The Wize Guys

Episode 22: Let's talk about REFERRALS! How to build a solid referral program and system in place

June 23, 2022 Wize Mentoring for Accountants and Bookkeepers Season 1 Episode 22
The Wize Guys
Episode 22: Let's talk about REFERRALS! How to build a solid referral program and system in place
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Episode 22: Let's talk about REFERRALS! How to build a solid referral program and system in place

In this episode of The Wize Guys, Ed Chan with Wize Mentors, Thomas Sphabmixay, and Timothy Causbrook discuss how having a referral program in place increases the chances of getting quality referrals and keeping the business of these clients. They also shared insight on understanding Quad activities and how tracking client NPS as part of the Fab5 KPIs can also lead to a much more streamlined referral system.

Find out how a solid referral program and the system can help your accounting practice to scale up.

Timestamps:

0:55 - How to implement a referral process
1:35 - Why referrals are the most efficient way to leverage
2:18 - The importance of client service and communication
3:29 - What is the ideal time to respond to clients
4:10 - Understanding the service industry
4:23 - How to create a communication client policies 
5:49 - Why client approval meeting is essential
7:33 - Tips for giving value to clients
11:45 - The positive impact of having your clients involved
12:36 - Understanding the emotional bank account
13:43 - How to build a solid referral system
15:03 - The biggest challenge with referrals
16:43 - How habits can affect leading
17:19 - The importance of being patient
19:21 - Why you should know your team member’s full potential
22:59 - How to build a referral strategy
23:32 - Understanding the different concepts of quad activities
28:49 - Why the first year is all about investment
30:51 - The importance of having the right mindset
33:01 - Best strategies and attitude to make your team ready
35:45 - How client tracking can boost referrals
40:50 - Why it is more expensive to win a new client than your existing client
42:34 - How to take action

Quotations:

“..if you don't focus on the client, you're not going to get referrals from them… The senior client manager's role is to talk to the clients and to have a bridge between the production team and the clients. So they're communicating at the client's level.” - Ed Chan


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Download the full transcript

Thomas Sphabmixay: We're discussing a very interesting and hot topic about getting referrals every day.

Okay. So talking about developing a system for getting endless quality referrals and here to introduce the topic to us is our Wise Guy, Ed. 

So Ed, having a referral program in place really increases the chances of getting quality referrals and keeping the business of these clients. Where do we start in implementing our referral process so that there's a steady stream of referrals in the pipeline?

Ed Chan: Yeah. Thanks, Thomas. And thanks for introducing a topic. 

Obviously, when someone refers your client, they're obviously very happy with your service. For them to refer you to another client and out of the four ways to increase your business. That is the cheapest way to do it and the best way to do it because not only are your clients happy, but they're now going out there and talking to their friends about your business. So that's the first one that you want to work on. And the other three monitorization sheets, which are selling more services to your existing clients. The third one is your digital marketing. And the last one is an acquisition. You got buy firm, but we're not going to talk about those three. 

We're just going to talk about today. It's just about referrals because we should be doing like attacking the low-hanging fruit and the lowest-hanging fruit is your referral system. It all starts with your service and your responsiveness to your clients. And if you could just put yourself in the other person in the client's shoes, if you're dealing with two businesses and one business responds to you very, very quickly, and the other is the other business doesn't respond to you and the competitors. And you're looking at utilizing their services. You're gonna go with the phone that responds to you very, very quickly. And the firm that builds a relationship with you and the firm that cares about you.  I think it's the message they're giving to you is that they care about you because they're responding to you. The firm that doesn't respond to you, the body language they're giving you is that you're very low on their priority list. They've got other things to do. They're busy, don't bother me. That's the body language that the firm that doesn't respond to you or responds very slowly is giving you. They've just got that you're very low on their priority list. They've got other things to do and they don't really care. 

So the first thing is you've gotta get your staff responding very, very quickly. Okay? Now we at Shannon now have a same-day response. If you can't respond on the same day, because you're in a meeting, then at the latest, the next morning. If you can't respond the next morning over it, you've got to get someone to ring the client up and let them know that you won't be able to get back to them for a couple of days, right? So as long as you're connecting with the client, that's the first thing you need to do. And everybody needs to be on the same page with that. 

