Episode 21: How To Improve Your Accounting Firm’s Sales Process ┃ Wize Mentoring Business Tips
“According to statistics, 80% of sales are made on the fifth to the 12th point of contact.”
In this episode of The Wize Guys, Brenton Ward, Jamie Johns, and Ed Chan talk about Jamie’s journey running his firm, Sky Accountants.
As Jamie was able to develop a successful selling system and an effective sales process that helped them achieve significant growth, find out how you can add divisions in your organization that you should focus on and the selling system that you should start implementing in your own firm.
0:35 - Jamie’s successful journey with Sky Accountants
2:27 - Why client communication is important
2:59 - Understanding the LAPS system
3:15 - The importance of calling your leads
3:35 - Why speed is critical to sales
3:51 - How to keep your leads alive
5:48 - Why leadership is important
6:56 - Ways to use the calendar with your leads’ follow-up
8:25 - How to make your team involved in the sales process
“..one of the most important aspects is replying.” - Jamie Johns
“If you don't follow up the lead, you just won't have the organic growth that you otherwise may have had.” - Jamie Johns
“..people get busy, we all get busy. My mentality was, and I always kept staying at Sky is it's no until it's a no.” - Jamie Johns
“one of the reasons why the deep and narrow team structure is so important is because we need the senior client managers to have that capacity, whether they're off the tools to have the ability to manage the lead inflow and actually nurture leads and engage in the sales process.” - Brenton Ward
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“According to statistics, 80% of sales are made on the fifth to the 12th point of contact.”
Brenton Ward: As far as this, I would like to start looking at some of the more important things in that process that people need to start thinking about. And if we could act to explain what we're looking at on the screen here, but where that fits into the context of the process, we really interested to see the journey that you take a lead on. So when someone says is referred to Sky or is a result of your marketing activities, what journey do they go through from becoming a lead to becoming a client? I'm a scout because I think that'd be really helpful for people listening in.
Jamie Johns: Absolutely. Look I guess what you've got on the screen Brenton is a couple of really key things in the world's a busy place and it keeps speeding out, keeps getting busier. They were just some statistics from HubSpot around in our hire fast people expect salespeople or support people to reply to their queries. You can have a read of that for yourself, but essentially one of the most important aspects is replying. If you get a lead in your firm, essentially call and reach out to that lead as locked as soon as you can.
One of the things that we always come back to is, that firms have to have the capacity to do that. So if you're a senior client manager or assistant client manager, that's part of your job. It’s part of your job and your productivity is all skewed towards making sure that when a lead does come in and your marketing's working, you can call that person. The quicker, the better. And one of the tips for everyone that I found worked over the years was if someone wouldn't answer their phone, I would always like to text them and email them almost like instant tirelessly at the same time. I used to fall on that. I'd get more responses often if I couldn't get through them on the phone is just by text messages because people are so busy. And once you start that dialogue, then you follow what I call LAPS, which has just led to booking an appointment. So appointments and then presentations and then sales. So I always follow the LAPS system. I think a little wisely, no lapses swinging the pool just over and overdoing that same process. So, I couldn't stress enough. That speed is so critical because if you don't call a lead, that's coming in. You can almost bet that someone else has probably two or three people of cold that laid before you know.
In today's world with SEO and all that often people, they'll get three or four different accountants and call. And so in terms of sales, speed is the critical Brenton.
Brenton Ward: Yeah. And I think a lead certainly has the temperature. Doesn't it? Adobe hot leads, warm leads, cold leads, and coddling might be someone who just goes on your email list.
But so we do get hot leads and which is particularly important to this topic of sales. A lot of people listening in and a lot of most accountants are busy, right? That's certainly over the last couple of months, incredibly busy, but a hot lead and a busy account we've don't really go together because typically that lead goes into a spreadsheet or it sits in an email for a couple of days, but I mean, other than pointing out the obvious, ‘What are the ramifications of not contacting that lead? Is it just going to fizzle out or how do we keep that alive even though we're so busy?’
Jamie Johns: If you don't follow up the lead, you just won't have the organic growth that you otherwise may have had. And not only that your marketing dollars just go to wires. So if you've put all this effort, the balance sheet play, as Ed said into marketing, and then you don't have the sales division following out leads, it's just wasting time and money.
