AA 92 | Client Decision Cycle


What if you could boil down the client decision cycle into simple steps? The results can be revolutionary for your business! Sought-after professional speaker and five-time bestselling author, Rob Jolles talks about this in this conversation with Michelle Weinstein. Rob takes us through the process of how you can figure out where your client is in the decision cycle. He identifies six different stages of the decision cycle and shares some examples of all of those stages. Tune in and get insights on how identifying your strength helps you eliminate the shopping-around part where clients are comparing you to other firms. Learn how this process helps you feel confident to charge premium fees and get paid for what you’re really worth!

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Breaking Down The 6 Stages Of The Client Decision Cycle With Rob Jolles

We have a very special guest. Our special guest is a sought-after professional speaker and a five-time bestselling author. He has spent over 35 years teaching, entertaining, and inspiring audiences worldwide. His career has taken him over 2.5 million miles in the air. It has allowed him to gain a client list that reads like the who’s who of Fortune 500 companies including Toyota, Disney, NASA, Bristol Farm, Northrop Grumman, and over 50 financial institutions. He has six books. One is on the way and has been featured in USA Today and Harvard Business Review. The books have been translated into many different languages. He is also a sales trainer, speaker, consultant and coach.

Before we welcome Rob Jolles to the show, I know that as a tax and accounting professional, you are completely sick and over-grinding fourteen hours a day, sacrificing your time with your family and friends, postponing vacations, and putting yourself and your health on the back burner. I imagine you are exhausted from being on the daily financial roller coaster of discounting fees and then end up presenting your clients and the work that you do for them and being seen as a commodity.

None of this is your fault and I know that nobody is training on how to fix these problems and connect the dots. If you want to step up and take complete control over your firm’s revenue and profitability with ease, and feel confident to start charging premium fees to get paid your worth and have clients appreciate you for the value you provide, then here’s what I’ve got for you. Denise and I have set aside time to speak to you personally about how you can apply some new ideas and strategies to your firm now. Head on over to TheAbundantCall.com to book your call with us. Whatever your biggest challenges are, trust me, we’ve seen and we know how to overcome them. Now, let’s welcome Rob to the show.

It’s a pleasure being here. I’m looking forward to mixing it up with you.

I’m very excited to have you on the show and for the accountants and tax advisors here. I’ve already done your intro, but I always think it’s better to hear it directly from you. Just a little backstory for the audience, I met Rob through his son, who is a standup comedian, along with my boyfriend. He was telling me all about his dad and how he’s a sales trainer. I said, “I need to talk to your dad.” I’m sure he’s got some golden nuggets to share, not only with me but for each of you who tune in here every single episode two times a month. That’s how Rob and I met and I think he’s got seven books. Is that accurate?

Six but I’m working on the seventh.

Rob has seven books. He’ll share those with you right now where you can buy them if you’d like. Rob, why don’t you share real quick who you are and a little bit about your background.

I came out of the University of Maryland and was an insurance salesman. I sold life, health and disability for two years, four months, three days and about an hour and a half. I actually made enough income when I was 21. It took me almost eleven years to exceed what I had earned when I was 21 and 22. It wasn’t a money thing for me. It was more of why 21-year-olds probably shouldn’t be selling life, health and disability. It’s a grinder there. New York Life kept me on as a trainer. That’s when I learned to love the training side of sales.

AA 92 | Client Decision Cycle

How to Change Minds: The Art of Influence without Manipulation

If New York Life taught me to love sales, Xerox taught me how. Xerox is a very process-oriented company. I sold for New York Life, trained from New York Life, sold for Xerox, and was the trainer for Xerox. About 30 years ago, I left the confines of the corporation. I went on and started my own business. I’ve got about 2.5 million miles in the air. I go all around the world. It mutated. It was always sales. There are so many people that don’t like the word sales.

Everyone here does not like the word sales.

I have the Simon & Schuster book, the classic Customer Centered Selling in all my sales. People love that one. I wrote a book a couple of years ago called How To Change Minds: The Art Of Influence Without Manipulation. I wrote that one for everyone who said, “I don’t like the word selling but every now and then, I need to give my customer a push.” That’s where that one came from.

Where can they buy them?

