Do you have a lead follow-up process? Or are you just winging it, hoping that the prospects you connect with will follow up with you? As an accountant, it’s SO IMPORTANT to create a lead follow-up process and this episode will show you how!
Denise Mandeau is a Career & Sales Coach for Business owners and Sales professionals who want to find more customers, make more money and have a life!
With proven success as a Small business owner, Financial Planner and award winning Sales person for over 25 years. Denise knows what it takes for people to be truly successful. Her goal is to partner with professionals, EMPOWERING them to be SUCCESSFUL entrepreneurs in their business. Taking their passion to the marketplace with FUN and vitality!
Denise joins The Abundant Accountant Podcast to share her expertise in teaching accountants how to pursue the leads and prospects they deserve to create their lives of abundance.
If you’re an accountant who is ready to start following up without being annoying, then this episode of The Abundant Accountant Podcast is a MUST LISTEN!
Here are a few key secrets we talked about in this episode
- The Pitch Queen, Michelle, introduces herself and Denise and shares about her business.
- Follow-up – how can you do it without being annoying?
- Did you know that 80% of sales might require 5 follow-ups?
- “People are so afraid to reach out and talk to people, but the truth is, nobody follows up! People actually like it when you reach out to them and show you care.”
- The fortune is in the follow-up, and is where a lot of revenue can be generated!
- Not one accounting professional that we’ve worked with has done any follow-up. This means there is a lot of opportunity to rise above the rest in this area!
- Follow-up helps you grow a deeper relationship and build rapport with clients.
- You can stay top of mind for your client’s and prospects by following up. Sometimes timing is off when you first meet, and there’s always something that happens. If you follow up regularly, they’re going to think of you first.
- New leads are much more expensive than following up with current clients!
- Make your follow-up communication have significance: “I’m just checking up on you” has no meaning. Make it specific to your last communication you had with them.
- There was one client who wasn’t ready to enroll with Denise, and Denise continued to follow up with him. About 4 months after their initial meeting, something came up that she thought would be of interest to him, and she invited him to the event. He then signed up for a $10,000 engagement! The fortune is in the follow-up!
- If you are working with someone who is not ready to engage with you right now, anytime you’re in a meeting or on a call with a client, schedule a follow-up within 12-24 hours right then. Never wait!
- Remove the back and forth so you don’t have to email or call them again, schedule it right then and there.
- People appreciate that you take action and book things immediately!
- Schedule a check-in for one month if they aren’t a good fit now. If you feel like they will be a good fit for your firm, once a month is a great goal for following up.
- I recommend sending a thank you email to your potential client, thank them for their time, and mention “I look forward to talking to you on [future date], etc…”
- When I’m sending the thank you, I will also do a little recap of our conversation, sharing “This is what I heard was important to you, etc…”
- It shows that you were listening and helps you remember what you spoke about in a later meeting – also, paste that email in the calendar appointment notes so you can see and know exactly what you spoke about previously.
- Send off-topic emails to your clients! Send something fun that is related to your client’s interests. It’s really the thought that counts, and that is what people remember.
- If you follow up, you differentiate yourself! If you can’t do it every month, do it every other month!
- Accountants tend to like to send stuff about tax laws – your clients might not really care! Send them something personal. If you don’t know anything about them personally, take them for coffee and learn more about them as a human being! What is their passion and what do they love to do?
- Focus on value. Reflect back to them what is important to them. Let them know you heard them, you care about what is important to them, and that will make you stand out!
- Keep building rapport! Every time we reach out and follow up, it builds that relationship even more!
- Follow up in a genuine activity that sets you apart, and will keep you at the top of your potential client’s mind.
- Michelle and Denise challenge you to incorporate 30 minutes to an hour of follow up into their schedule each week, and see how it impacts your firm!
Learn More & Connect With Me Here!
P.S. Stop letting money walk out the proverbial door! It’s time to create a lead follow up process and start looking into every prospect that you speak with. Believe it or not your prospects WANT you to follow up! Click here to read THIS BLOG POST!