Like Ed, I think said at the start, you've got to try and get each of the divisions working in the business. A part of that is if you don't structure your firm in the production division and have the capacity for the finders, for the scene, for the managers to call the leagues, then it's a chain reaction. So you've got to get each piece working and then also training. So back when all was training senior client managers, and then these days assistant client managers. I would actually bring them into the sales process. I was talking to a firm just morning, actually from Canada. And they said, ‘Oh, how do I, how do I teach the assistant client manager?’ And I said, well, bring them into the sales when you get a new lead, bring them into the sales and follow the sales playbook and follow the LAPS system: leads, appointments, presentations, and sales. It's about leadership showing people not just the what but how to do it. So, you know, speed is critical.
Then your other slide, their rent is about, ‘Well, how often do I follow up?’ I've had some accountants and bookkeepers side of me, even in my own firms score accountants. ‘Oh, that's not a very good lead. They didn't call me back.’ So people get busy, we all get busy. My mentality was, and I always kept staying at Sky is it's no until it's a no.
In some cases, I would book in my calendar. Inside of the person in the language, you'll have out. If not now, perhaps if I call you in 6 months' time, or what if I call you in 12 months' time? I distinctly remember there was one chap that I said, ‘Hey, man, I'll call you in 12 months' time. And we'll see how your virtual CFO services going, that you decided to go within the end.’ And he said, ‘Yeah, call me.’ He said, call me in 12 months. 12 months, roll around and popped up on my calendar and according to the day, he couldn't believe though, I called him. Anyhow, we ended up winning the job and it was a really large group of companies that we ended up doing the bookkeeping for. But you just got to have a no giving mentality and follow that system, put it in your calendar. And it's never a no until it's no. You'll know when it's no because you don't know. Always say to people, I want to know why the short term, I don't know why small-time, but would you like me to follow up in 2, 3, 4 weeks, whatever it might be. According to statistics, 80% of sales are made on the fifth to the 12th point of contact. And that is spot on.
Brenton Ward: Absolutely. I want to get into some of the finer details of those systems that you're using. But I just don't want to overpass one of the most important pieces of the puzzle, which you touched on there in terms of capacity planning Ed, this is one of the other big pieces of the puzzle. And one of the reasons why the deep and narrow team structure so important is because we need the senior client managers to have that capacity, whether they're off the tools to have the ability to manage the lead inflow and actually nurture leads and engage in the sales process. That's the important piece, isn't it?
Ed Chan: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I know some listeners in saying to themselves, ‘Yes, of course.’ It's common sense to get onto the lead and the client as fast as possible. ‘But how do we do that? How do we get the staff to do that?’ Sometimes it's like pulling teeth. But it's got to start with identifying people's strengths and weaknesses, identifying their personalities, and identifying what they like and don't like to do.
So most accountants are grinders, they like to do the work and they're not like talking to people. Obviously, if you say to an accountant, and if you run a very flat team and you've got 5 or10 accountants and they were all grinders, and then you say to them, ‘Well, follow up that lead.’ They're not going to do it. Their tendency is not to do it. And then you're just setting them up for a fall. So when you go to a narrow, deep structure, you put people in the right seat. The client managers are the ones that are more talkative and they're more, you know, people are in tainted and they've got great communication skills and there's more of a tendency to want to do that’s number one. Number two is it puts in their job description. They've got to do it. And then if you're a senior production manager and how did the grinding team, then that's not your role. And you'll probably go, ‘Whoa, thank goodness for that.’ Because I don't like doing that kind of stuff. And so the first thing is to have a narrow and deep team, understand the different positions in there, and then recruit people to fill those roles. They've got the personality to do those things, and then it's a lot easier. So when the lead comes through and you go to a naturally talkative person who's who likes people, then you won't have any trouble asking them to call the client. So, that's why the deep and narrow team is so important. It's so important for so many things, but this is just one. One thing out of a thousand things.
Brenton Ward: Yeah. And I think, I think he made a good point there certainly that shallow and wide team. I've experienced it myself, seeing new grinders, being received leads and told to follow up leads, and all the lead means to grinder is more work. And, if it's not in the natural flow to be a salesperson and their perception of a salesperson, then it means more work, then that leads to pretty much dead on its feet. I think.
Jamie Johns: Yeah. The other thing I'd like to comment on is if the senior client managers or finders are too busy, it's in their body language. Like a new lead is just seen as pain or like not another client that I have to deal with. We can't sort of often hide our body language.
So, creating that capacity and getting that team working so that the finders do have the ability to follow up the leads and think, ‘Oh, great. This is a new lead.’ And not saying, ‘Oh, no, it's all like, this is just more pain or can't do with any more work. That gives that sort of more like a real helicopter view of the situation.
Brenton Ward: Yeah. That makes a lot of sense.