We have to know our value and sell our services to ideal clients with the fees we deserve. So, it’s very important to know the right time to find and hire a salesperson for your business. Join Michelle Weinstein and Debra Angilleta as they delve into building your firm with less volume but with more high-paying clients. Debra is the CEO of Sales Mastery. In this episode, she will discuss a different perspective in your sales process for clarity and build a framework that would best benefit the organization. She emphasizes the powerful connection when it comes to our first experiences with sales. Furthermore, she shares how to get the ideal client profiles that we need to increase sales, resulting in business growth.
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The Right Time To Hire A Salesperson To Sell For You With Debra Angilleta
I’m super happy to be back with you all. Before we welcome our very special guest, I have some exciting news. This is if you want a done-for-you way to build your firm faster with less volume and more high paying clients, convert more high-quality clients without doing any cold calling and having full control over your time and stop wasting hours looking for new clients online because you’re never going to have to do this again, I’m introducing you all to the number one Abundant Accountant Sales App. You can learn more over at TheAbundantAccountant.com/app. This is a way to improve your revenue in your firm faster than any way you’ve tried before and 10X your sales.
This can eliminate Infusionsoft, Keap or any of the CRMs on the front-end sales side of the process. It is all done for you with yours truly. It is an app that’s preloaded with effortless connection tools. It identifies your hottest prospects and offers real-time notifications and more right in the palm of your smartphone or it even has the desktop version. You also get a two-week trial with it. You can start your fourteen-day trial over at TheAbundantAccountant.com/app.
Our special guest works with accountants and bookkeepers who want to help their clients see their value, charge more for their services but struggle with sales calls. She is like me. She has a program very similar to mine called Sales Mastery but it’s more of a hands-off approach. It’s an online eCourse. She shows how to be more consultative so that you can become the go-to expert and get the right clients to easily say yes to you.
Deb is very similar to me. She has spent years in the sales trenches having over 20,000 sales calls. She knows exactly what works and truly what doesn’t work. We’re going to have a great discussion on, “When is the right time to hire a salesperson in your firm? When can you farm it out? When is the best time to do that?” She is also in the sales trenches still. She has her own business. She works with multimillion-dollar companies and offers profit-first services for her customers. If you want to learn more about Deb, her website is MasterMySales.com. Let’s welcome Deb to the show.
Welcome to the show, Debra.
Michelle, thanks so much for having me.
Thank you so much for being here with us. It’s an honor to have you here. I’m very excited because I love when I talk with other sales experts and help all accounting professionals across the board in the area of sales because they know a lot of us to get jittery and blank faces. We don’t know what to say and wing all the conversations. Here at the show, we’re all about helping in that area of sales because without sales, there are no profits. We have a hobby business instead of a real business. Can you share about you, your background and what you do? I know you’re a Profit First Professional as well but you have an area of specialty of sales. I want to have the readers know it directly from you instead of me.How we think about things affects our sales process. Click To Tweet
You’ve done such a great job supporting this community. Thank you so much for asking me. It has been a journey. I am a Profit First Professional. When I was partnering with other bookkeepers and accountants, I was noticing this gap in skillset. They’re good at what they do. I don’t sometimes think that accountants and bookkeepers realize their value. Think about it. They hold all the gold and the numbers of people’s companies. They’re able to tell a story that the business owner doesn’t even know half the time.
When it came to selling their services, I was finding that when I was partnering with them to bring them in on cases with me since I’m not an accountant and a bookkeeper that they were having such a difficult time selling themselves. What wound up happening is that I wound up selling with my client, market with them and do the sales for them. The accountants and bookkeepers said, “Deb, can you teach me how you do what you do?” Hence, Sales Mastery was born. That’s an online eCourse that I have working with accountants and bookkeepers that help them get a sales system dialed in so that they can have comfortable closes and convert clients at the level that they want to be paid up.
It’s funny because my course is for accountants. It’s an Eight-Module Sales Mastery Program. Everyone reading is going to be confused. The real cool thing about what you do is that they can go at their own pace. It’s very more hands-off where I’m hands-on. She is a great resource. Check her out. We’re going to talk about this exact issue that a lot of accountants have. This was brought to my attention from one of my clients, “Michelle, when should I hire someone to sell for me because I need to spend my time doing other things?” A handful of my clients think, “We can pawn the sales process off to somebody else.” In reality, I truly believe that until you have a process dialed in and framework or blueprint to follow, how can you have someone else sell your services at the fees that you want if you can’t do it yourself yet?
