The Abundant Accountant Podcast

AA 46 | Potential Customers

 

Are you having a hard time showing your value to potential customers? Are you struggling to make them understand your prices without them questioning you? If so, then this episode is for you! Michelle Weinstein brings over her partner in crime, business strategist Denise Mandeau, to the show to discuss some strategies you can implement to show your potential customers the value you can provide—one that is definitely worthy of you and your services. They share some real-life stories from their clients and show how they helped turn their life around, giving us a view of the dos and don’ts when meeting with your prospects and offering your products or services. Learn more about how to get paid your value with Denise and Michelle in this conversation.

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How To Show Your Value To Potential Customers With Denise Mandeau

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If you are an accounting professional and you’re frustrated or stressed trying to get the right type of clients to pay you for your value. You feel like you don’t have control over who you’re working with or how much you’re charging, or maybe you find yourself discounting your prices, then make sure to book a call over at the AbundantCall.com. Denise and I are offering you a free coaching session to share the information with you for our selling without ever selling system, and how to get those ideal clients so you can build your dream practice. You can work a little less and spend some quality time with your family. Schedule your complimentary coaching session if you are an accountant, you own your own business, and you’ve been in business for at least two years.

We are talking about a very important topic. If you are an accountant, CPA, EA, tax person, tax resolution person, tax planner, or tax attorney, this is for you. How to show your value to potential customers? A lot of accountants come to Denise and me. They struggle to figure out what to price their services at, number one, but also figure out the value in their price. Share it with your clients, where they don’t have to always say, “That’s just too much money. I need to think about it because I don’t have the funds right now. You’re five times more expensive from the other accountant that I’ve been working with.”

We are going to be talking about that. When you put in all the work to figure out what a fair price is on the services or the package that you’re going to offer, how can you help people understand that value and be willing to pay you those prices happily and not even question you? Welcome, Denise, to the show. It’s always fun to have you here, banter and have a conversation. Those of you who are reading, Denise is my partner in crime. Denise, do you want to share a little bit about you for those that this might be their first time ever reading the blog?

I’m Denise Mandeau, Michelle’s partner in crime here on the East Coast. I’m in New Jersey. I was a financial advisor for many years. I love working with accounting professionals and helping you guys express and be able to articulate your value, and not only articulate it, but get paid your value because that’s the bottom line. That’s important. Thanks for having me, Michelle. I love this time together that we get to spend, going back and forth and sharing our knowledge.

Ultimately, it’s to help you get more money in your pockets and help more people because for every single client that comes to you and tells you, “You’re too expensive. I got to think about it,” all those little things that I was saying that you might hear from clients, we aren’t able to help them and they might go somewhere for less price. They might not do anything about their situation. There are two clients that we’ve worked with that we should integrate their stories into the show. One is David. He sells very high-level tax resolution cases and the other is Anna Barbara.

She sent me a text saying, “Michelle, happy birthday. I wanted to let you know that my birthday present to you is that I got two clients to pay me $25,000 each. Thank you for being you.” That’s like the best birthday present I’ve ever had and heard of. It all stems from what we’re talking about. That’s how to show your value to potential customers and not back down from what that is. We’re going to incorporate those two in all of our stories that we share. Both are great examples of the possibilities that exist for you. When you can see what’s possible on the other side, magic will happen. It goes into play at that point.

I think of Andrea, too. She’s stepping into her value and starting to understand how to express that where people are like, “Okay.”

Let’s talk about one of the first things, because in order to even sit in front of a client and be confident about your value or the price that you want to charge and not back down and discount and not give away information for free. I want to talk about Anna Barbara. The first thing that you might want to write down to do an inventory of this is to know yourself in order to know your value. You might be thinking, “What does that mean?” It’s who you are. Anna Barbara is someone who has specialty knowledge, if you call it specialized knowledge, in international tax. She goes above and beyond. When she first started working with us, some of you might relate to this, but if you think about it, the big firms, charge a lot of money.

If you had a boutique firm and you’re a 1 to 5 partner firm, wouldn’t you charge more than the big firms? One of the things that I was discussing with Anna Barbara was understanding the concept of who you were. A lot of times, this comes across in the clients that Denise and I work with. It took Anna Barbara a few months to see it and I see it as if you have a boutique firm and you’re a 1 to 5-person firm, they get more specialized attention. They get maybe personalized emails and phone calls from you and check-ins. They don’t have to go through the eight million different loops. It’s like calling my doctor. I had to call my doctor to get altitude sickness pills.