All my books like most books, you can get on all online stores. Amazon is a good place to go because like most authors, I have an author’s page. All my books are hanging around there. I promise I won’t hawk books. My most recent book is a book called Why People Don’t Believe You… It deals with not so much what we say, but how we say it. I felt that was sort of the end of my trilogy of trying to tell people that there’s a process for persuasion. How to Change Minds was more along the lines of why we need to do this. This last book is now you know why we need to do this and you know how we do it, but you still have to say it the right way. The words and the tune have to line up. That’s where I’ve been at.

What’s the seventh book going to be?

I’m not allowed to tell you yet. It’s still in development, but it will be good. I promise.

We’ll have you back when that one comes on. In this episode, we are talking about a very interesting topic. Make sure to grab your yellow legal pad, maybe it’s white, and a pen so you can take some notes. Rob is going to take us down the pathway on how to figure out where your client is in the decision cycle. He’s going to share six different stages of the decision cycle. Some of you might have purchased a house, and some of you might have bought a car in your lifetime. For those of you who work with business clients or aspire to work with business clients, we’re also going to be sharing some examples of all of those stages of how a client makes a decision. Tell us how you broke these stages down, and then we can get into the first stage.

A rule of thumb that we have in sales is to always remember that people don't fix small problems. They fix big problems. Share on X

The old Paul Harvey, the rest of the story, I would love to tell you this wonderful tale of how we discovered it and why it was gnawing at us and we needed to figure this out. In reality, I was on a development team and we had some extra money in the budget. Like most development teams, we were working on a sales model and we said, “What are we going to do with this? I wonder if we reverse engineered this. I wonder if we looked at it from the client’s perspective.” It almost begins to start with a hypothesis, “I wonder if clients go through repeatable and predictable stages when they make a decision for change or to buy something.” That’s where it came from. It was almost an accident of a little bit of extra budget money, some time, put some research into it, and then we loved it. From then on, we were great, but it always makes me smile and think, “I wonder if the budget had run out if we had even gone this route.”

It’s great because I always wondered and I know so much about sales. I’m like, “How did you have time to dissect it into six different decision cycles?” Now, I understand you had a budget and this was something you were teaching and you reverse-engineered it.

For those of you who weren’t paying attention very carefully to that story, let’s go with the second story, which is because I had a burning need to study the decision cycle. That’s a better story. The reality is even when you say it and people are listening, “What if I could prove to you that your clients are going through six predictable stages? Would that be of value to you?” Everyone was scratching their head going, “Of course. Shouldn’t that be the first question we ask for the rest of our lives, whether you’re selling, persuading, influencing or just problem solving and consulting?” By the way, that still fits into that same bucket. We need to start there.

I will rattle through them. You break in whenever you want and poke me with a question here or there, but the first stage is what we call the satisfied stage. It’s the most boring stage for me. I remember we were bummed out when we noticed that there were numbers lining up with it. We always like to think, “Everybody is a potential client.” The reality is they’re not. There is a satisfied stage. I’ll break down numbers for you and give you a hint. There aren’t a lot of people in that stage, but we have to respect the fact that there is a stage where people are completely and totally happy with what they’re doing.

From a persuasion or sales side of things, we do need to just leave them alone. I think some people think they’re in that stage and they may not be, so we might take a look under the hood real fast. We have to understand that they could very well be telling the truth when they go, “I’m good where I am. Thanks.”

Let’s say I’m a CPA. I have my firm and someone called me and said, “I got your name from Joe, CPA. I’ve been looking for someone new. I feel like there’s more money I could be saving on my taxes and this year didn’t go as I thought. I want to get another opinion or find someone who might know more than my current CPA.” At that point, they’re not in a satisfied stage if they’ve reached out for help.

That’s called the acknowledged stage and it may even be further, but the second stage is just what you described. Something is nagging at them. They haven’t made a decision for change but they’re bothered. They’re annoyed by something. This is where we say the window of sales begins to open up a little bit here. I always refer to the acknowledge stage as the whining or moaning stage. It means if they like you, they’ll tell you, but it’s whiny. If you go, “I’ll tell you what then. I’ll do your taxes next year.” They go, “It’s not that bad. I just wanted to whine about it a little bit.”

They may not use that word, but that’s one of the reasons why people need to learn how to persuade and influence. Just because somebody called us up and we bumped into them at a party or they got referred to us and started whining about their current accountant or their inability to use QuickBooks and do their taxes themselves, a solution isn’t really what they need right now. We need to understand the problem deeper, but what we do instinctively when we hear that is we immediately want to solve it for people from a sales perspective.