In fact, if you came to work with a client now that there's a letter code. A chairman's welcome is unique in that it says, if you don't respond on the same day, then it's a sackable offense. So that, we get them to sign that so that everybody knows what's expected because we're are in the service industry. And if you want to grow, that's what it's about. You've got to respond so that you show us your clients, that you care that your whole organization cares. Okay. So that's the first thing.

The next thing then is your communication. If I want Thomas, if I want you to respond to your eyes, I send an email to you and I might CC Tim on it, but I don't expect him to respond. PCC is being CC'd, but I do expect you to respond. And part of our culture is if you receive an email, you must respond. Otherwise, it's a sackable offense, and if you get everybody on the same page, how the team working in the same way, then you won't get these situations where a client sends the email to 4 or 5 people. The reason why they send it to 4 or 5 people is that no, one's responding to them and they're hoping someone will respond. But the problem with doing that is it drags, your four people into the same conversation. And then either 4 people respond to it and it wastes four people's time, or nobody responds because everybody's waiting for the other person to respond. So you've got to come up with a policy that says the person who receives the email must respond. Otherwise, your clients would drag you into their nightmare. So they'll drag 4r people into the same conversation, and he can multiply that across the board as just a lot of wasted information. A lot of chaos that's created a lot of confusion. So make sure the team is all on the same wavelength that they're all responding.

Okay. Now the third thing, of course, is that when you do finish a job for a client, you never, never, never just send it out for signature. And I see that happen so often and it's because we all focused on productivity and we small focus on the short term. Getting our lodgements done, getting onto the next job. The teams are under pressure, we've got to get the workout. We got to get the width down. We've got to get the dentist, the invoices out, we've got to worry about cash flow. It's all stuff that's focused within and not once is that focused on the client. And if you don't focus on the client, you're not going to get referrals from them. In order to do that, if it's like, we always have a client approval meeting before it's finished. So if it's businesses, we have a client approval meeting. A client approval meeting can be by phone, or it can be by zoom. It can be face-to-face. And we take them through the journey of tax planning. So it's a larger client than obviously it's a tax planning meeting and, and we get their approval to finish off in the way that we've discussed. If it's a smaller client, we just ring them up. Like in the I return or a rental property, we bring them up with the results to let them know what the result was, not just to send it out in the mail. That's the other thing that you need to do if you want to increase your referrals. But that extra bit of time that you spend with them, it might only be 15 minutes. You might've spent five hours doing the work, but you spend 15 minutes with them. And that 15 minutes has more value to them than the five hours that you spent doing the work, right? And yet, most firms focus on the five hours of getting the work done, getting it perfect. Sure. It's the best. The work is done to absolute quality, and it's the best job in the whole world. And yet they don't talk to their clients. It's that 15 minutes of the conversation with the client. They'll give you all your referrals, but we're just focused on getting the job done, getting onto the next job, and we don't get referrals. 

The other one is the senior client managers. Often, as you probably know by now we set up teams as a senior client manager and senior production manager. The senior client manager's role is to talk to the clients and to have a bridge between the production team and the clients. So they're communicating at the client's level so that they've got to have interpersonal skills and so forth. But if the senior client manager is busy sitting there grinding, then they're not going to have the time to speak to their clients. And often when a client manager says to me, ‘Oh, I don't have time.’ It's because either they liked doing the work. So they sit there doing work or B, they don't know what their job description is. And I don't know their job is to, and I have these tax planning sessions with the clients, have the client approval meetings and, and that's their job. They sit there doing work, or they enjoy doing the work. So they sit there doing the work, but they've not overpaid employees, if they holding that role and getting in and just sitting there doing the work and all the staff below them needs a lot more training or the capacity below them is not sufficient to do the work. So it bubbles up to the top ends up in the client manager's desk. 

So you've got to look at your team, make sure that you've got the user capacity planner on the Wise Hub to work out the capacity for each team. You have to make sure that the resource mix within that team is appropriate because you've got to have a combination of a junior person that can do the, do the lower-level work at a lower charge at right to a more experienced person to finish up the work. And then to the client or to the senior production manager. He checks and reviews at work and enhances the work to the clock, to the senior client manager, to go see the clients, to do the stuff that I'm talking about. So I make sure a team structure is right. 

