I don’t need to work with everybody. If I don’t want to work with you, I’m not going to work with you. What I’ll tell the client is, “I haven’t chosen to take you on as a client yet. I pick my clients. They don’t pick me. By the way, just for saying that, your fees are going up.” What I would do is the other people, they’re all going up to $50 this year, and the members will say, “I’ll lose clients.” Good. Make more, do less. If you want to know how to do what you want, you don’t have to get rid of your 1040 business, but you’ve got to get it under control. You need to get paid what you want to get paid with what you’re worth and get rid of the people you don’t want to work with.
It brings me to this third and very special marketing effort that I have found most of every single accounting firm owner typically leaves $5,000 to $15,000 minimum every single year or month, depending on the firm revenue you’re at right now. You’re going to like this one because some people think that a marketing tactic to get a new client is to heavily discount your fees almost to the cost of your time to your current clients.
You think that in the future, you’re going to eventually be able to upgrade them to your non-discounted or higher dollar services. Is that possible? It is, but it is absolutely the worst strategy you could ever do to get a new client. I also met this other gentleman. I can’t remember if I met him through you, but we’ll call him Jack.
This is the question. What have you tried around your sales that hasn’t worked? What have you tried to do to increase your sales that haven’t worked? Jack said, “Michelle, I justify my fees. I cringe when I have to share the price, I then discount my fees just to get the client. It works because I have a 100% close rate. Now I’m exhausted, depleted, and I’m at capacity. I don’t know what to do.” This way of getting new clients, especially on tax resolution, is probably the quickest way to put yourself up against a brick wall, start beating your head on it and go, “What the heck did I just get myself into?”
To upgrade them and to do work for high-dollar services, once you’ve started that way, is the worst strategy to retain any clients. Jack was successful in raising his fees by three times. I’m sure Eric did it too. Eric starts at $500 for a consult. Now that is $1,500, somewhere $2,000. It’s possible, but you can’t just think that I’m going to squeeze bigger and better discounts or whatever the heck you’re thinking just to get a new client. It is the most outdated marketing effort I have ever seen. As you said, you don’t need all the clients. You just need the right ones.
This is especially in my world, but it’s the same in the tax preparation business too. People think my clients are small clients. Let me explain something. Small, unsophisticated clients are the worst. They’re the worst cases and most difficult cases. I would rather have somebody who comes in. They’ll owe over $1 million. They were successful entrepreneurs. Things happened, but I’m dealing with somebody who’s generally educated, pretty sophisticated, and can get me what he needs. We can work together. The people that come in who can’t get their records together, they’re a mess and they’re broke. These are not good cases. One is you’re going to work twice as hard to get them where they need to be. They can’t pay you.
What happens is I’ll get a call or an email. If you’re a Tax Rep member, we have an Ask Eric where they can just message me directly. I get an average of 237 emails a day. I tell my members, “If you don’t use that, there’s a good chance I’m ignoring you.” What happens is I’ll give a talk, let’s say for AICPA, and there are 400 accountants now who listen to that, who all think now we’re friends. They’re emailing me. I try to respond to people briefly but for the most part, they get ignored. My members have ways. When I get their message, it’s flagged that it’s a Tax Rep member.
Anyway, I’ll get these messages that say, “Eric, I got this new client, but it’s $700,000. It’s too big for me. I almost want to reach through the computer and punch them.” I’ll email back saying, “This is perfect for you. Why is it too big?” “Based on the number of zeros.” A) Who cares? It’s the same process. B) Because they owe so much, it’s less likely they can fully pay, which means they’re a better offer candidate. C) They’re probably somewhat sophisticated.
I’ve had some members who we have handhold through this because that’s what we do. We consult along the way. A Tax Rep to me is, “You’re not out there hanging by yourself.” What ultimately comes out is, “It wasn’t that bad.” I’m like, “No, don’t think that because of an extra zero that now you need a lawyer.” Why? It is because it is the same process.You really need to set up a foundation in having a business. Click To Tweet
In fact, the penalty abatement on the $17 million case that I did was the easiest abatement I ever had to do. It’s the biggest in numbers, but who cares? It was a client that was literally making filings in court to try to get distribution, to pay the taxes. I submitted all this to the government saying, “Our client was trying to get you paid for two years. The court didn’t force the other ones to distribute any of the money. It was locked up. What do you want us to do?”
