Do you find the sales process fun, or do you find it scary?
We’re changing things up for this episode of The Abundant Accountant Podcast. Dominique Molina, Co-Founder and President of the American Institute of Certified Tax Planners, is interviewing the Pitch Queen herself about how accountants can change their sales conversations to lead to higher conversions and more abundant clients.
Our guest today is the Co-Founder and President of the American Institute of Certified Tax Planners. She is a best-selling author and a frequent television guest, and a media expert on tax issues. She has previously been named as one of the “Top 40 Under 40 Most Influential Accounting Professionals” by CPA Practice Advisor Magazine. However, she will not reveal to us today if she is still under 40.
Sales conversations can be scary and intimidating – so much depends on them! But once you’ve moved past the stage in your business where your ideal client is anyone who has a heartbeat and breathes, you can really have fun with it – and find out just how much these sales conversations can change your business.
After you find that balance between being detached and being desperate and can focus on your clients and serving their needs, you’ll love showing them just how you can serve them and save them money and keep their goals at the forefront.
Learning to listen and finding ways to incorporate these tricks will help all seasoned sales professionals and beginners alike – these are The Pitch Queen’s techniques that are even used today!
In this episode of The Abundant Accountant Podcast, The Pitch Queen shares all her juicy tips and tricks with Dominique Molina about how to have successful sales conversations. Once you can master those little tricks, you’ll see what a big impact they can have on your firm!
This episode is sponsored by Terra Optima. Terra Optima provides tax-efficient real estate strategies for small to mid-size accounting firms and has become a proven resource to help grow the high net-worth client base for firms all over the country. They possess a wealth of resources in the conservation space, as well as tools to add to your success in assembling and presenting tax plans attractive to your clients. Whether it’s to manage a personal land conservation project for your client or to participate in a “best in class” real estate project that could have a conservation outcome, make them a part of your resource team today. Learn more at www.Terra-Optima.com
Here are a few key secrets we talked about in this episode
- Dominique Molina introduces Michelle, the Pitch Queen, and her business.
- Every time you talk to a client, it’s a sales conversation!
- The more powerful your sales conversation is, the more people you will be able to help.
- A sales conversation can be powerful because it helps educate people. People don’t know what they don’t know: you help them move past their own blocks to help them know what is good for them.
- When you care about a client, that impacts your attitude, and you’ll be able to serve them effectively.
- Bring your full self and full ability to serve in every sales conversation.
- Listen to your clients! Keep your gallon of water, your green juice, or your coffee pot close! Take a good-sized gulp all throughout the meeting – when you’re gulping, you aren’t talking!
- Use the 80/20 rule: you should be listening 80% of the time, and talking 20% of the time.
- Take notes while you’re meeting with clients – don’t be intimidated; tell them that you’re making sure to note what is important to them.
- Those notes will help you know what is important to your clients; the words that they say, and their goals.
- These notes will help you connect them with the meaning of future actions: “We’re going to do A, B, and C so that you can accomplish these goals…”
- Make an agenda for client meetings so that they can relax and listen and not be waiting for your pitch.
- Remember, your client meetings are interviews to see if YOU want to work with them – you get to flip the script!
- The mindset you bring to client meetings is important. Don’t schedule meetings around major deadlines (e.g., during tax season, around March 15th or April 15th, or when you’re under a lot of pressure). Your mood will impact that new client relationship.
- When meeting with a client, most of the time, you sit across from each other. Imagine yourself sitting next to them, going through the experience with them! Put yourself in their shoes, and empathize with them.
- Keep it real! Clients can sense anything that’s fake – even if it’s a white lie, like “I understand this can be shocking….” if you don’t truly empathize, don’t say that you do.
- If you come across as deceptive in any way, it unravels the trust that you have with your client.
- When you develop this skill to have good client sales meetings, it will change your business!
