Your elevator pitch is your opportunity to connect with someone. Denise Mandeau says you start building a relationship from the first 10 to 30 seconds that you meet someone and give your first impression. That’s going to set the tone whether they’re going to a potential client or a potential referral source for you. Denise is a business growth strategist and co-founder of P3D Consulting. She has proven success as a business owner, financial planner and award-winning sales professional for over 35 years. Denise is passionate about teaching others to learn how to sell without being salesy! She joins us in this interview to talk about how to pitch your skills – whether you’re a CPA, an accountant, or a bookkeeper – without being too technical.
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How To Pitch Your CPA Skills Without Being Overly Technical with Denise Mandeau
Before we get into this episode, I am eager to discover more about the audience of this show. I’d like to take a moment to extend an invitation for you to subscribe and leave a written rating and review for the show so I can keep on delivering the content that you want and love. With that said, I want to hear from more of you. Feel free to leave that rating and a review and I will feature it on a future episode here on the show. I also invite you to take a screenshot at the end of this episode with your phone and tag me, Michelle Weinstein, as well as our amazing guest, Denise Mandeau and #TheAbundantAccountantPodcast when you post this on your LinkedIn feed. What I’d like for you to do is share with us what is the most valuable lesson that you learned from this episode that you’re going to implement and put into action.
I am with my partner in crime, Denise. Welcome, Denise, to the show. It is awesome to have you here. We are talking about how to pitch your skills, being a CPA, being an accountant or being a bookkeeper, whichever ones that resonate with you without being too technical. Isn’t that what we’re doing now, Denise?
That is because we hear these accounting professionals getting all technical and we’re like deer in the headlights glazed over.
It’s funny because we went over this topic in our class. If you’re a CPA, accountant or bookkeeper, we have an eight-week course where we teach you how to convert better, increase revenue and think of things that you’ve never maybe thought of before. We hear this question at least once a month, “How do I make an elevator pitch without having my clients’ eyes glazed over?” I feel like my eyes were glazing over once we heard a couple of them. Once we made some tweaks, it was a lot better. We’ve got some real-time stories that we’re going to be able to share with you on how do you make it make sense?
With all of your extensive knowledge, with all of your degrees, all of the awesome things that you have, but not make it to accounting-ish but more so for the normal person business owner, entrepreneur to understand. The way that you express what it is that you do can make or break your next new client or if you’re at a networking event. If you’re one of our clients, Mike, who went to Brendon Burchard’s event. When you go and explain what you do to a high-performing entrepreneur or business owner, you need to speak to them in order to catch their attention on the emotional level.
In this episode, we are going to talk about the five actionable steps that you can do to create a winning elevator pitch that anyone can understand. You don’t have to call it an elevator pitch if you don’t like that word, but how do you answer the question, “What is it that you do?” without saying, “I’m a CPA. I’m a bookkeeper. I am an enrolled agent or I’m an accountant.” Whichever one you are, we hope that by the end of you’ll have a little bit more insight on what can you say to someone when they say, “What it is that you do or how can you help and serve someone?” Denise and I are going to give you some examples. We’re going to give you some stories because we talked about this in our class. It was extremely relevant.
It was eye-opening to many of our students.
It was definitely eye-opening to me because this is an area that I believe each of you, if you work on it a little bit and give it a little bit energy, you’re going to differentiate yourself from so many other CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers out there because most, from what I’ve learned, answer it all the same way. There’s nothing unique about it speaking to me being who your client is and remembering that this is always about your client. It has nothing to do with you. Denise, what is an elevator pitch from your point of view?
It’s your opportunity to connect with someone and start building a relationship with them from the first 10, 15, 30 seconds that you meet someone to give your first impression. That’s going to set the tone, whether you’re going to even have a relationship with somebody or they could be a potential client or a potential referral source even for you.