That’s our conversation for now. I’m super excited to have you here, talking about this with our readers. If you’re reading, grab a pen and paper because this is going to be some good stuff because like you said, you, the accountant, Profit First Professional, tax resolution expert, tax planner or bookkeeper, you hold the gold and it’s time to realize your value. Sometimes it is difficult to sell your own services but we can define it in three different steps like, “Here’s the first thing you need to do. Here’s the 2nd and 3rd. If you do all those three then maybe it’s a good time to start thinking about hiring a salesperson.”
Deb, why don’t you share with us what do you think is the first thing an accounting professional needs to do to hone in? They hate their sales and keep thinking about, “I wish I could hire someone to do this for me and take it off my plate because this part stresses me out. I always keep giving discounts. I’ll do it for free so I get the client.” What would you say about that? If you have any stories to share, we love to hear stories.
One of the things is that it’s a tweak. I’m going to pull out the mindset card. It’s all how we think about and frame things. Sales can feel icky and uncomfortable. I had a client one time that would tell me she despised sales so much that when she had to get on a sales call, she would be sweating her hands and get drenched. Her stomach would start getting upset. She would do anything and everything to avoid the call.
One of the things that we talked about is I said, “Is there anything that you have interest in? Do you have any hobbies that you would like to do?” She said, “I like getting out in my kayak and paddling around the lake. It’s relaxing to me.” I said, “Let me ask you a question. If, for some reason, there was somebody else kayaking out there and they were in trouble, what would you do? Something happened there. The kayak was taking on water. Would you help them?” She said, “Absolutely 1,000%.”
I said, “Someone was having that problem. Would you jump in and help them?” She said, “Yes.” I said, “How would that make you feel?” She said, “It would make me feel fantastic that I helped someone.” I said, “What if we use that example and visual and overlaid it to your prospects when you’re talking with them about their businesses? We put sales to the side and look at it as somebody else that’s in need of help and maybe drowning in their business. Somebody that’s coming to you because they have a problem. They wouldn’t be coming to you if things were all great and rosy. They have a problem and they need your expertise and a solution.” I put that visual out for her and all of a sudden, everything shifted. Instead of looking at sales as something that you do to someone, sales become something that you do for someone. It’s a gift. It’s the help. It’s saving them from drowning. Looking at it from that perspective of saving that kayaker, jumping in and helping. It can put a different perspective on sitting in that tip of helping, bringing that gift of clarity to the person on the other line, take the sales out of it, serve first and the sales will come.
We’ve talked about that here on the show in the past and the story was beautiful. The fact that she loved kayaking and someone was drowning. Back in the day, when I was younger, I used to be a lifeguard. It’s all about helping people. You’re waiting for that opportunity to help. I had one student and she would tell me similar to what happened where your client got sweaty and stomach hurt. She said her hands would get so sweaty and clammy. It would be like a mind blank. Everything she knew how to be normal with a person and have a conversation went out the door because it’s that pressure that we put on ourselves.
A lot of times too it’s from our previous experiences. I’m not sure if your client ever mentioned anything. Did she have any past experiences that she dealt with that had her feel this way when it came time to meet with her clients? Instead of say, “I’m going to go jump in the ocean and help them because they came to me for a reason. They have a problem and I know I have the solution to help them.” Was there anything from her past that came up that might resonate with someone who is reading like, “That happened to me. No wonder I hate sales.”
It’s funny because she did say something that was brought up back in the day. I was familiar with the story that she told. Also, she was saying that when she was younger, she would remember her parents back when insurance salesmen used to come to the door. They used to ring the doorbell, go door-to-door and sell insurance. Insurance is one of those things that isn’t the most interesting thing to buy. Nine times out of ten, the receivers of those insurance visits would be hiding behind the door.
In her case, she said, “We would have to run down the hall, go in the bedroom and not make a sound because if there was any sound, the insurance agent wouldn’t leave until somebody answered if they heard anything. We had to stay super still. I remember feeling in a way that didn’t feel safe.” When you think about it from that perspective, she was thinking about sales conversations or sales in general. She was equating it to not being safe or feeling safe. You can see that there’s that power pole connection when it comes to our first experiences with sales.
It goes all the way back to the experiences when you were younger, how they follow us all the way to adulthood in your firms and how bad you want to help somebody. How bad you want to do that without being annoying, sleazy, yucky and icky that she probably felt when the doorbell rang or maybe it was the vacuum guy who showed up.
I used to love the Kirby guy personally. Kirby vacuum cleaners don’t make them like that anymore.