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Where The Sales Conversation Goes Wrong With Accountants With Dominique Molina
This episode is brought to us by Terra Optima. Terra Optima provides tax-efficient real estate strategies for small to mid-size accounting firms. With offices in Florida and Georgia, they have worked with hundreds of accounting firms nationally and internationally. Their core competency is land conservation easements. They have assisted in the conservation of over 40,000 acres in 9 states from coast to coast.
Whether it is to manage a personal land conservation project for your client or to participate in a best-in-class real estate project that could have a conservation outcome, make them a part of your resource team. They can be reached at Terra-Optima.com or (772) 227-0322. Check out their website, give them a call, and get the best in class.
Truly, I, The Pitch Queen, am getting interviewed by Dominique Molina, the Founder of Certified Tax Planners. We are discussing why your sales conversations might be going south or where they may be going wrong. Before we dive into the show, I am eager to discover more about those of you who read each and every other week. How can you do this? I would love it if you could take a moment to subscribe and leave a written review so I can keep on delivering the content that you want and love. With all the reviews that I see on iTunes, I am going to take that review and highlight it on our client review feature in a future episode.
As many of you know, sharing is caring. In this episode, I invite you to screenshot this episode on your phone. When you are finished reading this episode, tag me, Michelle Weinstein, as well as our amazing guest, Dominique Molina, and make sure to #TheAbundantAccountant when you post it and share it on your LinkedIn feed. Let us know what you think about what you explored with us. Make sure to screenshot us and tag us both, so we know. I will make sure to share it on our LinkedIn feeds. Join Dominique Molina and me to the show.
We are back with another episode. I’m glad you could join us. We got a super exciting guest joining us. Our very own Michelle Weinstein, The Pitch Queen herself. The topic is going to focus on where the sales conversation goes wrong. We are fortunate to have Michelle on our team here at the AICTP. She is a sales strategist, entrepreneur, and innovator. She has got many years of sales experience, and she has sold everything from multimillion-dollar homes to Paleo meatballs. You have so much talent because you have had a lot of achievements, such as raising over $1 million for your last company.
You have landed contracts with major retailers like Costco and The Vitamin Shoppe. You even pitched your way onto ABC’s popular show, Shark Tank. You also founded The Pitch Queen. That is where you help small business owners and entrepreneurs learn to love selling. That way, it makes people able to make a bigger impact on the world and skyline top-line revenue. I’m glad to have you here to walk us through what can be terrifying for a lot of our planners out there.
It is terrifying for a lot of people, but the ones that I have worked with, and some of you might be reading because you have worked with me, you love it. This becomes part of the fun in your career. What I have learned from the sales conversation, and this might be a little twist for some of you to think about, but you might thank me later, is that if you have powerful sales conversations, you will be able to help more people.If you have powerful sales conversations, you will be able to help more people. Click To Tweet
I love your point of view too. Sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know. In a good enrollment conversation, you help them move past their own blocks to allow them to do what is good for them.
It is crucial. Our own blocks are what stop us. One of the women, who I’m working with, her name is Christine. She was a unique accountant. I’m not sure a lot of you might be able to relate, but some of you might where you get to this point, and I think Dominique, you might even relate, where it is this take it or leave it mentality. You are busy. You are talking to a client. You are detached from the outcome that you don’t even care if they are going to be a client or not. They can walk out the door, but it doesn’t even faze you.
When we were talking about it, I was sharing with her that you are doing them a disservice by coming from that place because if you are the best, which she thinks she is, and you are too, you allow a client to walk out the door. You didn’t take a stand for them because you were busy. You had all your paperwork in front of you. You weren’t thinking about them. You were thinking about yourself.
They walk out the door. They are not serviced by you as the expert. They are going to go somewhere else and probably not get the best service possible, and they are going to be in the same boat. You didn’t help your client, and you didn’t grow your revenue. Coming from that place hurts you. The sales conversation is important. If I help them serve this client and it is a good fit, I’m going to help them save more money because if they don’t do this now, they are going to be SOL.