And then, of course, naturally you've got a newsletter going out to the clients. And the minimum is once a month because the research shows that if you're no longer in front of your clients after a month, it's whoever is around them they'll look at. So if someone sends them a newsletter or they've clicked onto somebody else's newsletter, then they'll start gravitating over there. They'll start forgetting who you are. About a month is the life the longest that you need to go without touching base with your clients. Now, if you're working with your clients every month and that's okay, but often we don't see our clients for quite a few months if not once a year. So we need to keep in touch with the clients to make sure that we're at the forefront of your mind because your clients and my clients are constantly being hunted by our competitors. Someone's touching base with them constantly. So we need to be doing that as well in order to kick them before he passed at the forefront of their mind.

And then lastly, of course, I might be jumping the gun here, but I’ll leave that to how we measure things later on because it's very important that you measure this because the further away you are away from the pulse of the organization, like me, I've thought I, haven't worked in the practice now for 20 odd years. And I know with the reporting that comes back to me that the five most important things, including how happy the clients are, it's being measured. And I know whether they're happy or not, they're not happy. So that's very important as well. 

Thomas Sphabmixay: Great. Yes, in our firm as well, I noticed the mock difference when you had recommended the client approval meeting in our firm. It's very different to be able to get the client involved in the process. It showed me how Wize approaches referrals. 

It's not that we're advocating say, give your client a thousand dollars if they refer a client, but it's stemming from that customer service and developing a process where they're getting involved and actually Tim as well, you've been in the midst of continuously improving your systems. And you've also implemented so much of the Wize methodology. How have you seen the effects of implementing this referral philosophy in your firm? 

Timothy Causbrook: I know who I will refer is on now. So we've been tracking client net promoter scores this financial year. Sometimes it's clients that you would imagine were the nines and tens. It's surprising who the nines and tens are. We know now who to go after for those referrals. That's something we didn't really know before. And, we send them out once a year when the main compliance works are done, but a client could be a nine or a ten one year and then a seven or six the next year, depending on what happens to them. 

Ed talks a lot about the emotional bank account, and that goes up and up and down as well. And so it's just really important to be targeted. You don't want to ask a hundred percent of your clients for referrals. You want to ask the ones who are quite happy with your services. And I'd be looking at A's and B’s for referrals. If I've got like a day-grade client that we're looking at moving on, I wouldn't be coming off to them for referrals. So everything about, you know, Ed's philosophy with wise is targeting the appropriate areas. 

Thomas Sphamixay:  Can you tell us how you were able to build a solid referral system? 

Ed Chan: Yeah. It's not easy. It's easy to say it. It's easy to talk about it. All right. But it was very hard to do when I was practicing. It was a lot easier because I've got control over what I do and I'm someone that will implement it. So I'll go and implement it. But the people below you, it's another matter to getting the senior client managers to do it. So the biggest challenge, of course, is to get those senior client managers to stop doing the work. There are all sorts of different challenges and I covered some of those earlier. Like they may not have the right team below them. They may not know how to manage. They might like doing the work. So I don't want to sit there and do the work. They might get a complaint from one of their staff. And instead of leading, they end up following the complaint. Then I ended up going down a different path instead of being solid holding firm and just continuing to bring their team with them. They will then end up following the team wherever they attained, leading them, instead of them leading the team. So there are all sorts of different challenges.

So that is the biggest challenge for a client, and you'll find this in your own photo, if you're the senior client manager, then it's a lot easier because you're attending these sessions and you're getting the information and you're getting encouragement. When we break off into groups, you'll see other people doing it as well. And that will give you some more encouragement. Your senior client managers in, in their office. And they're isolated from all this information and the vibe and the discussions and that you're listening to here. It makes it easier for you to do it if you're the senior client manager. But your senior client managers back at the office, they're not listening to all of these things and you've got to go back and you've got to explain it to them and you got to then lead them. And of course, they're going to be skeptical. They're going to push back. They're going to have a lot of work on. They're going to say to you things like I haven't got time to do that. But what I've found is whenever someone, when the client manager says, ‘I haven't got time,’ it's because they're doing the wrong kind of work. They're sitting there doing the grind in or their team. The team below them is not trained up or you don't have the right people in the right seat playing in the right positions. So then they get pushed back from their team and then, then they push back on you. And that's, that's not leadership, right? So you need to lead. Leading is to get them encouraged constantly because, just so once, because there are people who are early adopters and late adopters, middle adopters, and the late adopters require you to prosecute the case for 10, 20, 30, 40 times until they change their habits.