I remember the appeals officer came back and said, “This was the fastest turnaround ever. It’s like $15.8 million of penalties. It was the easiest penalty abatement case I’ve ever had.” My folks get hung up about the zeros. I don’t think you need to underscore and be cheap to get. That will probably be the worst client you’ll ever have. They will not automatically go up, which you will probably do deep work for a couple of years and then end up firing them.
They will fire them or you’re going to have to come up with ways to add more value in services to be able to increase the fee and keep them around. On tax resolution, that’s a short-lived thing. It’s more transactional. They’re in and out. However, I know some of you are also getting into tax planning with them. Maybe you want to help them get their business on track and do their bookkeeping and other things. Again, clients will quickly get used to paying less and expecting that they won’t ever have to pay more or full price ever. That is how you are seen as a commodity and services like what each of you offers is heavily relationship-dependent.
Promoting your service and then only to get to the end and give the discounts or do something for free and do a consult for free, you’re just hurting yourself. You’re also hurting the results of the clients that they need. They need to get out of this terrible situation they’re in with the IRS. The problem is, if you don’t help them, they’re either going to not do anything or they might go and get some service like what you were saying earlier where they paid $6,000 and they couldn’t even help them. Those are the two alternatives. If your sales process isn’t on point and what they need is a certainty, that’s what this is about.
It’s not only about the relationship that you have with them and having it heavily weighed on the relationship, but it’s also about the certainty they feel that they have when they’re making the decision to hire you. That certainty does not require a discount. It’s the worst thing to do and it hurts your conversion rates because when I was telling you about Jack, he had a 100% conversion rate, and he said, “It’s because I discounted everything. I justified the price just to get them to say yes, and now I’m screwed.” Which do you choose?
We have almost a full room now. It’s a ballroom in Vegas. For those of you who are joining us, it’s going to be a fun-filled two days. We have quite the lineup. For those of you who don’t know, on December 13th and 14th, 2021, we will be at the Suncoast Hotel And Casino in Vegas Live. We are in person. Right now, Vegas does have a mask mandate. The virus cases seem to be falling. We’ll see where we are in December, but it’s two full days on resolving cases. What the plan is, Roger Nemeth, Bill Nemeth, and I will be spending most of the two days.
I’m going to put the caveat on that because Michelle is going to be doing there in a moment. For the first day and almost a half, a little three-quarter is we’re going to be talking about resolving cases, but we’re doing it on case studies. It’s going to be case-based. Rather than us lecturing at you, this is a roll up your sleeves, how do we resolve a case, and let’s go through it. It’s very workshop-oriented. It’s going to be interesting for those of you. We have a handful, roughly about thirteen seats left in the room. On the second day, the last hour and a half, Michelle is going to be wrapping up. Eric, Roger, and Bill have walked you through.
Here are the cases, here’s what you have to do, and here’s a roadmap. How do you get paid? In other words, how do you make money doing this? How do you do the ask? How do you justify your fees, which you don’t have to? It’s the same with my platinum members because they’re the more advanced they understand the process. When they can walk the prospective client through it, what they know is, “This guy knows what he’s talking about. This makes sense.” The sale happens when you want to make sure is that you’re getting paid for what you’re worth. We do not discount. I learned that lesson the hard way.
How did you learn? Tell everybody how did you learn the hard way. I know we don’t have a lot of time, but I know we want to hear the story because this story could impact someone reading. This story could be like, “I’m not going to do what Eric did.”
Let me tell you the truth. The truth is I used to do free consults and I ended up hooking up with two former IRS attorneys. When he found out I was doing free consults, he’s like, “What are you doing?” “I just charged $500 and we would do an hour-long phone call. While on a call, I’d be working this out.” I then meet Michelle. Michelle is like, “You’re telling them how to solve their case for $500. No. Your $1,000 starting now.”