Understand the value of what you do as an accounting professional. It's not just recording numbers. Click To Tweet

You have to call, and then you get put on hold and then you have to talk to the admin person. They take a message, send it to the physician assistant and finally, the physician answers the physician assistant, the assistant calls you back and says, “We’ll send you a prescription to the Vaughn Pharmacy.” It’s literally like that when you’re dealing with a big firm. In a boutique firm, if you know who you are, that you’re unique, different, small and high touch, then we get to charge more for that. Understanding that, Anna Barbara was able to turn the corner and she sent me that text, $50,000 in the bank. There have been a couple of other ones like that. She probably made over $100,000 or $200,000 in the last couple of months. Understanding what you do is another key ingredient.

When we first met Anna Barbara, she was breaking things down ala carte and letting people choose instead of being, “This is what you need. You need this and this. I’m the right person for it and you’re going to get better service with me than some big firm. That’s why you’re paying premium prices.”

She sent me her ala carte price list and it was 100 lines long. I deleted almost all of it, left three options, and lumped everything together. If you have a long ala carte price list with over 100 items on it, group it together into three different packages and call it a day. In order to be able to communicate your value, you have to know yourself. Who are you? What do you do? How do you do it? Write this down and share it with your team because your team is important in this whole process. Even if you don’t have a team and you have a virtual assistant to help you, whoever it is, jot it down. What makes you different? With Anna Barbara, she speaks multiple languages, has a niche in international tax, been doing this for a long time, and works virtually and remotely. She has a boutique firm. She is available not 24/7 but will get back to you a lot quicker than my doctor analogy from when I had to call my doctor.

Think about who you’ve gotten results for. Being able to share your success with other people. I’m sharing with you what Anna Barbara said. This is the truth and having those results are the key element. Take an inventory of that, write out a couple of sentences for each one, and share it with your team. This is the number one thing before you can be confident to stand behind the price because when you have the confidence, that’s what people end up purchasing and buying. It’s you and your confidence. Denise, what would be the next ingredient if we’re looking at showing our value to our potential clients that we’re going to be working with, our prospects that we’re meeting with based on what we’ve seen the shifts have been with Anna Barbara and David, so each of you knows what is possible?

When you’re expressing that, sometimes we’re too direct and we get techie, and the client doesn’t understand what that is. You have to learn how to language things a little differently. For instance, a pencil’s not just a pencil. It’s a way to save your ideas. That’s very different. Home isn’t just a home. It’s a place where you make memories and you spend time with your loved ones. It’s all how you express it. Another one, a bed is not just a bed. It’s a place where you can relax, where you recover and you bounce back. You wake up the next day and you crush it. That’s what a bed is. It’s about understanding what the value is of what you do as an accounting professional. It’s not recording numbers.

I was having a discussion with Paul, who lives in Ireland. He focuses on human performance for accountants and peak performance. One of the things is making sure also not to focus on the compliance side of things but on the advisory side. Focusing more and think about those services like Anna Barbara, she had 100 items ala carte list of services where when you group them together, now she has $25,000 of the package and offers where people aren’t looking at you like every other CPA firm because they have a menu. It’s like going to the nail salon, “Would you like a pedicure, pedicure spa, pedicure with sea salt, spa, and wax?” It’s like adding all these things on. If the nail salon offered the works or the basic, most people probably go for the works.

It’s talking about the results though. What are you going to feel like when you get the works?

I’m going to feel relaxed, have orange peels dripping down my toes, and have lotion and potions. For Anna Barbara, it’s to put people at ease and that’s where we’re going next. It’s the solution that you provide. You can say you do all the techie stuff and taxes, but what about the end result? Someone in international tax, it’s all about having ease, removing all the penalties that most businesses incur when they move into the US from another country. It’s having that boutique feel. I think I explained this to Anna Barbara. If you think about the value proposition, for those of you that live in the US and that have a Nordstrom, they have a personal shopping service. I see all of you who want to charge higher fees than know exactly what you do. You have to make sure you go back to that. You know who you are, what you do, how to do it, why you do it, how you’re different than everyone else and the results that you’ve gotten for your clients, then you are like a personal shopper at Nordstrom.

They get a commission and charge more. People typically buy a lot more because all their outfits are laid out and the value proposition is it’s a done for you. You don’t have to think about it. Also, it’s about thinking, “What am I saving by doing it this way?” If you do it the ala carte way, it might be more than $25,000 because you’ll have your penalties and fees from doing it wrong because you tried to be cheap and then you’ll have all the different line items like at the nail spa and you never got to talk to your CPA because it was like calling the doctor’s office. You had to go through all these hoops and then if you add up your time because every time I call the doctor, it’s 30 minutes. That is a value proposition if you think about it from that point of view. Denise, what’s another example?

The other thing is when you think about, instead of thinking about hourly rates, people want to buy solutions. They don’t want to buy sections.

AA 46 | Potential Customers

Potential Customers: When you connect the value to the client’s emotions and how it’s going to impact them, plus putting it in their thinking or language, then you’ve got a magical combination.

 

I don’t want it sectional. I want the whole living room.