I use this analogy. If you brush your teeth with your right hand, and I told you to change hands and brush it with your left hand, it's not going to be comfortable after doing it once. So for those of you who imagine just saying it to your staff, once isn't going to do anything, you've got a site over and over again, just like you've got to brush your teeth with your left hand for like a hundred times before it feels comfortable before you have a change of a habit. So habits are very entrenched. You've got to realize that when you're managing people, they're just saying it once. Then getting frustrated because they don't know do what you say is not how you do it.  You've got to be very patient. You've got to prosecute the case many, many times. And the early adopters will change pretty much straight away. The middle adopters would take four or five times of telling them. In a light adopters may take 10 or 20 times before they changed their habits. 

So don't get discouraged just for someone pushes back, or someone says, ‘I haven't got time,’ or drill into the reasons why they don't have time. Because our team of four or five should be able to manage about a million dollars in fees. They should be able to do that. If everybody's playing in position and everybody's doing what they're supposed to be doing. If people don't do what they're supposed to be doing, and they jump into doing other things like the client managers jumping in and doing grinding work well, that whole process is thrown. Thrown off of filter and then you've got to bring it back on board. And of course, you're going to have some positions. Some of them might be out of position, meaning that they're a grinder. You put them into a manager role, and it's very hard to change leopard spots. I found that if you could train and train and train them, they might lift for about 10% or 20%, but they'll stay there for a few weeks. Then they drift back to what their natural level was. So you've got to understand that you've got to play people in position, and if they are suited to that role, then when you train them, you'll get a lot of traction back. You'll get a lot of results back, but you put someone in the wrong position. Like a grinder in the minder role, it's really hard work and it's not fair on you and it's also not fair on them because you've played them out of position. So you've got to understand your people. And so it's a combination of all those things. 

Thomas Sphamixay: Tim, would you like to add anything to that as well? 

Tim Causbrook: I think just what Ed said, there is just really key. It's about knowing your team and knowing the people in the team and their limitations and their ability. One of the things I do in Wize groups when I'm meeting the firms for the first time is go through every single team member and ask them, ‘What is the full potential of this team member?’ And sometimes they are in a kind of scratches. They had to go. I'm not really sure. And all the times I say, oh, that could be an eight, but I currently have a six. 

I mean, if you think of yourself, you really like a business coach, sorry, you're like a coach in your own business rather. And your job is to get the most out of the team. And I've complained to Ed before about team members not being up to scratch in certain areas. There's a difference between having a natural tendency to be good at selling or good at managing or good at doing and someone being a superstar employee. And oftentimes that will come back at me and say, ‘Tim, you want that person to be a superstar.’ The whole point of the team is that people compliment each other. And so people don't have to be superstars. And if you couple that methodology of the deep and narrow teams, people complimenting each other and having really, really good strong systems in place. You'll see relatively ordinary people. I'm pretty ordinary myself. I will be able to achieve far more than, you know, a firm full of expensive superstars with no system, no structure. So I can't emphasize enough. You've really got to know your team. And my production managers really know are the off know the grinders they have, whether they be onshore offshore, they know their potential better than I do. And so it's not about you know if you're in a bigger and I've got three teams, it's not about me knowing every single person's potential, but the direct manager reports really do have to know the potential to get that out of them. So you just end up going what Ed said, a hundred percent agree. 

Ed Chan: Yes. And then the other thing is, if you're looking for that superstar, they're really hard to find A. And B you're held to ransom by them because if they leave, then your whole place falls apart and you don't want that flat team structure. You want a deeper narrow team structure for so many reasons. Not only to ensure that the work is done efficiently, but the price that the client is fair because you don't want a really high-cost person doing very low-level work and charging that to the client. You shouldn't pass on your own efficiencies to the client. You should be delivering. You should be managing your business very efficiently so that the client gets the best value, and your team gets the best value, and so forth. Everybody wins. 

Thomas Sphamixay: It's so important how a lot of this comes from within, the structure, the deep and narrow team, and the understanding of the roles. There are a lot of key concepts that come into play. There is no concept talked about us as much as we do at Wize, then the quad activities. And it'd be really interesting now actually to see how the quad activities will help us gain the perspective to build a robust and effective system and strategy for getting referrals.