P.P.S. Do You want to MAKE MORE MONEY, WORK FEWER HOURS?
Join me so you can unlock the secrets to growing a profitable accounting firm with less stress by joining our upcoming Abundant Accountants Masterclass!
You will learn:
- The easiest ways to sift through clients and get to the RIGHT ideal clients!
- Proven tactics to actually get paid instead of giving away FREE advice!
- How to stop competing on price FOREVER!
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How To Handle A Sales Follow Up With New Leads Without Being Annoying With Denise Mandeau
I am so happy to be here with each of you. I’d love for you to meet our special guest. Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I am eager to discover more about those of you who read each and every other week. If you’re wondering how you can do this, I’d like to take just a moment to extend an invitation for you to subscribe and leave a written rating for the show, so I can keep on delivering the content you want and love. I’m going to take that review and highlight it here in a future episode.
You know that sharing is caring, but you’re going to want to make sure to screenshot this episode on your phone. In the end, when you’re finished reading it, tag me, Michelle Weinstein, and our incredible guest and my partner in crime, Denise Mandeau. Post it on your LinkedIn feed, hashtag the show, and tell us the most valuable lesson you got from this episode. Our special guest is Denise Mandeau. Denise, could you please introduce yourself to everyone and share what is it that you do?
Hey, everyone. Michelle, I’m so excited to be here with you, my West Coast buddy. I am in New Jersey on the East Coast. I work with accountants and salespeople helping you to connect with people and close more business.
That’s what we do. We do it in a non-annoying way. Denise, a lot of times, accountants have asked us, “How do you follow up with people without being too annoying?” This is for anyone who’s working with clients, especially service-based businesses, and for each of you with an accounting firm, a CPA firm, a bookkeeping firm, or a CFO services firm, whatever it may be. We understand why you might need that help, and it’s easy to get self-conscious about this type of stuff. You may feel like you’re annoying or maybe you’re being a little pushy. If you’ve ever felt that way, it’s completely normal.
In this episode, Denise and I will give you tips on why you must follow up, and then also how to follow up without being annoying so that you can get more clients for your accounting firm, bookkeeping firm, CFO practice firm, or whatever firm you are trying to build. That is what we are talking about. I’m very excited to have my East Coast partner joining us. I don’t know about you, Denise, but maybe you’ve got a couple of stories on this, personal experiences. 80% of sales might require 5 follow-ups. Did you know that?
People are so afraid to reach out, talk to people, and follow up with them. The truth is nobody follows up. People wouldn’t even know that. People like it when you reach out to them and show they care.People are so afraid to reach out to others. Nobody ever does follow-ups. Click To Tweet
It’s important that you show you care in the follow-up. I always say, “The fortune is in the follow-up,” and that’s where a lot of revenue can be generated in your firm. For most of the accountants that you and I have worked with, Denise, I would say from what we’ve learned, not one person has ever done any follow-ups. The opportunity for you is massive. What we’re going to show you are some ways that you can implement this. You got to put it into action and make it happen.
It seems that the accountants that we’ve worked with and interviewed just don’t have a system or nobody’s ever taught them how to do it. How many of you have been even to a networking event, you get a handful of cards, and then they sit as a little stack on your desk? You never do anything with it.
I have so many stacks of cards, Denise. I’ve got big rubber bands around them. When we’re discussing follow-up, how do you follow up with the right people? Not everyone is going to be a great client for you or you’re going to truly want to work with them. It’s about strategically doing it, especially for the ones who you feel are your ideal client and who would be a good fit for your firm. Why is following up necessary?
You might be wondering, “If they don’t want to work with me, then why should I even bother them in the future?” Denise and I might have been able to think that way back in the day. I think I was born with that knot in my bones. It was always like, “I’m going to just keep following up with you until you tell me, ‘Michelle, this is getting a little too much.’” Denise, are you the same way?
Not quite as much, but I’ve become more that way since I’ve known you.