We like to say maybe 30 seconds or less. It’s about your service and how you can help the other client after you piqued their interest. I say that piqued interest partly because that’s the most important part. This phrase of an elevator pitch, I was always wondering where did it come from. It came from when movie editors and movie executives would meet in the elevators of the buildings, they would call it the elevator pitch of what they were doing in the movies. I thought that was interesting. It’s a little tad of history for you.
You’ve got to catch that producer’s ear and you have 30 seconds.The first 10 to 30 seconds that you meet someone is going to set the tone whether you’re going to have a relationship with them. Click To Tweet
You have 30 seconds to share what movie you’re going to have or what TV show. There’s every movie on Earth and Hollywood is a little oversaturated, if you asked me. If you think about it and you go to the movies, do the movies that you see ever drastically change? It’s not a whole lot. If you’re going to be pitching a new movie, it’s got to stand out to somebody.
It makes me think of I Love Lucy. It’s something Lucy would do.
Let’s talk about a few ideas on what the elevator pitches could be used for. I’m going to give you a couple of ideas. Denise is going to give you a couple of ideas. An elevator pitch should be used if you’re going to a networking event and if you want to make an impression on someone that lasts and that resonates with them, not with you, but resonates with them. They say, “I want to talk to Michelle and Denise. They were amazing. I don’t understand how they do what they do.” That’s the impression you want. Denise, what’s another way?
It helps you when you have a memorable first impression of who you are and what you do. They’re going to keep thinking about you long after. They’re going to go, “Wow.” If you have it laid out well, it’s going to make a lasting impression. Not only will they remember you, but they’re going to be talking about you to other people too.
It’s the impression that last. It’s like the domino effect when you stack a bunch of dominoes, you tip the first one over and they all start flying down. They’re going to want to tell someone else. It’s almost like you get a referral before you ever know it. This allows your future prospect that you might even not understand that you have a future client in front of you but you do. This could lead to your first client. It could lead to your first discovery meeting with a new client. It could lead to your first appointment. Even with our example of Mike from our class, he said that he got a $25,000 litigation case by going to an event and saying what it is that he does in a way that perks that person’s interest. If you can go to one event and get one client, that’s a pretty significant return on investment.
That doesn’t happen all the time, so don’t think that’s going to happen. It does open the door to future potential leads and clients. What’s step number one in what to say to a client? Let’s talk about this because this was the part that was the a-ha moment for me. Most of you might say if someone said to you, “What is it that you do?” You say, “I provide accounting and CPA services to small businesses to help them with their cashflow and help them make sure they have enough money to pay their taxes every quarter.” That’s maybe what some of you might say. Denise, did we hear something else?
We heard stuff like that. We heard, “I help clients with tax reduction strategies.” What does that even mean? I don’t know.
As the consumer, as the client, which Denise and I are to each of you, it’s a different way to put it so it perks my ears. If you don’t remember anything else about what we talk about now, what if you say, “I help small business owners who are sick of having the same bottom line year and year again and having to overpay their taxes to Uncle Sam.” To me, that speaks volumes because I say, “I am sick of having the same net income. Does that mean you can help increase my revenue or decrease my expenses and increase my profitability? I paid too much money to Uncle Sam every single year.” You’re speaking to my emotion. You’re speaking to the emotion of the business owner. Denise, what was another good one after we made a few tweaks on that first sentence? If all you do is change that, then you’re speaking to the emotion of the person who you want to help and serve.
One of them was like, “I work with business owners that are so tired of getting hammered and feeling they’re working so hard all the time and not getting anywhere. I help them grow their business and put things in perspective so they can have balance in their life, go on vacations and enjoy their family.”
What’s a way we could change that? We’re talking about a simple shift for each of you that you can change and implement. It’s nothing too crazy, nothing too technical. The first part could be, “I help business owners get off the cashflow hamster wheel where you can’t ever continuously make payroll on the 1st and the 15th of every month.” Use one word as descriptive. I’m giving you the backstory to it. “I help business owners get off the cashflow hamster wheel.” You’re a lot different now if you didn’t say you’re a CPA and you didn’t say you were an accountant. The first example that Denise and I shared is too technical. The other one evokes some emotion. That’s the first step in whatever elevator pitch that you’re going to do. What can you do to invoke some emotion that resonates with people?Don’t pitch services; pitch solutions to people's problems. Click To Tweet
When somebody asks you what do you do, you say, “I’m a CPA. I’m an accountant.” They’re like, “I already have one of those. I have somebody doing my taxes are already.” They already have in their mind what they think you do. That’s a big pitfall that we see over and over again because then they don’t know what you do anyway.