So with this deep and narrow team, it's also something we can educate them about the quad activities too. They understood that doing that at a client approval meeting would be a quad B activity. It's building up the balance sheet, it's building up that emotional bank account rather than just sending it out and trying to get the work done. We can start to see a lot more referrals come through and with the client NPS improving as well.

So Ed, share, with us how we can think about building that system and strategy for getting referrals, fruit for that lens of the quad. 

Ed Chan: Sure and for those of you who are with us on our Wize Growth Program, we take you through this and we take your staff through this as well. And everything that you do in your business, or even privately force into these four quadrants, and you just want to get rid of quite three and four, and that will relieve and give you so much time back. 

When I remember when I was working in quad one, which is urgent and important, that's the quadrant where you're putting out fires, or you're just putting out fires. I was working over a hundred hours a week. And then when I learned this from Dr. Stephen Covey, and I spent my time in quad B, which are urgent things or sorry, which are not urgent things, but very important things. Then my workload started to drop. And things like preparing a tax return during the grinding work is quite an active or one activity. You should be delegating that to somebody else to do quad activities of training someone. If you're training someone it's important, but it's not urgent. So it's a quad two activity. It's very important to train that person. But, but when you've got disasters and fires, out of control, you drag you back into quad one. But quad two is a more preventative activity. 

So when someone says to me, ‘Oh, you know, I, I can't trust somebody else to do the work.’ Well, prepare a checklist. Now preparing a checklist, I'll start worrying about time to do a checklist. The checklist is important, but it's not urgent. But as soon as you prepare that checklist, then you've got more confidence in handing that work to somebody to do. And they fill in the checklist to make sure everything is covered. But trying to do that checklist is where it's really important, where it's hard because it's important but it's not urgent. So we jumped back into quad one, which is I’ll just do it myself, it's quicker. So that's the attitude that I get from client managers. It's quicker if I just do it myself. Right. But by the time I train someone, I could've just done it. That's all quite one activity. If you spend your life in quad one activity, you'll be, you'll be working really long hours like I was. And until I understood this from Dr. Stephen Covey, I was working a hundred hours a week. I was burned out. I was thinking of getting out of the place and I was trying to address the symptoms and not the problem. And the problem was I was doing the wrong kind of work. And I can't stress that enough. 

Look, it's not easy. I know. And I still have that trouble without my own senior client managers. They still want to jump in there in quad one. And they won't spend the time training their staff. So I admit it's not an easy thing, but you've got to lead this without leadership from your side. Then it won't happen. And, because they won't know to do it because they're under pressure with lunch, with diets and under pressure with keeping jobs to time and to budget. They’ve got a lot of quad one activity that they're working on. So it tends to drag them back in the quad one. But that's been my most difficult challenge is to get the client managers out of what one needs to, which is training their staff. If their staff that know how to do it, then train them. Don't complain about them. Train them and then make sure that they're the right kind of staff. Because some people are not trainable. It doesn't matter how much time you put into trying to train them. They're just not trainable. So if it's a junior person you're training, you have to say improvements every day. If you're not seeing improvements every day, then they're incompetent and it's best to get to move them on. You've got to get your client managers doing this.

Now, if you're a small firm and you're doing this, then it's a lot easier to do it, but trying to get somebody else to do it is always going to be a lot harder. But as a very minimum, you've got to be doing it yourself first in order to be able to then train somebody else to do it and show them the way. Because if you can't see the outcome, it's very hard to tell someone who can't see the outcome of it or has experienced the outcome, to follow you. Whereas if you do it yourself and you can see the outcome, you can see the results, then you can go there with confidence. Because you're always going to get pushed back, right? 

So the staff always going to push back on you. Either you follow them or they follow you. You want them to follow you. In order for them to follow me, you've got to have conviction. And they'd have conviction. You have to have done it yourself and seen the results to have that conviction, to bring them along in that journey with you.

It's not easy. I'll admit that it's much harder to lead people than it is just to do the work yourself. But in order to get scalability and either in order to get a better lifestyle, to run the business properly so that your clients are winning, your staff is winning and the shareholders are winning in your organization, you've got to manage the business properly. 