Denise and I even follow up with the accountants that we help in our small group classes for our, “How do you never have to sell a day in your life?” We typically will reach out about once a month, once every other month. It’s not too much, but just enough. The reason is that you can grow a deeper relationship with your potential clients and build rapport. Why else do you feel it’s necessary to follow up?
It’s important to follow up because you want to stay top of mind. Sometimes the timing is off when you first meet them or you first have a conversation, and there’s always going to be something that happens. If you are the one that’s top of mind that is continually staying connected to them, then they’re going to think of you first, and then you’ll gain the business at some point.If your accounting firm continually stays connected to your clients, everyone will think of you first. This will gain you more business. Click To Tweet
When we follow up, you and I have experienced this, the new leads are way more expensive than following up with current people that are a good fit. It’s just maybe the wrong time. Following up from the accountants we have worked with, especially one in particular, he just sent me an email that he did $248,000 in revenue in a 2-month period just from following up with people he hadn’t followed up with within 10 months.
If you remember, Michelle, he was somebody that when we first talked to him, it wasn’t the right timing. We kept following up with him, and then he engaged with us. Now, look what happened, $240,000 in sales.
It wasn’t the right time the first time. That is true. He came back, he did enroll in our course, and we taught him a lot of amazing things that not only helped a lot of clients because number one, it’s about helping and serving our current clients. His goal was to do about $100,000 in revenue in an 8-week period with us, and he did 2 1/2 times that. Following up is easy. It doesn’t require a whole lot of effort, it just requires a little bit of time. It’s just having a great system in place. Having a great system in place is what I call the key secret ingredient. If you don’t have a system, then how does anything work? Denise, what do you do that works for you?
It reminds me of Tim, a guy that I started working with. He was skeptical. He had been burned a little bit before meeting me. We had a good rapport when we first met, but he just needed some time and wasn’t ready. I just kept following up with him once a month, and I had taken a lot of good notes. That’s one thing I always do when I have a conversation with someone. I take a lot of notes about our conversation, things that are important to them, things that they may like, and stuff like that. It’s not just saying, “I’m just checking up with you,” because that doesn’t mean anything.
It has to be meaningful.
I’ll take something from my notes when I send an email or maybe even give a quick phone call and say, “I was thinking about you. I know the last time we talked, you had a big presentation. I was just wondering how it went. I love to connect with you again when you’re ready.” It’s something very simple like that. Long story short, a few months later, something came up that I thought would be of interest to him and I invited him to an event. He came to the event and said, “I’m ready to work with you now.” He signed up for a $10,000 engagement.
It happens all the time. I know a lot of the accountants who are reading right now might be thinking we’re a little cuckoo and that this stuff doesn’t work, but I’ve personally tested this with twenty accountants personally, so I know it works. All you have to do is put it into action, and keep it simple. Let’s talk about some easy ways to follow up that we found that’s worked and other accountants have found it’s worked, and hopefully, it will inspire you to put this into action.
What we recommend, if you are working with someone who is not completely ready to engage with you right now, maybe they need to think about it or they need to talk to their business partner or something like that, anytime you’re in a meeting or on a call with a client, always schedule the follow-up call within 12 to 24 hours if you can, and do it right then and there. Never wait. We don’t want to wait until, “It was so great meeting you. I’ll send you a link to my calendar. I’ll get back to you and we can book a follow-up.”
What we’re trying to teach you and inspire you to try is to remove the back and forth. You don’t have to email them again. You don’t have to call them. You just are scheduling it right then and there. Pull up your calendars, and find a time that works for both of you. Denise, do you have any other good ways that you do it?
That’s one of the best ways. I don’t know about you, but I hate that back-and-forth stuff. You feel like you’re chasing people. It’s like 1 million emails.
It’s 1 million emails, and that’s more annoying.
People appreciate that, too. They’re like, “Let’s book it now.” Also, I’ll put a note in my calendar to send out a little reminder to confirm our appointment maybe 24 hours before.
I always send a reminder.
I’ll always schedule the next meeting. If maybe it’s not the right timing for them or whatever it is, I’ll then put in my calendar just automatically maybe 2 weeks or 3 weeks from now just to do a check-in, so it pops up on my calendar. I don’t have to think about it, it’ll just do it automatically. That day, I just send out either an email or make a quick call.