They don’t and a lot of us assume so we want to stop assuming. Again, it’s about making a good impression and having it be memorable. Something that’s memorable is something funny. It’s something a little off the wall. It’s something a little out there. If someone ever tells you that it was a little bit out there, that’s good because that’s what will make it more memorable. That is step one for you to implement. Let’s get into step number two because I know each of you likes some structure. Here on this show, we do try to keep it slightly structured for you but not too much because we want to steer away a little bit. You try something on, try something new.
Remember that your potential clients standing in front of you only care about the solution to their problems. They don’t care how you get there. They don’t care what form you’re going to fill out. We want to speak about their problems. If you’re helping someone get off the cashflow hamster wheel, that’s a problem. Denise, what’s another one? We’re speaking to the problems that your future client is having when you’re meeting them on the elevator or at the event.
I help business owners know their numbers so that they can make great decisions about their business.
What’s the one that creates more emotion to that?
They can not only make great decisions about their business but be able to hire better employees and pay them more and have more benefits for themselves and their employees.
A lot of business owners don’t want to work as much, so you could say, “Have more money to hire the people so you don’t have to do the work,” or something like that. Instead of starting with, “I provide accounting services or I provide CPA services, or I’m an accountant. I do taxes, payroll and bookkeeping.” I get why you might say that, but what if you changed it and said, “I help small businesses.” Maybe you only help construction companies. We’ve worked with some people that do that. “I work with construction company owners who are sick of having the same bottom line year over year.” That’s what you do. That’s what you say.
Even if you got that part down from now, you’re going to be a million steps ahead of anyone else. Give that a try and remember that we’re not pitching services, we’re pitching solutions to people’s problems. The solution part is going to be the next part. Step number three positions yourself as an expert. This is where you get to say what you do. Position yourself as the expert and that you are the problem solver because each of you is a great problem solver. You’re all very intelligent, which is why we love to work with you. It’s not an extension of, “I do taxes or I do payroll.” It’s about sharing your expertise and showing your clients real-life examples of how you can help them do that.
You could add something like, “You can reduce your expenses and cost of doing business to free up money to hire that CEO so you don’t have to do all the work,” or “You can help them reinvest and make more money so you can fund your retirement.” There are many businesses and business owners that have this much in retirement and this is zero. I hear it all the time speaking to accounting-preneurs all day who have no retirement. Your clients are not any different. What if you were able to insert that in sharing what it is that you do? You’re not showing them how, but you’re helping them get to the solution of their problems. We speak in generalities to problems. I like to say pick one or two, but that’s a great opportunity or you can help them save money on taxes so they can use that to fund their business.
Maybe they need more inventory. Maybe their shelves aren’t stocked enough for something like that. They’re losing money or they’re losing opportunities. With your help, they could easily solve that problem.Rapport is trust put together with comfort. Click To Tweet
A lot of our accountants were asking me, “Michelle, when I talk about the problem and I share this solution, it’s basically saying the same thing.” I’m like, “It is.” Going back to the example, “I help small business owners who are sick of having the same bottom line over and over again have consistent cashflow so you’re never on the hamster wheel ever again.” I said that you help fix cashflow, which a lot of you do especially for some of you that are doing profit first stuff or anything like that. You help people fix their cashflow. We’re not going to tell them how and we’re going to speak to what their problem is and that’s what you’re able to help solve. That’s the third part is positioning yourself as an expert. This is where you can share the technical skill that you’re going to solve for your client. Denise, do you have any other good ideas for that one?