Thomas Sphamixay:  Thank you, Ed. 

And Tim, I really loved the quote that you've put into the chat actually. ‘People who don't have time to work on quad two activities are the ones who need to work on quad two activities the most.’ I must've had some firsthand experience working through people to get them thinking quad B, and quad two as well. 

Thomas Sphamixay:  If you want to share some insights from the journeys you gained so far, getting your client managers, thinking quiet, thinking of training the staff, and then how's that affected the outcomes of achieving more referrals or more satisfied clients?

Timothy Causbrook: It's tough. As Ed said, it's really hard to get other people. If you're not your own client manager, it's really hard to get other people to my experience, to buy into this. And you've got to kind of look at what's motivating them. But in my case, I just kind of showed them that it was impossible for them to scale what they were doing. They couldn't scale themselves. 

So I had one client manager, who took on her assistant client managers phase. So she went from doing 500K to a million overnight. And to avoid having a meltdown, we have to kind of really position her to train up the team. Cause it was a fairly new team which was working with as well. And we always have that one-year perspective. So we always talk about it and she does a really good job of this. Now she says, this is the first year of training. Everyone up is an investment. She talks a lot like Ed now, which is a good sign. And she said it the second year. It will be easier. 

I think I've seen this in my own firm in a lot of firms. You'll have people who are CPAs or CAS with like 10 years of experience who don’t know. I hate more than a graduate. And that's just a real shame that people haven't invested in them. 

I think in Australia anyway, with what lodgement lists and, and if we're late, we get penalties and I've never met an accountant who isn't really busy or snowed under. It's really, really hard to kind of in that context, to get people, to focus on the really, really important things. And you've got to do it nicely, but you can kind of talk about the soil method metaphor that ed talks about, which I mentioned in the chat, you can talk about long-term. Long-term, this isn't sustainable. What we're doing is not sustainable. And so you don't need a huge change. You just need a bit of time each week, each day, each week set aside for training. Or a little bit more time to set aside for client meetings. And as long as you have that mindset every month, getting better seeing improvements, that's helped make some quite impatient. I want to go from zero to a hundred percent the next day. And what I've noticed is nothing changes until people's mindsets change. And the best way to change people's mindsets is through numbers, through facts. Accountants love it, quite logical PayPal. 

The fab five, which everyone should have access to in their SharePoint has been a big one for me. So we've got the capacity planner in there, The Fab 5 KPIs, and just looking at the same numbers each week, looking at lodgement lists, looking at what stuff. And then kind of dripping on. As Ed says, has really helped change people's mindsets and it's taken a year for some people, but as long as I have that incremental progress, I'm patient now. It's not worth persevering with someone for over a year where you see no progress. It's a waste of time. So you, you do need to see progress, but people kind of take their own time to kind of fully come around and buy into the thinking. And once they do, it's so much easier to manage. So that's the other thing. I'd much prefer someone who's not perfect, who I've been dripping on for a year, than a brand new person who might take themselves at the year to come around to the way we're running it. That kind of help, but you do have to be patient because you're dealing with people, and people there's the early middle, late adopters, as Ed says. And it just takes time to get people to come along on the journey. 

There is kind of a light bulb moment where all of a sudden they'll be, they'll be using the right language. They'll be thinking the right way. And I look back and I think, ‘When did that happen?’ You know, and it's like having a kid grow up all of a sudden they're there and it's quite edifying. And the best bit for me, it's taken about years. I've got a much bigger firm, but it's taken about two years, but the client managers have come to me independently and said, ‘This way is a lot better,’ and they've acknowledged it. And the ones that pushed back the most have actually come to embrace it the most, which is another reason why it's worth persevering with late adopters and they're least likely to change from it as well, which means I take the least amount of managing. So I actually kind of look at late adopters now as a positive, not a negative for that last reason for me, that makes sense. There's a lot there, but yeah. 

Ed Chan: Yeah.  And they said you know, where do you get this training? Well, we'll bring them along to your sessions and let them listen. And there is a saying that, ‘the teacher will appear when the student's ready.’ Now, when will the student be ready? Well often, they might come to the sessions and they might have to come to these sessions 20 times before the light comes on.