I had one of those Kirby vacuums with my family. That thing was a beast and worth every dollar. I love sales so I wish I could walk around selling a Kirby. That would be fun now. Your client and the ones I’ve worked with, the woman who I was speaking about. We’ll call her Susie to keep the name confidential. With Susie, she was able to have this newfound confidence and see that this was the gift of clarity and giving to people. Also, at the end of the day, she was interviewing her prospects as much as they were checking her out. A lot of times, for you readers and other accountants who you might have spoken to in the past, we always think, “I got to get the client. What if you don’t want to get this client? What if they’re not a good fit for you?”The first important thing is to serve first. Sales will eventually come. Click To Tweet
That’s one of the other main important steps before you can have someone else sell for you or hire a professional salesperson because you can’t work with every single type of client. If you don’t give boundaries and set different parameters for a person if you’re going to hire them in the future, once you’ve overcome this yourself, charging the fees and getting the value that you deserve, only then could you hire someone to take this over. We’re creating the blueprint and the foundation. You’re seeing what works for you, doing it in this new way. What do you think would be the second thing that an accounting professional would need to master or have intact before they were going to hire someone else to sell for them? Bring on a salesperson to take on the front end part when you get the referral, the lead from Carl from Profit First or the phone call from Yelp, Google or your website.
It’s not about getting a new client. It’s about getting a great new client. That’s where your ideal client profile comes in, understanding who is it that’s a great client. I know people talk about this all the time. They don’t know how to create that for themselves but the step to get started with that is super easy. Pick one of your best clients. If you can think about them in your mind’s eye and it gives you a great feeling and you wish you can multiply them by 100 times, there’s where you start. Create your ideal client profile. You’ll go ahead and be able to start attracting those better and best clients because it is a two-way street.
That’s the next gift that the sales conversation gives to us as the practitioners, the people that are interviewing, new people coming on that might be our client. That’s the perfect opportunity to be able to bring up, “Any red lights there? Any green light that says, ‘This person would be a great client?'” I know that you can tell a great story about this. I know when I get on my sales calls now, I love talking to people because I can start understanding, “Is this going to be a good fit for me or not?” That has gotten sharpened finely, that ability to be able to tell whether somebody is going to be a great client or not.
It’s also a measure of your time. Do you spend any more time with this person on the phone? If you know that they’re not going to be a great client, you can pull out a great referral for them so that you have stayed in service and helped them so they can move on their way and act. Are they going to be a great client and continue the conversation so that you can see and further interview them, “Can I invite them to be a client of mine?”
You mentioned the most important keyword, “Invite them to be a client of yours.” A lot of accountants who I’ve worked with would take on everybody and anybody. Ross has told me I’m allowed to share his story because if you’ve read the blog, you probably have read his case study. When I met Ross, he was taking on every single client that came through the door. He was doing monthly bookkeeping. He also offers Profit First. He was charging $200 a month and not ever seeing the results that he wanted and not giving the clients the best service that he truly wanted. He wanted to hire someone to take over his sales for him. I said, “Ross, until you can confidently charge what you want to get for the value, you hold the gold and know what’s going on with these businesses.”
I have had multiple conversations with CPAs about capital gains and opportunity zones. This makes my head mushed just like your head is mushed when it comes to sales but I’m like, “I have to understand this. If I want to have a business doing a few million or upwards, I have to understand not only my numbers but the tax and financial implications.” I made a commitment in 2021 to that and learning it. For all of my students, you know what I’m talking about. I ask you all these random questions so I can better understand them.
Even Ross was like, “Michelle, I will do whatever you say. I’m going to learn the sales stuff and create a process and a procedure. Once I have it nailed down, dialed in and working like a seamless clock going in a nice seamless circle then I can bring someone on.” I was like, “Until you can do it yourself, you can’t insert anybody else.” I have one other story. You and I spoke about it. I also made a commitment that I’m going to learn how to do Facebook advertising. I’ve never advertised at all in my business, TheAbundantAccountant.com. You might see ads now but yours truly is doing them because I want to help more people. I know that there’s a challenge with sales and having a faux pas about it, a bad experience with the Kirby vacuum guy or the insurance guy going door-to-door and it has created the struggle.
In order to grow your firm to hire the best team, this is an area that I know I can help. I have hired a couple of different Facebook people to help me. Think about it like this and you tell me if you’ve had an experience like this. Facebook is like money going to Vegas. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re gambling. For all the people overpaying in tax, they’re gambling. For everyone, Deb, who doesn’t follow your Profit First model, they’re gambling. They could be doing a whole bunch of things wrong. I said, “I need to get a grip of this,” so I bought a course. I have a coach reviewing my ads and telling me what I did right and wrong. I was like, “I have to have control over the money. If I’m going to spend $50, $100, $200 or $5,000 a day on ads, you have to be in control of the money.”