AA 92 | Client Decision Cycle

Why People Don’t Believe You…: Building Credibility from the Inside Out

I always think to my head when anybody starts whining going, “I don’t like the accountant I’m working with and I’m not real good with numbers.” I almost always want to ask the question, “When did you become aware of that?” If you want proof of how long people can be in the acknowledge stage, rarely will you hear, “Last night,” or “I woke up with it this morning.” They’ll go, “About five years now.” You can see how ridiculous it is to be instinctive and say, “Let me fix it for you.” I don’t want to fix anything. I want to appreciate that when people are in the acknowledge stage, in their mind, it hurts but it doesn’t hurt that badly.

A rule of thumb that we have in sales is to always remember that people don’t fix small problems. They fix big problems. At that acknowledge stage, they waffle and hang there. Remember, there’s no salesperson around and then something happens. I’m an entrepreneur for many years. I’m ashamed to say that when I first went into business, I looked for a real budget accountant for me. I thought it was a great deal. I even got up a part of an office suite for it. I got an office deal. I got my taxes done and I got fined nine times that year for this being late and this being wrong. This young entrepreneur learned in a heartbeat that probably the most important person in my business is going to be the accountant. I’m not saving money on the next one. I want a good accountant, but that’s the way people are wired. That’s why we need the salespeople.

That’s true and they are the most trusted advisor. This show, the accounting and financial side of your business for people like me and Rob, your ideal clients, you’re the most valued person. I know we’re not going to have lots of time to talk about it, but why would any accounting professional or CPA want to put themselves as a good deal if you’re the most valued and important piece to an entrepreneur’s business.

It’s like a good brain surgeon. I don’t want a budget-brain guy.

I don’t want a budget-brain guy either. I want the most expensive where I have to get helicoptered into their city because they only work with a select few patients, but you know that it’s going to be done right. If you have cancer, it’s going to be gone and you’ll live another 10, 20 or 30 years.

Also, you do get what you paid for. I’ll even argue the fact that when an accountant says, “My rates are higher than anyone else,” or they’re in the top 10%, you still might be the least expensive accountant that I ever used. When I add everything that goes into this, that means making sure things are done right, proper and on time, and there aren’t fines and fees that are going to be attached to this or things that are going to haunt us in the future. It’s like getting your house done. I want a good carpenter. It may cost me a little bit more to get the room done but it’s done right, and that home is of more value now. Maybe at some other point, we’ll talk about price.

I would love to, but that would be for another episode because now we’re focusing on the six decision cycles so that you have a repeatable and predictable way to figure out, “Where is your prospect at?” Also, the process of figuring out where those decision points are and how you might be able to work with them or do you need to leave them alone? Rob, what’s the third stage of the decision cycle?

I’m almost geeky about this because I get excited about my own stuff sometimes, but this is a cool area because the third stage is what we call the criteria stage. This is where the needs are and this is often when an accountant may get a phone call. They may get it in that whining acknowledge stage, but the criteria stage is a stage where people have a rough idea of what they’re looking for. In other words, now here comes what we call the needs.

The first thing you do as a business is to figure out a sense of your branding. Businesses struggle with this. Share on X

Their conversation might be something along the line of, “I’m making some calls and what I need is somebody that works with financial planners or well-versed with somebody who has an S-corp or something like that. I also want to make sure that they can speak on a relatively simple basis so I can understand them.

Remember that I said there’s a cool part to this and here it is. The criteria stage has this neat relationship with the acknowledge stage. It’s almost the polar opposite. In other words, the acknowledge is the problem and the criteria is the needs, and they link up. Needs don’t fall out of heaven. When somebody says, “I want somebody that speaks at a fourth-grade level and keeps it very simple,” where do you think that came from? Do you think they read that in Accountings Are Us Magazine? No. The problem shapes the need.

Typically, a need is shaped by something that didn’t go right. When somebody wants it simple, we’re usually pretty sure that whoever they were working with made it very complicated. When somebody says, “I want to make sure that I never get fined,” they’ve been fined. What’s interesting is when we get to the sales angle of this, you’ll find that 95% of the salespeople out there will ask a client what they need or tell them how well we do things. The smart people and I’m speaking to accountants now. I’m not trying to schmooze with you. I’m saying, “You’re smarter than you think. Your instincts are better than you think.”