And what Timothy talked about just then, sometimes you feel like you're saying these things like a hundred times, and all of a sudden it's, it's a different person. And at what point that happens, we don't know because the teacher will appear when the student's ready. And while the students are not really well, certain things have to happen or they have to fall in place before that person's ready. Often it could be, you know, 10 sessions like this is sometimes it could be two sessions like this. And it's like a third-party endorsement. When you're trying to prosecute it, that doesn't have the same impact as a third party doing it. So maybe the third party for them listening to us switches the light on for them. And then other times its just repetitiveness hearing the same thing over and over again. And we get this all the time. People say I've heard that 10 times. It was only on the 11th that I got it. The light came on, you know? So again, the teacher will appear when the student's ready and people learn at different rates and different ways. So, repetitiveness is a very, very good way of doing it. So bring, bring your staff, bring your managers, bring the leaders in your organization to come along, to listen to these, to these things, because it just doesn't happen by accident. You've got to actually lead it. You've got actually, they might do it on their own because they're so busy at work. So you've got to lead, you've got to bring them along and encourage them to come along. And then, then, then yes, they will. They'll push back. They'll say, look, I've got this amount of watching us do. I'm behind my budget, but it's a bit like saying I'm not going to exercise because I've got too much work to do at home. Right. I'll get the work done at home. Then I'll go and exercise, but you've got to get the balance right between the two you've got to start that exercise is a quad B activity. So quad two activity it's important, but it's not urgent. So we tend not to do. We tend to do all the things that are in quad one, which is urgent and important. But you know, if you don't do your quad two activities in this example, exercise, you'll end up with bad health, somewhere down the track. 

Thomas Sphamixay:  And, you know, part of that drunk driving the staff to, to perform a certain way as per the job descriptions with the training or helps guide them in the right direction.

But we also need to be able to measure and manage their outcomes as well. And just specifically honing in on that client’s NPS portion. Talk to us a little bit about that and how it really leads the team to be able to produce more referrals if they're tracking the client.

Ed Chan: Yeah. So in order to make sure that you have a healthy business, right. A healthy business means that your production is working at the right levels. Your cost of goods sold is below 40%. Your fees are growing. You're meeting the budget every month, and your new clients that are coming on board are greater than the clients that you're losing, right? That your cash flow, your cash that's tied up in the business is under 20 days. You lock up those under 20 days. Your clients are happy and your staff is happy. So, those are key metrics that are found in The Fab 5. 

So I just look at that fab five, and I know where I'm having some problems. So recently, we had a problem with our NPS for our staff and consequently, a manager wasn't performing well. And his staff complained. And you know, we, we lost a few staff members, right? Because the staff NPS was down. But in this case here, we're talking about referrals. So your client's NPS needs to be at 9 out of 10 or 10 out of 10.

If they are giving you a nine out of 10 or more, then they're going to go out there and refer you to their friends. If they're getting between seven and eight out of 10, they are happy with your services, but they want to go out of their way to sing your praises to their friends. Right? They won't leave you, but they won't go out of their ways to sing praises.

If you're scoring five or six out of 10, then they need a happy, no, no unhappy. But as soon as a competitor comes around with an offer, they're off. They're gone. All right. Now, if they, if you're getting less than five, then they're looking around now to change accountants, right? So you need an indicator-up to feel the pulse of your organization so that you don't have to be a prisoner in your organization. So you don't have to see every single client to know how they're feeling. When the business is getting bigger and bigger and bigger, you need these tools in order to know those five parts of your business, they're the key parts of your business. So we measure that every month and that's called The Fab 5. That's Wize Hub. So, for those of you in the growth program, we help you put all that together. 

But every month, I just looked at those numbers and I know that every part of my business is healthy. Well, we had a bit of a hiccup, as I said, last month, where we lost a few accountants because the manager was not doing his job and staff that leave companies, leave their managers. And this is a classic example of how the manager wasn't attending to the staff's needs. So, we've been able to recover it and, and save some of the staff, but it just highlights the fact that staff leaves their managers. It's not, they're not companies. And if you, the owner of the business, and you've got a manager there, and you're not utilizing the NPS system, you don't know what those staff is feeling below the manager. And if they're not, if they're really unhappy, right, they might come and talk to you. They'll just leave. Because the manager that they're reporting to is they're having a conflict with them, they'll just leave. So the NPS is, it's extremely important to know how to know the temperature of your staff and how are they feeling. 