No, I think we’re hitting it right on the head here.
What’s the fourth thing we need to do, Denise?
You’ve got to practice. Don’t wing it. Write it out. Think about your best clients, think about who you want to work with and what the problems have been in their businesses or individuals, maybe a high-net worth individuals that you’re working with. What are some of the things? Why do they need you? Why do they need your help? Write it out. Practice it with a few people. Practice it ten times. Practice it 100 times so when you have a conversation and somebody asks you, “What do you do?” It rolls off your tongue. You can be in the supermarket. You could be at a networking event. You could be at an event where you’re learning something with a roomful of people that are exactly the type of people that you want to gain their business. When it comes easily and smoothly and you’re confident about it, that’s attractive too.
The bonus to add to this whole thing is that at the end you say, “How can I help and serve you?” If we don’t even ask that at the end, what good does it do for anybody? Like in sales, we do need to ask for the sale and we do need to ask, “How we can help you?” That’s all you’re doing and you listen.
Another thing you could say is something like, “I’d love to hear about what are some of the challenges you’re dealing with in your business?” You’re going to get them talking.
What other ways can they ask to get them talking?
You can refer back to the problem you said, “Tell me, have you experienced these problems or is there anyone you know that I could help?” It’s that simple.
After you ask your question, you say what you do in a non-technical form. We’re evoking some emotion. It doesn’t have to be a whole lot. I’m sharing with you a simple one. We’re doing a two-sentence elevator pitch here. It’s very basic. It’s very minute changes to change up, “I’m a CPA and I help businesses manage their cashflow and reduce their taxes.” We’re making it a little bit more fun, but the other person on the other end can attach to it. One of the next things, step five, is to be ready for some questions because when you ask, “How can I help and serve you?” A lot of people are going to ask and get curious so expect curiosity, expect questions. When you’re meeting someone for the first time and the first few seconds we’re talking about, you don’t have any trust yet.
One of the things to building trust is working on that business relationship and the business rapport. Rapport is trust put together with comfort. In order to do that, we need to communicate. I would bring your personality into it. Try to be fun. If someone truly wants to know more and get to know you, they will start asking you questions. Be ready to answer questions after they ask it. Here is another example that I want to share. Denise, if you want, we can do this one together. We can roleplay it. Denise and I are going to roleplay. Denise will pretend that she just met me at Tony Robbins. We were at Tony Robbins’ together. She met me. I am the CPA.
“Michelle, tell me more about you. What do you do?
I’m happy that you asked me what I do. I help successful business owners like you who do $500,000 or more in revenue, see the fruits of their labor reflected in their bank accounts. A lot of times I hear you work so much, but you never can see the fruits of your labor. I’m curious, how could I help and serve you?
You could help me put more in my bank account. How do you do that? I would love to hear more about that.
What I do is I help you find money that you already had in your business, you just didn’t realize it, so you can enjoy the fruits of your labor and start saving for some retirement.
When can we talk about this some more?
I know we’re at Tony Robbins, so I would love to schedule an appointment so we can talk. We can do it on video or Zoom when we get back. Does Tuesday or Wednesday work best for you?
Wednesday would be fabulous.
On Wednesday, I can do 10:00 AM Pacific or noon Pacific. What time is best for you?
Let’s do noon.
I’m going to get my phone out right now. I want to get your phone number and your email and I’m going to send you a calendar appointment right now. I got your name, I got your phone number, I got your email. I sent you the calendar appointment. Did you get it?
I got it.
I can’t wait to talk more about this, but let’s enjoy Tony Robbins so let’s go back in. What do you say?
That is the two-sentence pitch. It was very short. We go way more in-depth in our course on that. Even if you change up one or two sentences, do you see the difference? I didn’t even say I was a CPA because at the end of the day, at this part of the game, it doesn’t matter because they’re going to go search for you. They’re going to look at your LinkedIn. They’re going to look at your website when you send them the email. Your signature, you have your website so they’re going to see all of that. Let’s do one more. Denise, I’ll be a tax planning CPA expert. We’re at a real estate convention with a bunch of real estate investors. If you’re a CPA and you’re looking to work with real estate investors, what’s the best place to go to? Where real estate investors hang out and then you can be prepared to answer what they ask. I know a lot of you work with real estate investors.