You have touched on something that is important, Michelle, not only with the sales conversation itself but in the level at which you are able to service your clients. If I am burned out, maxed out, stressed out, and depleted, and when somebody new comes in the door, and I don’t care, I can’t be there for them. Yes, you are missing out on a sale, but I also want to highlight what level of service you are offering your clients in that state.
I’m not pointing the finger because I can tell you I have been there many times. That is on me. I can point the finger at myself and say, “I didn’t do what I needed to do to take care of myself in these situations to be able to bring my full self and the full level of service that people deserve.” Part of this model is shedding some of the low-priced pain-in-the-neck clients so you can have a refreshed outlook. You can be calm and hydrated.
Do you know what water does from a sales perspective? It stops you from talking too much. Every accountant I have worked with talks too much. Part of the sales conversation that goes south, since that is what we are talking about, is that you talk too much. Having a gallon of water, coffee pot, or green juice in front of you, I don’t care what it is. The more gulps you take in an hour with a client, the better because you got to stop talking so much.
The mute button comes in handy too. Haven’t you used the mute button before, Michelle?
I used the mute button. I was getting so irritated with that other guy that I was talking to. I had to put myself on mute to stop talking and interrupting. Even for the best of us, it still happens. At times, we need to use the mute button. People want to be heard. With my example of Christine, she emailed me now. She met with a client who she had met before. They didn’t take her up on whatever she was going to do with some bookkeeping stuff. She wrote me back in bold letters in the email. It said, “Michelle, the guy gave me a $1,000 deposit. He felt heard and taken care of.”
This is someone who was coming from the place of, “I don’t care if you work with me or not. You can take a hike. There are plenty of other people. I don’t need you if you are not willing to do this and pay this price.” It makes a big difference. It is like night and day what happened. Not only did she get the client that she wanted. The client felt heard and knew he was going to get serviced. He said, “You get me. You are going to be the best person that I need to work with me.”
That is one place where the sales conversation goes awry. It is not being all there, talking too much, and not listening. How much should people be listening during that sales conversation, Michelle?
I use the 80/20 rule. There is a book that each of you should probably read. It is called The 80/20 Principle. I have no idea who wrote it, but I’m sure it has a lot to do with your client base. It also goes with your listening base. Probably in your business or firm, you are generating 80% of your revenue from the top 20% of your clients. My guess is it is probably close. The listening in your conversations with your clients, be it current clients, prospects, or whatever, also needs to be the same. You are listening 80% of the time and only talking 20% of the time.
Even if I don’t think I’m saying very much when I look back on conversations, and sometimes I don’t have answers to critical questions that I know I asked, typically, it is because I talked way too much. It’s because I inserted myself or talked over someone. When you are talking, you are not listening.
What else I recommend on that is taking notes. Taking notes is crucial for the listening department. When you are in that role, you are not doing the technical side of the business and not working with the client in the nitty-gritty, but you are listening to what is important to them. You are listening from a place of, “How am I going to help this person and serve them?” Those notes will come in handy when you do the technical piece of the work. Having a notepad and a pen and listening to the detail of the words that they say is crucial because when you talk to them in a month or so, you are sitting there, you are like Dominique, and doing a tax plan for them.
You had the notes from your conversation, and it is what was important to them. Maybe they came to you and said, “What is important to me is that my wife can sell this business, make money on it, and not have to pay capital gains tax so we can buy this house in the mountains of Colorado and go to Italy for two weeks.” If you remember the little details and write all that down a month from now when you present them their plan, that is what was important to them. You are going to have a happy client and get a lot of referrals.
A great place to not only communicate that back to them is verbally. You are trying to summarize the solution, and you are speaking in a language that they can understand. You can say, “We are going to do A, B, and C so you can go to Italy.” The other place to reference that information is in Tru Tax Planner. In the software itself, one of the parts of the PowerPoint presentation that we use to go through the plan with the client talks about what their goals are. It also comes out in the executive summary that is printed from the software.