The research shows that if there's an issue, there's always going to be issued, right? Don't pretend that there are not. I'm not going to pretend to you that there are no issues. There are always going to be issued. But the point is, the research shows that when you address issues or difficulties or problems immediately, the outcome is much better. If you leave it for weeks or months, or days, or weeks or months, it just festers. And then it gets to a point where the clients leave and by the time they've found another accountant and you get the ethical letter, it's too late, right? So with the NPS going out, something's not right. So you get to address that problem straight away. And then you salvage, you save that client, and it's much harder to win a new, much more expensive, but when a new client than it is to retain an existing client. And so it's such an effort to retain an existing client. If you did something wrong, it's much, much less than trying to define a new client. So, they don't ignore this part of the business, which has put, I call it. It's like a bathtub. You got the tap to let the water in. And the water goes out the drain, put a plugin that drains first before you turn the taps on. And the easiest thing is to put the tap on that. So to put the plugin in that's the easiest piece, and yet a lot of us don't even ask our clients if they're happy with what we're doing. That's the first thing you should do is to make sure that you've got your finger on the pulse. And the larger you are, the more you have to depend on these systems. 

Thomas Sphamixay: Hmm. Thank you. 

I want to add to that the client NPS system as well, once you start tracking it and reporting and into your Fab 5 KPIs, it creates so many more opportunities to train your staff in how they can deliver better customer service. So if they give you a nine or 10, the team could have a procedure to follow the client up for a Google review. Okay. And they might even be more receptive to having a conversation about additional services and if they would refer more clients to you, if they're giving you a five or below, like, and they're going out of your way to just not speak good about you. It's a good opportunity to catch those people before they got, and cause too much damage. All right. And it can turn that five into an eight. 

Ed, can you share one action point you'd suggest taking next, just to act on this? you mentioned it's about putting the plugin, so the priority is there, but can you share action to suggest next? 

Ed Chan: Sure. Obviously, it's not just one thing and you need to implement all of it, but there's no point in implementing if you don't get your team behind you. So if you haven't done this, you've just got to go have a meeting with the team, talk to them about what you're planning to do, and get their buy-in. All right. 

If you haven't done this at all, have one-on-one discussions with them get 80% of them to agree so that when you have your group meeting with them, the positives outweigh the negative people. The positive people outweighed the negative people, and the majority of the positive people will bring the negative people with them. Or I say, you're not going to get everyone positive but you get the majority. And generally if the majority of them, like 80% of them buying in and they want to do this, then the ones that are skeptical will come along. Okay. 

So make sure you're getting everyone to buy in. And then you start implementing the things that we've just talked about one at a time. But it is a holistic approach. Because if you just do the NPS, for example, but you don't get your culture right. Then you're going to get a lot of negative feedback and that's counterproductive. Then everybody gets down in the dumps about it, and then you don't do the NPS anymore, right? It feeds off each other. So make sure that you don't get put off by one or two things, because it is doing the whole lot that that's important and you need to lead, right? I can't emphasize that enough. You either or your staff want to follow. They looking for a leader. They want people to want strong leadership, right? And they don't want you to follow what they want you to lead. They might say something negative to you, but what they really saying is ‘convince me otherwise,’ right? That's what they're really saying. 

You need to prosecute your case. You need to be confident. And coming to these sessions gives you that confidence, because it's really lonely out there, right? And then you get all sorts of people to do all sorts of things. And then you start questioning yourself, and the staff pushes back and you start questioning yourself. When they come to these sessions, you get confidence from everybody around you, right? And it keeps you on track. Leadership is not easy. Otherwise, everybody will be a leader.

How to implement a referral process
Why referrals are the most efficient way to leverage
The importance of client service and communication
What is the ideal time to respond to clients
Understanding the service industry
How to create a communication client policies
Why client approval meeting is essential
Tips for giving value to clients
The positive impact of having your clients involved
Understanding the emotional bank account
How to build a solid referral system
The biggest challenge with referrals
How habits can affect leading
The importance of being patient
Why you should know your team member’s full potential
How to build a referral strategy
Understanding the different concepts of quad activities
Why the first year is all about investment
The importance of having the right mindset
Best strategies and attitude to make your team ready
How client tracking can boost referrals
Why it is more expensive to win a new client than your existing client
How to take action