That is confirming your appointments after you already booked them and reminding them a day before. I call a lot, and we use a service called Calendly. That’s another tool that you could use. There are other tools out there like Acuity. What’s another one? ScheduleOnce. These are all online calendar tools where it will send a reminder to your clients. iCal‘s pretty good if you want the free version or Google Calendar also has a reminder feature.
Schedule an automatic check-in also probably within one month from your original call if they’re just not a good fit right now. I think one month, every month check-in is pretty realistic and good if you feel like that client is going to be a great fit for your accounting firm. This happened to one of our clients, Scott. Scott only works with business owners who have $500,000 in net income or higher. This business maybe had $100,000 in net income. They’re on track to be an ideal client, but they’re not there yet. On a client like that, maybe an every six-month check-in would be good because that’s not too annoying.
That means that you care. You can check in with them on a 5 to 10-minute phone call. This is a great way to not be annoying but to stay top of mind. We’re here to share with you how can you stay top of mind without being too annoying. I always recommend, too, and Denise, I don’t know if you do this, but sending a thank you email to your potential client like, “Thank you for your time. I look forward to you talking to you in June,” if it’s a six-month follow-up and then having the reminder on your end. If it’s a six-month gap, you might want to set a reminder a week prior and then the 24 hours like you were mentioning earlier.
Another thing that I like to do as well is when I’m sending out that thank you, I also will do a little recap of our conversation, “On our call, this is what we talked about. These are the things that I heard were important to you. I look forward to continuing our conversation.” In their mind, and it’s in writing, they will also be reading again like, “That person understood me. They listened.” That’s super powerful.
It shows not only that you were listening, but it also will help you remember what you spoke about six months from now. To take that one step further, I would copy and paste the email into the notes section of your calendar appointment. Now, you have the email track in your calendar appointment, so when it pops up six months from now, you know exactly what you spoke about and what the email was that you sent them.
I did that. There is someone who I think will be joining us after tax season. I made a reminder to follow up in June, and copied and pasted the notes in there. Now, when June comes around, I don’t have a lot of external brain. I don’t know if some of you reading might even feel this way, but do you ever feel like you need an external drive plugged into your brain because you can’t remember anything anymore? The follow-up emails and notes are crucial. One of the other cool things, if you take great notes is that you send an off-topic email in between. Maybe it’s every other month.
I was talking to one of our clients, Denise, and he’s making brisket on the grill. He’s a big griller. What if you saw this big grill sale happening at Lowe’s or Home Depot, and you sent him the article on all the best grills coming out? You send something fun that’s not related to the work business. That’s where we’re going with this, depending on what’s important to your clients. If you take good notes, you’ll be able to think about sending them some great materials to read, but it’s about the thought that counts, and that’s what people are going to remember. What are some good things that you’ve sent off, Denise, to give them some more ideas to think about?
One of the other people that I was talking to, her dream is taking her family to Fiji. Something popped up in my Yahoo, this deal for Fiji. Do you know how Yahoos somehow are listening to our conversations? I don’t know how that works, but things just pop up. I just copied the link and I was like, “Have you seen this resort? This might be one of the places you might want to book for your trip with your family to Fiji once we get you moving in the right direction with your business.” It was fun. It’s a fun thing to think about.
That is an important piece to this puzzle for following up without being annoying because that’s what we’re talking about. The other thing, too, is to figure out what works for you depending on your client. If you have bookkeeping client prospects, those people need services every month, so maybe put them on the monthly follow-up plan. If you have a tax planning prospect, maybe follow up with them every 90 days or so. There are a lot of opportunities for business clients to engage with you in your services.
However, if you’re not following up and you’re not staying top of mind, they might just go with someone else. Having this follow-up system for your accounting firm, number one will differentiate you from most accountants out there because it’s not happening from what we’ve seen. I’m sure there’s a percentage that is, but most aren’t, so you can have a lot of opportunities, and again, just keep it consistent. If once a month you can’t do it consistently, then do it every other month.