The sales in your firm are no different. How can you let someone else control the revenue in your firm, your money, that makes you get paid? How can you fork it over to somebody else if you don’t know what to look at, what KPIs to measure, what their closing rates are, how many people, how many leads they meet with and how many converted? I see my Facebook ads no different than the top-line revenue in a firm. You can’t give over the reins to somebody else until you have a grip and a grasp on what to look at and when to know when something is a little off.
Will I hire someone to manage the ads and do all that in the future? Of course. My time is best spent here on the show and talking to all of you in the sales chair of my spaceship. It is not in fiddling around with what words to put and which picture to choose and dealing with the back end of Facebook but I’ve made a commitment to understanding what it means. It’s like a new language. Sales, for a lot of you, is the new language and it’s different. If you can put it and set the word aside sales, serving then we’re off to the races. That’s what I wanted to say in my personal story about dealing with the same challenge. You can’t put the control of your finances and money into somebody else’s hands until you’ve proven and done it yourself.
Here’s the other thing that I’ll add to that. You have to do it because, in the end, you have to be confident with your pricing and understand your value. It’s that operative word there, confidence. You have to walk away with confidence in your pricing. Why? If you don’t have confidence in your pricing, anybody that is going to sell for you is not going to have confidence in your pricing. That may be even our tip number three. Have confidence in your pricing. Make sure you’re doing this yourself so that you can go ahead and get to that number. Know and understand your value so that you can delegate that to somebody so that they can be successful for you in the future.
That is the third thing. You have to do it yourself. In order to build confidence, you have to take little baby steps. I don’t know if this happened with your client and maybe you could share a story on that. With Ross, who I was talking about and if you read the case study episode, he went from $200 a month to now charging $800 per month for any brand-new clients. He still isn’t told no by any of the people that he invites in, which brings me to the point of price elasticity. Ross went from $200 a month to $400 a month. A month later, he got a bunch of new clients. I said, “Let’s go to $600 a month.”
Now, we’re at $800 a month. Soon, he’ll go to probably $1,000 a month. I haven’t talked to him but I’ll check in with him because it’s a great thing to follow up on. We have to take little baby steps of action, which ultimately will build confidence. Did that happen with your client? How did she get from freaking out about the insurance guy to set the word sales aside, thinking about the raft, that she was throwing a raft to her clients and that she was there to save them? How did that confidence ladder go?
From there, a funny thing happened in something that I did with her. The first thing was the awareness around it, understanding where she was in her thought process and what was holding her back. It was this underlying commitment to this old story and having a new meaning around sales. We took sales out of the equation and we called it service. I said, “How many service calls did you have this week instead of sales calls?” That little shift for her and the terminology made a big difference but the big factor because I did something with my client in this situation that tipped the scales for her. What I did was is I asked her to record one of her sales calls.If you don't have confidence in your pricing, anybody that's going to sell for you is not going to have trust in you too. Click To Tweet
We went ahead and did that. She made her offer. I heard what she was charging. I told her a story, “Somebody else in our group had a conversation with the same person in the same industry with the same number of employees and income level, sold them and charged double.” She got crazy. She was like, “What do you mean?” I was like, “You see? It’s a self-limiting belief that you can’t charge more. You have to have confidence. What is it that you wanted to sell them at?” She said, “I wanted to sell them higher.” “Why didn’t you?”
When I told her that other people were selling at a higher level than her, all of a sudden, the FOMO came in. The fear of missing out like, “I’m not even charging enough and I didn’t know.” I was like, “The other person is selling at this level. What makes you any different?” She was like, “I’m better than her.” I was like, “I know you are.” One of those things is sometimes we have to recognize and see that if somebody else can do it that we can do it. That was something that helped her get over the hump and get her dialed into the, “If she can do it, I can do it. I know I’m better than her anyway.”
You’re not alone. If you’re thinking, “This is me,” this is all of you. This is a very common challenge. I’ve had numerous sales calls with accountants and this is a challenge across the board. I do want to say, not only, “If someone else can do it, can you do it,” and you have a fear of missing out. The other metric you can take a peek at is if you get a lot of clients just saying yes to you and you have no problem enrolling people, you’re not charging enough. You want to have sometimes someone say, “You know what,” where you get to practice how to handle an objection. You’re a little more expensive than everybody else or, “Why are you 2 or 3 times the price of my other accountants that I’ve had in the past? Why are you different?” You have an opportunity to share why you are unique and different. “What is your specialty? What is your niche?”