Having notes, you are right. We may not always remember what we talked about. Sometimes it passed. Even after a couple of weeks, we can forget what they said. I love taking notes. Sometimes people feel intimidated to take notes while they are sitting in front of someone, but I let them know at the beginning, “I’m a note taker. I hope you don’t mind. I’m going to take some notes.”
It is important to let them know in advance. When you let them know in advance about the whole sales conversation and how you teach everybody when to preface at the beginning to set out the agenda, they can sit back and listen. Otherwise, they are waiting, “When am I going to get pitched? When are they going to tell me the price?” That is how it usually goes. Setting the agenda and intention for the meeting is key. Let them know that you are going to take notes and you want to capture what is important to them. That is okay to let people know that.
Let’s talk a little bit about the agenda because when you sit down with somebody, that is such a nerve-wracking experience. I can tell you. Having sat through my share of timeshare presentations, this comes up. They are showing you beautiful pictures of beaches and all these tropical locations. I’m on the edge of my seat the whole time, wondering, “When am I going to get pitched?”
Set that agenda at the top of the meeting to say, “First, I have some questions for you so I can better understand your business and your goals. Next, we are going to go over my findings. I have taken a look at your tax returns, and here is what I have found. I’m also going to allow you to ask me some questions after what I have shared with you. Finally, I will talk about if it is a good fit. We will look at what it is going to look like to work together. If it is a good fit, I will tell you the next steps.”
When you set that agenda out, especially in writing, it tells people, “I can relax and hear what you have to say. I’m not on the edge of my seat. When the pitch does come, I’m expecting it. I’m not blindsided. I’m not feeling sold to because I know that is why I’m here. I’m going to hear about what it is going to be like for the two of us to work together.”
The mindset that you should come from when you are meeting with your clients is critical to the outcome. If you come from the place that, “This is an opportunity for me to see if I even want to work with this client as much as they are seeing if I am the best person to work with them, and it is 50/50,” you are going to come from a different place.The mindset that you should come from when meeting with your clients is critical to the outcome. Click To Tweet
When you present the agenda, you are going to come from a different place. The place that we come from via a place of desperation or scarcity versus a place of, “I might like to work with you. This is our opportunity to see if we are a good fit together,” you can even verbalize that to your prospect or client sitting in front of you. It is okay.
Working with a lot of you here reading, it is not something that is getting done now. They are not used to hearing that. They will respect you even more. Dominique, you always say a lot of times you are used to working with anyone that has a breathing heart and a pulse. This is an opportunity for you to not take on anything that breathes or takes a pulse. You get to be a little picky and choosy about who you truly want to work with.
I love your angle, Michelle, about doing things to set the intention for the meeting. Can you give us some ideas on how to set the intention before you even walk in? Your process starts way before you even get into that meeting with the person.
You and I should do a whole other episode on that topic, but I will give you the highlights. This is a little brief. If you were working with another client, it didn’t go that well, and you are not in a good mood, getting yourself to an even natural state is important. If you can’t even get to that place, that is best for you to cancel or redo your meeting to a future time. If you are in a bad mood and you can’t shake it off, or you are stressed out, it is not going to be good for you or your prospective client. It is going to be a waste of time.
If you are stressed out because you just finished with deadlines, and it is March 15th or April 15th, 2023, those are big deadlines, from what I recall, having a meeting on that day or a day after is not a good idea. Set yourself up to win or even the day before. Think about when you are scheduling your meetings because a lot of times, I have seen each of you, but the timing of the scheduling of the meetings isn’t good. Having your jug of water, a coffee mug filled, and green juice filled is important. The reason why is that you can come from a place of listening.