Be careful. Sometimes I know accounting professionals like to send stuff about tax laws. Your clients don’t care about that. Send them something personal.
If you know something about them personally. If you don’t then, go back to the drawing board and have coffee with them, and find out what they love to do outside of their business life. What’s important to them? Do they want to travel to Fiji? Do they want to start grilling brisket outside in the middle of the winter? What’s their passion? What do they love to do?
Maybe they have a son or daughter that is going to be graduating soon or something like that, or their favorite sports team. There are lots of things that you can connect with them around.
These are some extra tips for each of you, so you can put these into practice, too. No extra charge for these. They’re bonus tips. Focus on value. Ross Jeffries and I discussed this in the fourth episode of the show. If you go on your iTunes or Google Play to episode number four, you can listen to our whole conversation on value. What Denise was talking about in taking good notes with your clients, you can focus on value more often when you’re doing your follow-ups and sending emails because the value is what’s important to them. Do you have anything else on that that you’d focus on from extracting things from your notes with clients?
Reflecting on what’s important to them is where the value is. Letting them know that you heard them and care about what’s important to them, that’s going to have you stand out from everybody else in your profession.Value is found when you reflect on what is important to your clients. Letting them know that you are listening and taking care of their needs will make you stand out. Click To Tweet
Denise, the value isn’t in the, “I’m the best CFO out there? I’m the best bookkeeper?” Is that not the value?
Not necessarily. It’s important.
It’s important, but it’s not the value that your clients are looking for.
People are going to think you’re the best, even if you’re not. I hope you think you’re the best.
We think you’re the best.
You got to believe that you’re the best. You showing up and showing up differently, they’re going to go, “There’s something different here. I should work with this person.” That’s what you are.
That leads to our next thing because it’s giving the personal touch. Remember those unique points from your original meetings, your original phone calls, if you’re operating a virtual firm from your Zoom video meetings, or whatever form that you’re working on. If it’s not related to your accounting services, then that’s even better. Having it not relate to your services is where you’re going to find the gold. That is the thing that I would say most accounting professionals are missing the boat on.
If we can all focus on that, it will help set you apart from other accounting professionals out there. Keep building rapport with your clients. Denise and I have found that every time we reach out and do follow-ups, it’s building that relationship and building the rapport even more, and keeping it consistent, especially with your ideal potential clients. Denise, how is building rapport helped you in a lot of the business that you’ve done over the last 20 or 30 years?
It’s key. What has happened for me is people feel like that they’re part of my family because that’s the kind of relationship that I develop with people, and that’s why I had clients with me for twenty years and they continuously refer new business to me because they know they can trust me. They know that I’m not just blowing smoke. I deliver what I say and I deliver value. I’m not the most inexpensive, and that’s okay.
It’s totally okay. If you need help keeping it consistent, so as we speak about consistency, it’s important. There are a lot of tools out there, but Denise and I use the simple Google Sheet in Google Drive, and it’s totally free. I have never used a full-blown CRM system. I’ve never needed to. I’ve never wanted to, but those are out there, you can use services like Infusionsoft or Salesforce. One of my pals is making a simple CRM system that will help you bring those topic emails, and you can send gifts through it.
I have not seen it yet. When it comes out, I will make sure that all of the show’s fans out there who are reading will get access to it immediately. Keep your ears open and your eyes peeled on the emails. By the way, if you want to get on the email list and learn more about what Denise and I do, you can head on to TheAbundantAccountant.com and sign up for our emails. You’ll get one on the 1st and the 15th of every month, Payroll dates. I just thought we would keep it accounting related, so the 1st and the 15th, We don’t bombard you. Sometimes, we send an extra one if we’re going to do a live conversation, but primarily, the 1st and the 15th.