Think of a brain surgeon. Most brain surgeons don’t take on every patient. They have a very select few. Saving someone’s life in surgery or as a lifeguard, throwing out the raft for them in the sea, it’s all the same but we can’t help everybody. What I like to say is that if you have a lot of people that are saying yes to you, you need to get it to the point where you have some people saying, “That’s a lot.” Now you know you’re pushing the boundaries a little.
If you are selling and getting a lot of clients then it’s time to raise prices. That is the magic metric.
Those are three great metric points to make sure you hit before you consider hiring someone to sell for you in your firm and have it make sure that you have the mindset shift that Deb was talking about. It’s not about because you hate sales anymore. It’s that you have such a great teammate that’s supporting you so you can do what your boss has, which is probably the technical work or the client-facing work. Figure out what’s that area in your firm that you love and then you can eventually farm it out but keep control over the dollars coming into your firm because otherwise, you can’t pay yourself first. That’s the key thing I’ve learned from Profit First and you can’t pay a top salesperson.
The salesperson also should be the highest-paid person in your firm, maybe underneath you but making about the same. That’s my feelings behind it. Is there anything else that you want to share with the readers about what they need to do if they’re toting around with the idea, “Should I hire someone to sell for me in my firm or farm this out?” Any other things that we haven’t talked about yet that you’re like, “I have to share this story. I have this one last bit of advice.”
The only thing I will say is that Michelle outlined three different things that you can do. Even if you get started with one of these three things that we outlined, it’s about the mindset and shifting that mindset away from sales and more towards service, creating that two-way street, looking at it from getting a great client, identifying the ideal client profile and that confidence in your pricing. If you get started with any one of those, you’re on your way to shifting the way that you handle your sales and also one step closer to hiring the person to do sales for you.
I want to reiterate that was us that came up with the list together. It was a combined effort. This was fantastic. I know you have a lot of notes in your yellow pad but I want to second what Deb said, “Take action on one thing.” It’s that one thing that’s going to move you forward and bring that confidence to life that this is possible and you can take the sales piece and the meeting-the-client piece off your plate eventually. First, you need to create the framework and the blueprint. Thank you so much, Deb for being here with us on the show. It was an honor to have you here.
Thanks so much for inviting me, Michelle.
What an amazing episode with Deb. There are so many great things. My Facebook rant summed up everything that I talked about. I’ve lost probably $15,000 with trying to hire someone else to do that part of the business for me. I said, “No more, no más. I don’t want to leave any more money on the table.” I want you to think about this for yourself, “How much money do you leave on the table not having the right process in place, not following up with leads at the right time and not having a pulse on your KPIs or measurable results as it relates to conversions in your own business?” If you get 10 leads and 5 new clients, that’s a 50% conversion ratio. Understanding your KPIs and knowing this and I can tell you on the Facebook side, there are about ten different KPIs that I’m tracking on a daily basis and those are what you should be looking at as well before you hire a salesperson.
Last reminder. If you want to learn how to build your firm faster with less volume, more high-paying clients than you’ve ever had before without being a nag or a bother and doing it the Abundant Accountant way, I have our app for you. You can learn more over at TheAbundantAccountant.com/app and have an all-inclusive, one-to-one business relationship authentic-selling technology method all built-in for you. I’ve got emails written out for you. I have videos about why you’re unique and different that you can send to prospects. The qualification forms and the document checklist that you need to give to them in order for them to work with you are all built in this app.
You can give it a whirl and try it for two weeks. Run at least one lead through it from start to finish and see for yourself how awesome it is. I’ve spent the whole beginning of 2021 putting this together. Make sure to head on over to TheAbundantAccountant.com/app to get your two-week trial going. I look forward to supporting some of you on the app and being able to grow your revenue with less stress, have no one fall through the cracks and see what you’re able to create. I’ll see you in the next episode.
- Sales Mastery
- Eight-Module Sales Mastery Program.
- Ross – Past Episode
About Debra Angilletta
Debra works with Accountants + Bookkeepers who want clients to see their value, charge more for their services, but are struggling with sales calls. “Sales Mastery” is her personal (and proven!) online e-course that shows you how to become more consultative so that you can become the go-to expert and get the right clients to easily say “YES” to your offer.
Spending the last 30 years in the sales trenches having over 20,000 sales calls, she knows EXACTLY what works (and what doesn’t!) when it comes to showing your value vs talking about it. Debra is still active in the sales trenches – closing business for her company as well as other multi-million dollar companies to include Profit First Professionals and Nemo Media Group. Visit www.mastermysales.com for more information.
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