Here’s the last thing because I could talk about twenty different things you could do, but this is an important one. I’m remembering it because of what Christine said. When you were younger, you used to go to the park, and there were picnic tables. At the picnic table, you typically would sit with your friends across from each other. Visually and mentally prior to going into a meeting with a client, one thing that helps is visualizing that you are sitting next to your client.
What would you do if you were in their shoes? Come from it from that place. You are the person that is about to probably change something major in the financial picture of their life, be it their business, be it if you are working with a high net worth individual, saving bucks on taxes that this person has been paying for several years and you are this genie from the clouds in Care Bear land, coming down to earth shedding some new light to them. They were like, “Dominique, I have had a CPA for many years, and I have never heard anything that you are sharing with me now. How could this be real? How could this be legal? How come no one’s ever told me this?”
They have overpaid millions of dollars in taxes. You are dropping this new sense of news to them, and they are in shock. Some might go into serious shock. You might have a medical emergency on your hands. Come from a place of being on their side. Pretend that this is shocking, and they are laying on a hospital bed. How would you deliver the information? Some of it is mind-boggling because I have even seen it with my own eyes, and I have been shocked.
I appreciate that because, in our world, we know what we can do, and we know that it is legal, but not everybody else gets that. They are shocked related to the fees. I quoted a $124,000 fee. The savings was fantastic. It was over $5 million in savings. You can relate that if somebody quoted you that type of fee that you are not used to paying, you are going to be shocked.
If you put yourself in their shoes, and they react in a shocked way, you can authentically say, “I understand how you feel. I know this seems crazy, and that number is high. Without the savings, it would be crazy, but we do everything that IRS approved and court-tested.” It is not that crazy in the context of what you are going to end up with when we are done with all of this work. I understand you. I’m with you, and I know that it sounds crazy. That allows you to make that connection with them.
One other thing I will say on that is if you don’t feel it and you can’t relate to what they are saying, don’t lie. Don’t say, “I can see where this would be shocking.” We are trying to create trust. When you lie about something else, it may have nothing to do with the work. If you come across as deceptive, it breaks the trust for everything. Even something a white lie about going, “I can see how you would be shocked about that,” there is the tension that is in the air. We all know that elephant in the room saying. That is important that you not adopt that tip if you can’t get into it and identify honestly.
Those are a few of my tips for how to set the intention and agenda, but also where you need to be coming from. Typically, the results of your meetings stem from you. You are the one in your own way a lot of times.The results of your meetings stem from you. You are the one in your own way a lot of times. Click To Tweet
We could talk about this all day long, Michelle, and we are out of time. Thank you for sharing some of that wisdom. We will have you back to share more because it works. It does. When you can develop this skill with the support of someone like Michelle, it is going to make a huge difference. It will change your life and your business. Until our next episode, when we get intaxicated, we will talk next time.
Thank you all so much for joining Dominique and me on the show. I always love to hear from you, and I would like to know how the show has helped you in your firm in any way, shape, or form. Please send me an email to Hello@ThePitchQueen.com. I will share your story on how the show has helped you grow your firm, work with the clients that you love, communicate your value, collect higher fees, and whatever it is, send it on my way because I always love hearing from each of you. If you think someone else might like and benefit from reading this free show, please share it with another accountant, CPA, or accountantpreneur. Thanks again for reading, and have a great day.
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About Dominique Molina
Dominique Molina is the co-founder and President of the American Institute of Certified Tax Planners (AICTP). As the driving force and visionary behind the San Diego-based company, Dominique set out to change the way tax professionals approach tax planning. In 2009, realizing that many tax professionals were missing government tax breaks that could save millions, Dominique began to create an elite network of tax professionals including CPAs, EAs and tax attorneys who are trained to help their clients proactively plan and implement tax strategies that can rescue thousands of dollars in wasted tax. Dominique has successfully licensed over 1,000 tax professionals as Certified Tax Planners across the country, creating a national network of highly qualified advisors.