Denise, let’s head on to some final thoughts on this topic because what we are talking about is following up without being annoying, following up in a genuine way, and being consistent. I know we’ve said it a couple of times, but I’ll say it again. It will set you apart from other accountants out there, and it will keep you at the top of your potential client’s minds. This is one of the biggest complaints we hear from a lot of CPAs is that they get new clients because their other accountants never reach out and call them. There are several ways that you want to stay top of mind, and especially for a client relationship type business as an accounting firm, that’s a huge one.
That’s how you’re going to find out what’s going on. That’s how you’re going to find out what value you can offer them. Staying in communication is super key. We promise you that if you do this, even if you just take an hour a week to put this in place.
Let’s make it simple, 30 minutes. Start out at 30 minutes, and then bump it up to 1 hour once you start seeing your return on investment. You could send us an email to Hello@ThePitchQueen.com with your wins. “Michelle and Denise, I started following up, and now all of a sudden, I have extra dollars in revenue because I keep getting one client a month consistently.” Whatever it is, we love to hear about your wins, so feel free to send emails because I love reading them, and I share them with Denise all the time.
The other key thing as a final thought is to schedule your follow-ups and make it a regular part of your practice. Just like you have a tax practice, you regularly review tax returns. Like Denise said, start out with 1 hour, I’m saying 30 minutes. Schedule it in your calendar. If you use iCal like I do, or if you use Google Calendar, G Suite, or any of those types of services, I promise you, you schedule 30 minutes a week, which is about 2 hours per month, and if you do what Denise recommends, 1 hour a week, that’s 4 hours a month, so if you schedule 2 to 4 hours a month, my guess is that it will turn out to be at least $2,000 to $10,000 extra in revenue a month that you’ve never had before. What do you say?
It’s totally worth it.
Create a follow-up system that works, decide how often you want to follow up with people, and then make sure you put it into action. If you don’t put this stuff into action, nothing’s going to change. Denise, when you started putting more of this follow-up stuff into action, what happened for you?
First, I was like, “this is going to be hard,” but then I started doing it and it became fun because it’s reminding me of what’s important to my clients. These are people I love working with now and I get to work with. It’s cool. Not only did it make it more fun for me. It saved me money because, as you said, it costs money to get a new client. If I’m just following up with people that I’ve already spoken with, it just creates that steady income and that steady flow and has increased my bottom line substantially.
You brought up a good point. I’m just going to say one more thing before we wrap it up. This time is not on new leads. A lot of times, I talk to accountants and some of them are spending $5,000 to $30,000 a month on advertising. What about if we just focused on the follow-ups, putting people into the cue, and building our future?
The term you might have heard is pipeline, future sales clients, or future people that you can help and serve. Each of you loves helping people. You all are in this profession because you love to help people, and you love to reduce their taxes. If you’re an audit firm, you love to do audits. Whatever it is, it’s all about helping people. By doing this, you will get to help more people.
I’ll leave it with that for now. If you have a quick second, we would be grateful if you could leave us a rating and a review on iTunes or Google Play, and hit subscribe to the show. We always love hearing from you. One last thing before we let you go. If you’ve ever felt like you give away too much information for free and you’re tired of not getting paid what you’re worth, you’re probably like many other accountants that we’ve worked with, and you may feel like you’re on this cashflow roller coaster.
We do have a solution for you. You can head on over to watch our accountants’ masterclass at TheAbundantAccountant.com. You’ll learn how to communicate your value. You’ll learn how to collect higher fees. You’ll learn how to get a little bit more confidence and get paid what you’re worth so you can work a little bit less, make a little bit more money, and go to Fiji, as Denise said. We would love to see you there. We will see you again. Thank you so much for reading, and have an amazing day.
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About Denise Mandeau
My name is Denise Mandeau and I am the Entrepreneur, Career and Relationship Coach here at Full Potential Life Coaching. Sales & Entrepreneur Coaching for Business owners and Sales professionals who want to find more customers, make more money and have a life! With proven success as a Small business owner, Financial Planner and award winning Sales person for over 25 years. I know what it takes for people to be truly successful.
My goal is to partner with professionals, EMPOWERING them to be SUCCESSFUL Entrepreneurs in their business. Taking their passion to the marketplace with FUN and vitality!