I think you’re better trained than most salespeople to study the problem. In fact, that’s going to pay dividends down the road. I’ll touch on that in a minute. We got satisfied, “I’m happy.” We got acknowledge, “I’m whiny.” We’ve got criteria, “I think I know what I need and I’m going to start looking for it.” We have the next stage and the fourth stage, which is what we call investigate, “Now, I’m looking at this accounting and a firm. I’m looking at that accounting firm. I’m taking my criteria and applying them to that conversation.” I’m basically shopping around. That shopping lists all come from the problems that I was living with.

I believe that someone shopping around, especially in this industry or with people like me and you, is not like we’re going to Amazon and figuring out which cup we want to buy because there are eight different vendors making the exact same cup. I feel that if the firm owner can get good at the problem stage or figure out where the problem shapes the need, my guess is that you can bypass the investigative stage because those clients wouldn’t need to shop around. It was presented in a way where they can’t compare you to anyone else just like you can’t be compared to anyone.

I can’t be compared to anybody because there are no other females teaching accounting and tax pros only, and make sure that every client they have has the result of what they wanted. That’s not something you can go on Amazon and type in and say, “Let me see the five different places that could help me with that.” We’re not made in a different country or China or something with manufacturers. With the service-based industry, and I would be curious to know your thoughts on this, how could you bypass stage four where your clients don’t even need to shop around?

We’re going to bypass a few things because right now, I’m inside the mind of the client. To answer your question, I want to be very direct. The first thing that you do, and businesses struggle with this, is you have to figure out a sense of your branding. An accountant is an accountant. If I said that to an accountant, it would be offensive. It should be. Every business just like mine as a sales trainer, “We’re all the same.” Are we? I hope not because there were a few things that I do well. I can’t be everything to everybody.

Like most people who have branded their businesses, a few things I do well. That’s what I’m trying to get my client to want. I’m going to be brisk with this because I’m on the inside of the wheel talking about the outside now, but I’ll tell you this. If I know the problem shapes the need, wouldn’t it make sense for me to ask questions about problems that I know I fix well? That’s why when we problem solves, maybe it’s an accounting firm. Maybe it’s just a one-person operation and very small. I would argue that the bad news is you’re small. The good news is I’m not going to be handed off to a bunch of different people. I’m going to be working with the owner so let’s make lemonade out of that.

AA 92 | Client Decision Cycle

Client Decision Cycle: We have to respect the fact that there is a stage where people are completely and totally happy with what they’re doing, and from a persuasion or sales side of things, we really do need to just leave them alone.


You understand that I would love to talk to somebody who has been in an accounting mill, and has had this person and that person, and discusses how difficult that issue was. In a sense, I’m drawing you to my strength within that conversation. That’s how we keep people from investigating. We take what we have and we change it from a nice to have to a need to have. After they investigate, they select. I have very little to say about that one. They are basically clients who will pull the trigger, but there’s always the last stage, which is important, which is they will always reconsider.

Is stage five reconsider?

Stage five is select. That’s the pulling the trigger stage. The last stage that they go through is like buyer’s remorse. They’ll sit back and go, “That last accountant that I had, I wasn’t crazy about her, but at least I knew her because she was a friend of the family. Even when things didn’t go well, I knew who to call and then they jump on it fairly quickly.” You could be better. What if you’re worse? There is where that remorse comes in. When I talk about sales and let’s just ease to the outside. I think we need to keep an eye on all six stages. The good news is it’s not a straitjacket. I loved your question about how do we keep people out of the investigate stage? The best way to do it is to get them to want what we do well.

You need to know what that is, by the way. I’m a guy who consults with a lot of companies. Toyota has been a client of mine for over twenty years. When I first started working with Toyota, I remember asking them that question and they sent me out of the room. This was a lot of senior people because they had never really put that question out there. How can I sell it when I don’t know what it is you want the client to want? I worked for this nutty company called Xerox. Our boxes cost more and typically did less. I’m not ashamed. I’ll tell you this. I did a few things well. Ease of use was important. Why is it you think that for every single client I ever met with for the rest of my career at Xerox, one of the first questions was, “Who uses the equipment?”