“Michelle, it’s nice to meet you. Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you do?
That’s funny you asked. It’s so nice to meet you, Denise. I work with real estate investors like you that are doing over $1 million in their business so they can save a ton of money and keep it in their pockets with audit-proof legal strategies. I’m curious, how can I support you?
I’m not at that $1 million mark yet, but I’m working on it. Can you help me get there?
We can definitely talk about that. We can schedule an appointment. Do you mind if I ask how large your business is? What was your revenue last year?
I did about $500,000.
We can definitely keep in touch and there might be some opportunities I can support you with. I am looking and working with people that are over that $1 million mark because there are some great legal audit proof strategies that work for them that you’re going to definitely be able to take advantage of. Do you maybe know someone who’s been that range?
Maybe my mentor. You should talk to my mentor. His name is Dan. He’s here. I’ll introduce you to him.
I’ll meet Dan. You and I will keep in touch. I would love to connect with you next week anyway because you are at that $500,000 mark and there are a lot of opportunities that could be done for you. When we get back from this real estate investor conference, does next Tuesday or Wednesday work best for you to connect?
Tuesday probably is best.
I can do 4:00 or 5:00 Pacific. Which is best?
4:00 is better.
When you grab Dan, you can share with him that I help real estate investors like you and him, find the money that you didn’t already know you had in your business so that you can use it to fund your retirement and be able to reinvest it in more properties. Make sure to pass that message on to him and I can’t wait to meet him and talk to you next week when we leave this conference.
I can’t wait to learn more about how you do all this stuff.”
Those are some examples. It was helpful so you could hear the roleplaying. What is going to set you apart from all of the other accountants and bookkeepers and CPAs out there, if you change that one sentence, it honestly makes the biggest difference. Think about also I was talking to real estate investors in that example that is doing $1 million or above. The more you niche down on who you’re speaking to, the more Dans you’re going to find. Denise automatically said, “My mentor, Dan,” and the light bulbs will go on in your future clients’ heads based on what you say to them and who resonates with them.
Make sure to keep that in mind and hopefully you can put some of this into action. Our goal for you is to create or edit what you have. I know a lot of you have something with your elevator pitch or elevator sentence with the five steps and then practice. If you can, I will share it on a future episode if you email it to me. Email me your elevator sentences or pitches to Hello@ThePitchQueen.com and I will share it on a future episode. Denise, do you have any closing words?
Maybe you noticed that because Michelle was being so specific, that it also prevented her from going down a trail with someone that isn’t somebody she wants to have as a client. This can be a screening tool for you too if you do it the right way.
We know that by talking to a lot of you and we work with so many accountants that there’s a lot of you that have a lot of clients that you don’t want to be working with right now. This will help avoid having all the clients you don’t truly want to work with. This will help you attract more of the people who you do want to work with. We want to thank you for being here with us. It was an honor to have you. Thank you, Denise, for joining me. Until next time.
Thank you so much for joining Denise and me on the show. It was an honor to have you. If you want a little bit more goodness, if you want to learn the three proven strategies that most accounting professional clients use to build their accounting practice with premium clients who are eagerly willing to pay them what they’re worth, you can sign up for our free masterclass right now at TheAbundantAccountant.com. I would love to see you there. Thanks again for reading and have an amazing day.
About Denise Mandeau
Denise Mandeau, Business Growth Strategist and Co-founder of P3D Consulting, has proven success as a Business Owner, Financial Planner and award-winning Sales professional for over 35 years. She has learned what it takes to produce results and has been working with sales teams over the last few years helping them to generate millions of dollars in new business. She has personally closed over $1.3 million in new business in the last 12 months. Denise is passionate about teaching others to learn how to sell without being salesy!