If you listen, you’ll hear me go, “Huh?” I was not expecting that, so I came back, and my group was like, “That’s a lot of money. Let’s do $995.” In the next episode Michelle and I did, she’s like, “I gave you some homework a few months ago. How are we doing?” I said, “We went to $995.” Michelle said, “Fine. I can live with that. How have we done?” I said, “We’re 14 for 14.” She said, “You closed all 14. You’re too cheap. Go to $1,500.”
With Jack, where he is at a 100% close rate, if you have a 100% close rate, your fees are way too low. You’re doing that outdated marketing tactic that we spoke about, which is discounting your fees just to get a client to say yes, and that strategy will not get you what you want.
I have also upped my hourly fees across the board.
What were they in and what are they now?
They were $475 before. They are now $575. Everyone else from the staff also went up. It’s the same thing for raising the 1040s. Your rent goes up. The software goes up. The people that work for you might want to raise. I don’t know about you. I like getting raises. The cost of everything goes up. If you’re charging the same thing you were a few years ago, something is wrong. First of all, everything goes up. The clients you don’t like, they leave when you go up because either they’re going to pay to annoy you, or they got to leave. The ones who are bad, just fire them, get rid of them. You will be happier and more well-adjusted and sleep better at night knowing you don’t have to deal with those people.
You can’t have a $1 million tax resolution firm on the basis of outdated marketing tactics, discounting your fees, taking on every person, and having a 100% conversion rate. You got a bunch of things not going for you. That’s what we were talking about at the beginning. I would say everyone should apply to come to Eric’s Event in Vegas. There are only twelve seats left and I can’t wait to be there.
My team and I will be there all day Monday and Tuesday. We will be there for the full two days. I have a great team. If you’re willing to pull back the curtain, see what’s going on, being sick and tired of leaving all that money on the table, feeling like you work for free and that you’re a non-profit, this is the time to come, learn and fix it. You don’t have to deal with it, and you don’t have to deal with another tax season.
With that Michelle, thank you for doing my show.
Thank you for doing my show. It was so great to do it all at once, and I am looking forward to seeing some of you.
We’ll see everyone in Vegas, December 13th and 14th, 2021.
Thanks for having me.
What an amazing episode with Eric. I hope you all have a clear definition of what is the difference between marketing and sales? What do my leads mean to me? How are the leads valued? How much money maybe have I left on the table, and how can you get a spreadsheet and organize all of those opportunities that might’ve slipped through the cracks?
If you believe that discounting the fees is not working out for you anymore, you don’t want to do that, and you know that it’s been a horrible marketing tactic that’s gotten you stuck into the ground with dirt over your head, now there’s grass growing on top of you and you need to climb yourself out of this hole that you’re in, remember, you can book a call with Denise or me over at TheAbundantCall.com.
If you are absolutely sick and tired of discounting fees to your legacy clients, and you have no idea how to raise them, if you are sick and tired of feeling like a commodity, and that people keep comparing you to the other firm down the street or H&R Block, and if you are sick and tired of thinking that if I squeeze a little bit more discounts than I could charge them more in a year or two, and then you calculate that you’ve left $5,000 to $15,000 on the table, Denise and I would love to explore what you could do differently. Head on over to TheAbundantCall.com. We look forward to connecting with you. For those of you going to Vegas, I look forward to meeting you in person, and I hope you all have a beautiful day and enjoyed our bonus episode on the show. Have a great day.
- Green & Sklarz LLC
- Tax Rep LLC
- Tax Rep Network Podcast
- Accountants Guide to IRS Collection, Resolution Tax Debts, And Resolving Tax Payroll Debts
- The Sales Pitch Follow-Up with Michelle Weinstein – Apple Podcasts
- Tax Rep Network Conference
About Eric Green
Eric is a managing partner in Green & Sklarz LLC, a boutique tax law firm with offices in Connecticut and New York. The focus of Attorney Eric L. Green’s practice is civil and criminal taxpayer. He is the founder of Tax Rep LLC which coaches accountants and attorneys on building their own IRS Representation practices, and is the host of the weekly Tax Rep Network Podcast. Eric is also the author of the Accountants Guides to IRS Collection, Resolving Tax Debts and Resolving Payroll Tax debts.