It’s because it’s open. It’s not problem-related and there’s a right and wrong answer in terms of where my strengths are. When we’re looking at the sales side of this, we have to understand the things that most people don’t like about selling with, “Here’s what you need,” and you’re pitching an idea. Let’s pitch the word pitch altogether. What a horrible word.

I know but that’s my nickname, The Pitch Queen, because I didn’t want to have my last name, Michelle Weinstein so I came up with that name, but it’s not pitching in the sense of shoving something down someone’s throat. In sales, people think about it and come to me all the time, “Michelle, I need help with my sales pitch.” The way we do it is exactly what you’re talking about. We figure out what are you good at and turn the nice haves into the need to have, and get good at a few things and do them well. That’s how you can have a reverse-engineered pitch.

It’s not like you’re throwing it and making someone say, “You need to do this and you need to do that,” but it’s a reverse-engineered pitch. Someone even asked me that the other day. I was like, “I don’t know.” I pitched on a show called Shark Tank and it’s called a pitch when you share with someone what you do or your elevator pitch or what I call your brand shake. How do you describe to someone what you do that you’re good at? 

I think when you’d look at Shark Tank and you’re looking at venture capitalists on one side of the show and somebody pitching an idea on the other, it’s more of a presentation than a one-on-one conversation. When I give a presentation, it’s going to be about 90% me. I’m going to be doing most of the talking. There is the element of the pitch there. When we’re talking about sitting down with a client one-on-one, we need to remember that the more that client talks, the more they’re going to like you. We’ve got to make sure that we’re asking open-ended questions.

If you want to get at the client's problems, earn the right to get there. Share on X

One more thing. I want to talk about the client’s issues. I want to hear what’s not working right with this other accounting firm that you’re using or you probably wouldn’t be on the phone or be sitting in front of me. We have to remember something. We have to earn the right to get to questions like that. My first suggestion for people is if you want to get at the client’s problems, earn the right to get there. It means to keep your questions open and let them tell you about their businesses.

Let them brag a little bit. Social people will go a little bit longer on this. Dominant people go a little short on it. Analytical people get a little technical on it, but keep in mind that phrase I told you. The more they talk, the more they’re going to enjoy the conversation they’re having with you. You have to pay your dues, “I want to get at what brought or drove you here. I want to get at those issues in that acknowledge stage.” You’ve got to create trust.

I always call it the know, like and trust factor. I always talk about The 80/20 Principle, Rob. I’m sure you’ve read that book before. You literally will listen 80% of the time. Your client is talking 80% of the time and you’re only talking 20% and listening.

That is challenging too.

It’s so hard.

You might want to use this some time or somebody might want to try it if you’re role-playing in your office. Grab a chess clock. You can get an app for your smartphone where you basically have two buttons that are releasing two different clocks. If you want to see whether you’re hitting that 80/20 you just heard, why don’t you have a conversation? Hit the button every time you’re talking and hit the button every time the other person is talking. I think you’ll have a much better idea of how challenging it is. I’ll take 50/50 in my world.

Let me touch on one other thing about this decision and I promise I’ll leave it alone after that. Within the cycle, there are three decision points that you’re going to be listening for. The first one is what we call the fix don’t fix. It’s like a line in the sand. If you’re trying to scratch your head going, “How would I know where the client is?” They won’t tell you. If you think a client is through that acknowledge stage and actually serious about looking for a solution, why don’t you ask them? It’s a yes/no question of, “Are you committed to making a change?” You could say, “Do you think it’s worthwhile looking at some other ideas?” If you want to temperature read a conversation that you think your client is further along and you don’t have to spend time on that problem, ask them that question.

If the answer is no, you got your answer. You’re going to have to double back and learn more about the problem. If the answer is yes, you don’t have to go poking the bear and hitting that problem anymore. That “fix don’t fix” line is a tough one. That’s the one that clients will take a long time to get to. When we sit down with them, we want to speed that up a little bit. In the client’s mind, “Do I want to fix it or not?” and “What am I going to fix it with?” Let’s pair up a trial close for that one.

AA 92 | Client Decision Cycle

Client Decision Cycle: When we’re talking about sitting down with a client one-on-one, we need to remember that the more that client talks, the more they’re going to like you.