Even when you go furniture shopping, maybe you’re looking for an end table, but if you see the whole set together, you don’t want to break up a set. You want the whole thing because it looks awesome and then you feel awesome when you’re walking in your living room.

Think about the solution and how your clients feel if they bought the package versus the sectional. They got the whole living room. They got the pillows, footrest, love seat, sofa, chair, and massager. They got the whole package and think about a solution is also based on how your client would feel. When you figure that out and you can communicate that, it’s when a lot of things will start to shift for you.

When you connect that value to the emotions and to the client and how it’s going to impact them, if you put it in there thinking or languaging, then you’ve got a magical combination. That’s when you start getting those $25,000 or $30,000 or $50,000 clients.

We’re going to break it down in the three things for you. The first thing that you want to do is know yourself. What do you do? How do you do it? Number two is the solution. We want to sell packages and if you need a visual, think of the whole living room. You don’t want to just buy the chair, one orange pillow and this and that. This is not an ala carte service. We are personal shoppers at Nordstrom, providing a full-blown solution to our clients that have them. Number three, think about how they feel. Do you want to share about what David and what he’s been able to do? He knows exactly what he does and the solutions he provides. We got to use his words because it’s good. For any of you doing tax resolution, you might want to pay close attention because some of this is amazing, what he’s been able to create.

He helps them sleep at night because they’re not worried about opening their mail.

He eliminates their tax seizures. If we go back and we walk you through the steps with David so you can think about who it is that you work with, who are you? David helps people have mail opening ceremonies to get the IRS off his back. He helps them negotiate and figure out how to get clean with the IRS. How does he do what he does is he engages with them at a very high fee between $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, all the way up to $50,000 in order to eliminate their seizures to be able to sleep peacefully at night and not having anxiety when they go to their mailbox. Why does he do what he does? It’s because he seriously has the passion and he’s good at what he does to help people that have had the garnishment problem and busy business people with lots of money thought they could get away with not paying the government. It doesn’t work.

What makes you and David different? He knows who you will work with and who he will not work with. He’s clear, unique and different because he will have a mail opening ceremony with you. It’s almost like going to the Olympics with your mail. At your first meeting, you get to have the ceremony and bring your whole stack of mail. If it’s 100 letters, you bring 100 letters. For the accountants reading this, if you’re working with those clients like, “That’s a great idea.” Who have you gotten results from? He’s had testimonials and working on getting more written and video testimonials. That would be example number one, verbally explained to you for David. Number two, for his solution. In order to share the value proposition and be able to get the prices that you demand, this is very important that you know the solution and then number three, how they feel.

He’s very clear on that and we helped them with this. He also gets a big chunk upfront and he sent us a picture of a check for $25,000 that he got before he even started the work with them because they understood the value. He’ll get the difference when he is complete.

If you think about your solution and you were to write it down, it isn’t that you’re going to fill out form B, tax form X, payroll XYZ, select C corp, S corp, and LLC corp. It has nothing to do with that. The solution is what is going to be the end result for that client? The third key ingredient is how is that person going to feel? When you can tie all that together, that is where the magic happens. For David, the solution is putting a stop to the mail so that you can go to the mailbox, have zero anxiety, and be able to peacefully go out there and not have a panic attack.

People want to buy solutions. They don't want to buy sections. Click To Tweet

Also, not to wonder whether all of a sudden, the cash you thought was in your account to buy inventory is gone.

They got garnished. Your money was sucked out of your account and you didn’t even know it. What are the other feelings that David has experienced and expressed? For each of you, understanding how your clients would feel is one of the most important and awkward, weird things that you’re ever going to have to think about?

There is a lot of fear with tax resolution. There are reasons why people haven’t paid their taxes because they’re afraid of the IRS. When they haven’t paid their taxes, they should be afraid. If you don’t fix this, it’s not going to go away. It could get worse. Sometimes with some accounting professionals, it’s more subtle. It’s a little bit more delicate. Maybe the thing you’re saying is, “I save them taxes.” That’s not emotional. What is the savings going to be for? What is it going to provide for them? They haven’t been on vacation with their family. They’ll be able to create more magical memories with their family.

Magical memories or putting their kids through college stress-free, where four years of college plus grad school set aside. That would be a feeling. That is very important to communicate when meeting with your prospects and clients for them to pay the prices and be happy about it. That is the way to show value. It’s not much more complicated than that, but you have to do those three steps to get those types of results. You’ll be surprised like Anna Barbara and David because all of them were a little shocked that it worked and got these checks and sent us text messages and photos to prove that happened. What I want to share with you about proof as a bonus is like having a Yelp or Google review page. On your website, have a client review page. Denise, chime in on what other things they can do because that is another form of showing your value by how you’ve helped other people.