If you’re with a client, you’re now getting the list of what that client is looking for. “I need things simple.” “I hear from you.” “I want to be able to reach out and talk to you when I need you.” “Let me take that one down.” That’s my list of criteria and sometimes turning that list around before you even discuss your services and say, “Did we miss anything? Is that what is going to take to make you happy?” Now, you’ve got a client who’s committed to change and now is saying, “That’s what it’s going to take to get my business.”

Tell me how easy the sale will be if somebody gives you a list? You could even prioritize the list. 1) Do I want to fix it? 2) What am I going to fix it with? 3) Where am I going to get it from? That’s when they’re shopping around and looking. There aren’t great trial closes for that one. I’ve got one and I’m about ready to let it loose, but it’s not a pretty trial close. It’s not when I would ask all the time because it’s a little old school. I think we’ve all heard, “If I’m able to do all this and I can prove to you that I can do it better than anyone else, would you give me a realistic shot of working with you?”

That makes some people uncomfortable. It’s called a pre-commit. I still have not told you what my firm does or how it addresses this list. Please remember, when you trial close people and you’re trying to trial them on this decision cycle, the intent is to smoke out objections. Maybe they’re not the decision-maker and this conversation got a little further than they want. I’ll be quiet on this, but I’ll be appealing to anyone who has ever spent a lot of time, money and resources to land a client and realize later on, not only did you not land that client. In fact, you were never going to land that client.

This is why pre-commits actually exist. I would not ask them of every client, but I do ask them because I’m not going to fly out here and bring resources and begin to do a bunch of things to find out that I’m not even talking to the right person. Those are the decision points and those are the trial closes that buddy up to those decision points. Does that make sense?

It does make sense. I was having that discussion with a colleague of mine. The firm owners, you all know this. Sometimes someone will book a call with me to learn about my services and our eight weeks Sales Mastery Training here. They’re a 50/50 owner in the firm. I asked, “Is the other form owner available to join you on this call?” Even if they say, “No. I was just going to get the information and pass it on.” I will reschedule the phone call with the firm owner because if you’re 50/50, this is a huge decision to change your sales process or to even learn it for most firm owners.

Rob, you and I have just met. There isn’t a step-by-step repeatable and predictable sales process in place for everything you’re talking about everything, what to say to the clients, what questions to ask, how to handle objections, and how to pre-qualify, and everything from A to Z. What I do when it comes to this intent and the pre-commitment on this, I will reschedule calls so all firm owners if they are available for that phone call too, because otherwise, why are you going to put your time and energy into it?

It’s like if you’re the firm owner about to meet with a business owner and they tell you they have a business partner, but the business partner isn’t available, you would want to reschedule. It’s like getting married. Two people get married. There are two people that sign all the paperwork for the wedding and the same goes for here.

With all that being said, we need to make sure that all decision-makers are present at a meeting and it’s in everyone’s best interest to reschedule, and make sure that all parties are there. If you have two firm owners or if you’re at the accounting for a meeting with the business client, both business owners are there just as if they got married to their significant other. They both showed up at the wedding to sign the paperwork. That’s how I think making a decision to hire an accounting and tax firm or do anything with you as the firm owner is the most crucial point.

AA 92 | Client Decision Cycle

Client Decision Cycle: If you want to get to the client’s problems earn the right to get there. And that means keep your questions open, and let them tell you about their businesses.


It’s perfect, by the way. I couldn’t agree with you more, just be aware that sometimes we get into a very awkward position where we’re trying to find out who are the decision-makers. Sometimes that’s masked a little bit by the clients, particularly by some that are decision influencers as we call them, but they’re not the decision-maker. One of the mistakes that I made early in my career was I used to ask people, “Are you the one that makes the decisions on this?”

What I think I was doing was forcing people to be dishonest with me. I had a mentor who told me one time, “Ask them, ‘Who besides yourself will be involved in this decision-making process?’” That allows that person some dignity, as they say to you, “I run the show but Larry and Mary are also involved.” If you ask them point-blank, “Are you the one who is going to be making this decision?” Don’t be surprised if you get the answer, “Yes,” and their nose grows about 3 inches.

Another thing I just thought of and sometimes I ask this. Is there anyone else that typically you have to run things by before you make a final decision? Rob, is there anything else that you want to share or just button up as we end this show on the six stages of the decision cycle that accounting and tax firm owners can apply and make sure they know exactly where their clients are standing before an offer is made.

The first thing I would say is to trust your instincts and I rarely say that to salespeople. I watch my instincts, but I would trust your instincts. I’ve worked with a lot of accountants. I think that most accountants are typically more analytical in nature. They do want to problem-solve in nature. If you think of the ABCs of problem-solving, what do you learn? You learn that just because you think you might know what the problem is, good problem-solvers go deeper into it.

Once you’ve earned the right to ask a client about the challenges they’re having, go deeper. Follow your instincts and remember one last thing, about 79% of the population is in the acknowledge stage at any given area. We pulled it for many years now. They are sitting in the acknowledge stage. Understand it’s a big stage. People stay there for a long time. Be patient and try that trial close if you think that you’ve got them leaving that stage. That should work for you.

Thank you, Rob, so much for being here with us on the show. It was an honor to have you. This was fantastic. Thank you for taking out the time.

Michelle, it has been an absolute pleasure. Thanks so much for having me on the show and good luck and good selling to everyone. Selling is not a bad word. It’s okay.

Thank you so much for being here. I hope to have you back again. I appreciate you.


What an amazing episode with Rob. I will definitely have him back here on the show. I’m thinking about how can you write these decision points or decision stages down, and even maybe put in it a pie chart. When you have a client in front of you, think about where are they in this process? For example, I have been working on my closets. I feel like I don’t get enough space and I’ve been pretty much in the happy acknowledgement stage. I’ve been whining about it. I’ve been complaining about it, but I haven’t actually taken action, and then something blows up. That’s the criteria stage. I needed to do something. That something is Denise, my partner in crime, is staying here for 2 or 3 weeks. We have a work trip, a team-building, and then also an accounting conference.

I said, “I need to get the closet situated.” I need more space. How the builders build closets as most of you know, it’s a rod in a shelf. It’s not conducive for Marie Kondo-type organizing and I love organizing. On Saturday, I went from the criteria stage to the investigative stage. I picked up the phone and booked an appointment with one of my favorite stores called the Container Store and had an interior designer come by. It was very great to see myself go through these exact stages. I went from being pretty whiny in the acknowledgement stage for quite a while, almost 13 years or 14 years, to go into the criteria stage where there is a need and there’s an event happening that I had to make a change or I wanted to make a change and I was fed up.

Going into the investigative stage on Saturday and having an interior designer. The difference is I didn’t do this with multiple companies. I chose one based on something they do well, which is a quick turnaround. Think about your firm and what you do well so we can eliminate the shopping around part where people are comparing you and commoditizing you to other firms. The select state, which I selected them, buyer’s remorse. Once it’s installed, it will never be a buyer’s remorse, but for your services, it might happen.

If you are completely exhausted from being on that daily financial rollercoaster, sick of having clients compare you to other firms, call and price shop you and dealing with this commoditized type of selling, tired of the vicious cycle of pleasing clients, and feeling exhausted, powerless, depleted and burnt out, remember, none of that is your fault and you’re not alone in that.

I also know that nobody is training you on how to fix those problems and connect the dots. If you want to step up, take full control over these challenges that your firm is having so you can double your revenue in the back half of this year, finally feel confident to charge premium fees, and get paid for the value that you provide and get paid your worth, then I’ve got this for you. Denise and I have set aside some time to speak to you personally about new ideas you can apply to your firm.

Head on over to TheAbundantCall.com to book your call whatever your biggest challenges, trust me, we have seen them all and we also know how to overcome them. Head on over to TheAbundantCall.com. We’ll get on the phone for about 45 minutes and we’ll get crystal clear on what’s working and what’s not in your firm, and what’s keeping you stuck, but also identify where you want to be with your firm so that you do get paid your value. You do get paid your worth and you’re never seen as a commodity to anyone else ever again. We look forward to speaking to you and have a beautiful day.


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About Rob Jolles

AA 92 | Client Decision CycleA sought-after professional speaker and five-time Bestselling author, Rob Jolles has spent over thirty-five years teaching, entertaining, and inspiring audiences worldwide. His career has taken him over 2.5 million miles in the air, and allowed him to amass a client list that reads like a Who’s Who of Fortune 500 companies, including Toyota, Disney, NASA, Lilly, Bristol Myers Squibb, Northrop Grumman, and over 50 financial institutions. His books have been featured in USA Today, Harvard Business Review, Publisher’s Weekly, and have been translated into over a dozen languages.

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