I read the book, Influence, a great book by Robert Cialdini. One of the weapons of influence is social proof. I’m glad that I’ve been doing it for a very long time because I don’t have a degree in psychology, but psychologists say that this helps and it will help build your value. If you need an example of what a client review page looks like, you can go to TheAbundantAccountant.com and go to Success Stories or Client Reviews and copy ours as the format. Having client reviews is the bonus that I invite you each to do and start getting client stories and client testimonials. If you have a Facebook for your business, you could set up Facebook reviews.

Another is Andrea, she’s in our class. She does a lot of blogs. Maybe you even want to do a guest podcast on somebody like Anna Barbara, an expert in international tax. I’m sure there are lots of podcasts out there dealing with an international business where she could come on and be a guest expert. This is layering the foundation. If you were putting up a house and they layer the concrete or the cement before they build your house, that’s the foundation. The foundation and value are all these elements that we’re talking about, the three that you would do with a client. The subtle one is what we’re talking about here with being good with your social proof. There are lots of things. I know it sounds overwhelming, pick one.

It’s very powerful. People live vicariously through others. It’s one thing if you say it, but if somebody else says something good about you, that’s adding to your social value. When you are sitting in front of someone and you’re positioned as the expert because they’ve seen you on a podcast or your article on LinkedIn or wherever it is, that’s adding more value. It’s almost like you’re creating your celebrity status almost.

It’s being able to also show prospects, referral partners, and people who might refer your business, that you know what you’re doing and that you produce good results and you do great work like the personal shoppers at Nordstrom.

It goes back to the know, like, and trust factor because the more they see other people like you and are happy with your services, they’re like, “I might like that person. I’m going to check them out.”

Along with the know, like, and trust and your bonus, social proof, you’ve got your three other agenda items. I hope you found this very helpful and actionable to put into action right away and you are able to think about one of the things we talked about. We gave you some great analogies that might stick. You don’t want to be the big firm where you’ve got to call the doctor and then you have to talk to four other people before they get to the doctor. We charge 4 or 5 times the price and call ourselves a boutique firm. Also, in summary, we talked about laying the foundation and the concrete slowly. That could be your Google review page. It could be your Facebook review page. It could be your Yelp review page. It could be your client review page.

AA 46 | Potential Customers

Potential Customers: People live vicariously through others. It’s one thing if you say it, but if somebody else says something good about you, that’s adding to your social value.

 

We used personal shopper at Nordstrom and how if you offer a solution and not an ala carte package, it’s done for you. People will embrace and value that a lot more than getting the shirt and then the bell and then they have to go find their pants. If a business comes to you, do everything, bookkeeping and the payroll. Do the tax plan first to first get them in a good position, unless they’re in a horrific position, then you’ll be like David and do some tax resolution work first and then offer all of your monthly maintenance packages, implementation and monthly services and profit first and bookkeeping and the whole enchilada. For all that, you could probably charge $50,000, $60,000 $75,000. There was one other analogy. If the personal shopper Nordstrom analogy does not sit with you, then Denise’s one about the living room and it’s like going furniture shopping.

You don’t want to just the chair and then the decorative pillow. We want the living room. We’re going to get the sofa, sectional, chair, footrest, and pillows. We’re going to do it all and we’re going to buy it as a package. For what you each do, it’s the same thing. Think about where you can go and change your packages and offerings that you’re not like Anna Barbara with a list of 100 ala carte items and we narrow it down to three but learn how to show that value to your customers and potential clients. If we show them an ala carte list of 100, we lose them and no one can process all that information. I feel like I’m filling out a home mortgage application with all that information. It sounds exhausting.

Thank you, Denise, for being here. Thank you all for reading. It’s always an honor to be here with you. Also, if you are struggling with not having a sales process, maybe you’re winging it all the time or this value proposition thing is a little difficult to grasp, or you find yourself discounting your services to get clients or maybe the last one is that you keep giving it away for free. If that’s a problem, feel free to go to the AbundantCall.com. You can book a strategy session for free with us. We love to give away an hour of our time to potential clients. You must be an accountant, own your own business and been in business for at least two years.

You can book a free hour strategy session and get to the truth of your sales conversations. If you want to look at this and you’re sick of leaving money on the table and want those $25,000 checks like David and Anna Barbara and others, we will help explore and see if it’s a good fit to work together. If not, we’ll steer you in whatever direction would be best for you. It’s always an honor to be here with you on the show. It’s always fun to talk about sectionals, shopping and doctor calls and all of our other fun analogies that I hope to stick with you. Have a beautiful day.

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About Denise Mandeau

Denise Mandeau, Business Growth Strategist and 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 professionals and sales teams over the last few years helping them to generate millions of dollars in new business. She has personally closed over $1.8 million in new business in the last 12 months. Denise is passionate about teaching others to learn how to sell without being salesy!

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