In this episode, we shed light on the intricacies of this transition, with a focus on freeing yourself from client management and production traffic. You'll learn why it's crucial not to wear all the hats and instead, empower your business to effectively serve clients without your constant involvement.
But it's not just about your business; it's also about fostering a growth mindset in your team. We explore the significance of interpersonal skills and how they play a pivotal role in your business's success. Beware of self-sabotage, and discover the importance of hiring team members not only for their skills but also for integrity, intelligence, and energy. Creating a clear career path for your team members is essential, and we'll show you how to recognize and support the client manager as a crucial cog in your business machine.
Now, let's get practical. We discuss the significance of implementing a no-bypass policy and leveraging the 80-20 Pareto Principle to maximize efficiency. After each client interaction, debriefing becomes an invaluable practice to improve your service continually.
And as you embark on this transition, we'll provide you with practical steps for successful change management during the first six months. Simplifying complex concepts is key, so we'll guide you through the process to make it smoother.
Get ready to transform your business and achieve newfound independence and success. Tune in now and start your journey to greatness!
PS: Whenever you’re ready… here are the fastest 3 ways we can help you transform your accounting/bookkeeping practice:
1. Join 40,000+ subscribers to our transformation Friday tips – Every Friday, our Wize Mentor and Thought Leader of the Year, Ed Chan will send one actionable insight from his experience of building a $20 million accounting firm that still runs without him – Subscribe here
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You've got to master leading yourself. So that's about self-discipline that's about experience that's about controlling your feelings, so you've got to lead yourself.Wize Mentoring:
From Wize Mentoring is The Wize Guys podcast, a show about accounting and bookkeeping practice owners and the many stories, lessons, and tips from their experience of transitioning from a time-pull practice to a business that runs without them. I hope you enjoy and subscribe.Michael Ferris:
Today's topic is the first six months of replacing yourself as the client manager. Obviously, there are couple of challenges arising from that, but, Jamie, we might lean on you just to set the scene about this stage of the Wize journey where we get to replace ourselves as the senior client manager in particular, and or bring on an assistant client manager to help relieve us of some of the client contacts. So I might just throw it over to you and let you give us your experience of a rundown on to date.Jamie Johns:
Thanks, Mick. To give everyone a bit of context, basically in any firm worldwide there's really seven divisions. So you've got board, marketing, sales, production, quality, admin and accounts, and part of the Wize Mentoring philosophy is ultimately to get off the hams to treadmill and not to be so busy. Because the most common problem I hear when I'm in office in the same boat was that you just flat out all the time You're so busy. But what you're busy is you're wearing all the hats. So how to look at the seven divisions in Wize Mentoring? Talk about bio means have a look at those, but the journey is really taking those hats off. So the easiest way to take hats off is particularly in Division 7, in accounts, and then obviously admin, so you can hire the right people and you can delegate those tasks. And the easiest areas are to start with Division 7, accounts, and then admin and then obviously quality, and then, once you hire other bookkeepers to help you and hire other accountants to help you, you can slowly but surely get out of Division 4, which we call production. And, as Ed says, we're always born in production. You know, I think I had six or seven jobs myself before I actually started my own firm, and every one of those jobs was in production. One of those jobs was a little bit of client facing work, but not too much. So to give you sort of the broader context, it's important to sort of have a helicopter view of your firm and if you haven't already done so, jump into the Wize Vault, grab the org chart and try and work out where you're working. And a way to work out where you're working is to list everything you do every day and then say, well, this is Division 7, this is 6 and 5 and so forth. So just to paint that picture, that's the whole journey that you must try and remove yourself from, so you're not wearing all the hats, because otherwise, as your firm grows, you get the next referral from your client or you get the next lead. You've got to have the ability to service those people. So the question is, how are you going to service them? And you've only got eight hours a day. So this is the problem that we see all the time, which is really why Wize Mentoring was started in the first place. But today's discussion, as Michael said, is really about getting yourself out of production Division 4, and then the next biggest step, or the next biggest hurdle is getting yourself out of client management, and what we mean by client management is just dealing with the clients day in, day out. So in that sense people might have some questions around what client management is, but essentially client management is actually doing the work, the production traffic we call that. Production traffic is just actually doing the bookkeeping, doing the tax returns, doing the financial statements, because you've got to get the work done. But then not only that, you've got to take the phone call. So the client communication traffic we call it is phone calls, text messages, appointments, emails. Everyone complains about their email. Put up your hand if your email inbox is flooded. So today's session and I want to pick my brains to work out how do you get out of production, which I think a lot of people know how to get out of production to a degree, but then I think the journey that I went on, the biggest step was then how to get out of the client management and do that successfully. So hopefully that's a good summary. Mick, can you give everyone a bit of context of where we are in those divisions, do you think?Michael Ferris:
Yeah, absolutely. I think most people here would certainly be able to relate to the email overload, the client overload, wearing every single hat in the business and trying to manage all of that and either not go crazy or not spend 24 hours a day in your business. So it says the challenges of transitioning out of production and client management, and so that's really getting yourself out of division four as you said, to an extent division three as well and just getting out of the client manager role. So, jamie, if you were to reflect on your experience of withdrawing as a senior client manager at Sky, which was really getting out of the production side of the business and into the more of the CEO role, what was the biggest challenge that you had there in doing so?Jamie Johns:
Yeah, look, I think the biggest challenge, michael was first of all thinking that was possible. So mindset was number one. I think I fell under the trap that no one else could do my job. That was the first thing. Like I started Sky accountants from my home office and then I think I renovated my garage and went to my garage and grew it like that. So I think people would be able to reflect with that and most of my clients in the early days were all my family and friends. So I had a lot of family, friends of family, and then I had a lot of my friends from school who started businesses and folks, so forth and so forth. So people were really glued to me and I sort of probably initially thought, michael, that it was mainly mindset that I used to think well, only I can handle their work, only I can talk to them and only I can advise them on the best strategy, what to do, whether it was their business or whether it was their bookkeeping or their taxation or whatever it was. So I think the first barrier is mindset and then the second barrier is, once you sort of agree, look, I think it is possible that someone else can manage the client and take the phone calls, the text messages, the face-to-face appointments or going out to visit the clients. The next barrier, then, is really is to be careful not to sabotage yourself. So what I mean by that is when you find the right person. And finding the right person with the right interpersonal skills Mick is probably the next challenge. But then after that it's like not to undermine that person, and we'll talk a little bit more about that no bypass policy in a minute. But I wasn't really a very good accountant. I'd say Like I wasn't very technical, and hopefully people can relate to that but always, always, like with the seven other jobs I had, I was in the wrong seat. If someone had said to me Jamie, your career path is X, Y and Z. We really want you to deal with clients, I probably would have jumped at that, but I was never even in the seven firms of work that. No one ever sat me down and said Jamie, have you thought about a career path? No one ever done that. There's a lesson there in that Make sure in your own firm that you've got a career path for people and what they want to do and what their strengths are. Once you've decided that it's possible to get a client manager, then the absolute critical thing is to find the right person. So you must like people, mick. You've got to be a people person. You've got to have a certain level of emotional intelligence or interpersonal skills as well. I think to a big degree you're either like Ed says you're either born with that or you're not. Or Ed away says around 20% of people are that sort of a born with the interpersonal skills that you need, because some people simply don't like working with people. Some people are just happy to come to work, do their work or whatever that may be, without minimal sort of human interaction and then leave and get their six jobs done for the day and they're really happy with that. So it's really important that when you hire a client manager, that you know what you're looking for Like. It's extremely important. One of the things I always hire these days that we do in WizeT alent is three key points and across the board applies with all businesses. But the first one is integrity. You want to hire people that are telling the truth. These are really Warren Buffett's you can look this up, but Warren Buffett most people know who he is, but he hires on three things. Number one, integrity. Secondly, intelligence and thirdly, energy. If you hire someone with integrity who just tells the truth, then you can leverage the other two. So you must sort of hire based on the integrity, because it's really alike the analogy of an iceberg when you first meet someone, you know nothing about them and the integrity piece is really the iceberg that sits under the water and it's only the personality that we see on the top. So part of your recruitment process must be trying to get down to that part of the iceberg, try to get down a part of that character or personality that you can't see, and so your hiring process must filter that out. So it's a very important decision. One of the biggest decisions you'll make will be to hire a client manager and for them to be a team player, what we call intrapinarial and not entrepreneurial. And a lot of people say to me, meepo, how do you find that out? One of the ways to do it is ask them. Just ask them face to face in that process, and most people always good people and they'll tell you the truth. So probably the first of all just to rehash, it's the mindset that it can be done, that you don't need to be a client. You don't need to find someone a client yourself, and it's quite humbling that you can find someone who can then help manage the clients as a client manager. So yeah, the second bit's finding the right person, michael, and then the third bit is not to undermine that person and not bypass it and, nicky, you might have a few questions about that for everyone as well.Michael Ferris:
Yeah, just wanted to hone in on what you're saying about hiring the client manager and getting the right person. We know that right person, all those right people, represent about 20% of our industry, so they're not the easiest people to find, and I guess another way of looking at that is knowing that they are only 20% of the fair industry. Then don't rush into it. Make sure that you make a really good decision and hire slow but act fast, as we say.Jamie Johns:
Hire slow. You've got to hire slow and act fast yeah.Michael Ferris:
And one I just wanted to reiterate was making sure that they are an intrapreneur and not an entrepreneur, and asking them straight up. In some wise talent processes that I've been involved in when I've conducted the interview, one comes to mind straight away where we were hiring an assistant client manager and the candidate had the credentials potentially to run their own business, and obviously that's something that we need to clear up before we get too far down the track, and so I did just ask him straight out and got a very honest response, which was that it indicated he was an intrapreneur and then, from there, use the rest of the hiring process to validate that. I think beating around the bush could lead to a mishire, couldn't it? So you really do need to ask up front.Jamie Johns:
Yeah, the hiring process is extremely important now.Michael Ferris:
Yeah, one analogy that we hear within the wise community is the concept of rubber cup clients versus crystal glass clients. So we're probably stepping forward in the process a little bit now. Remember, we're talking about the first six months of replacing yourself as the client manager. We're kind of assuming that we've got that client manager on board now, and now we need to start thinking about handing over the clients to that new client manager. And how do we do that? I know the first thing you're probably going to say, Jamie, is that it's a process of change management and humans don't like change. So give us a little bit of insight as to your experience in doing that and, in particular, that analogy about the rubber cup versus the crystal glass clients.Jamie Johns:
Yeah, in terms of the change process, when you hire a client manager to really get started everyone to make a start it's great if you can identify your C&D class clients and that doesn't mean like this sort of C&D lower level. What it really means in a practical sense is they're less complicated clients. The C&D class clients are really the less complicated clients, everyone the less complex. So if you've got a client manager starting and you want to know sort of how they're going to go, then introduce them to a few least complex clients to see how they work with those clients. And you can do that in the first few months and then, if they're successful with the least complex clients around, meeting them face to face so that interpersonal skills then as they go along you can introduce them to more complex clients and to bigger fee based clients. So we do have a classification of what we call a senior client manager. Certainly a senior client managers look after the biggest clients, the most complex clients, and sometimes that is the bigger fee earning clients. And then we have what's called in the audio team, you know, an assistant client manager as affirms fees get bigger and, based on the capacity plan, there is an appropriate time that you'll need an assistant client manager and the assistant client manager then look after the C&D class clients. So what happens is you have to sort of be very strategic when you draw up a list of clients to hand over to the client manager everyone. And you've got to remember that there's some clients will be early adopters, there's some clients will be middle adopters and some clients will be late adopters. And you know the late adopters. And there might even be a percentage of clients right is say you know what, if I can't have Jamie, I'm going to go elsewhere. They almost inadvertently blackmail you into your own growth professionally and as a firm. So be aware of that. That can happen. Another way of saying early adopters, middle adopters and late adopters is the thing that you know Ed used to say to me years ago is some clients are rubber cup clients and some clients are crystal glass clients. And everyone's probably wondering well, what's that mean? Some clients that you've got just based on personality, they'll be more open to change their early adopters. So if I'm there and just say, for example, I'm going to work with Nino and Nino's in the session today, but Nino is my client manager coming in. Thanks for the wave Nino. But I'll say, you know, hi, Joe, this is Nino. Nino is going to work with me and we're going to do your work together and, you know, help you with your business. Then a rubber cup client would say they'd be more open to it. They'd say, oh yeah, get a Nino, how are you? I'm glad that you've joined force with the Jamie and you're working together and they'd be quite open to it and they're what you call a rubber cup client because they're an early adopter, whereas you'll get other clients their personality and if you make the smallest change right, they'll get upset. The smallest little change. Even if you send a letter out in a different wording or something like that, right, a crystal glass client they'll sort of shatter, they'll be worried, and that's so. You guys, as firm owners, when you go on this journey and you hire a client manager who's going to look after the relationship, it's very important that, as a firm owner, you understand your own clients. You understand what in your client base what a rubber cup clients and what a crystal glass clients. Because obviously with the rubber cup clients you can probably fast track the process and the handover situation versus the crystal glass clients. You'll just tread much more carefully, you'll manage them better. But the thing to say about crystal glass clients everyone, and what I call the late adopter is when they do adopt a change, they're very loyal. So they might be slow to change, but when they do change they're very set in their ways and that often can be a good thing. So there's force against it. But that's really the difference between your rubber cup clients and your crystal glass clients. And probably from a practical sense, everyone is saying and hopefully asking in their mind is how do I transition a client that, like I said earlier, when I started my own firm, that was a friend, a family member and people that are just stuck to you? How do you do that? Now, the way that you do that is number one hire someone with good interpersonal skills. So, as I stressed earlier, they must have good interpersonal skills because ultimately, every business in the world will get a complaint. So how do you handle a complaint? So you've got to have good leadership and you've got to have good interpersonal skills. With that, once they've got good interpersonal skills, I always used to bring the client manager guys into the meeting with me. So I would bring the client manager into my annual general meetings, or even if I did a site visit or if the clients were coming in, I'd identify those portfolio of the clients that I said earlier. I would meet them together with me and then you would just assess the interaction with the client manager and whether you thought that they were going to get along with the client manager, and so it might take one or two or three interactions and then you've got the process started, you've got the relationship going from yourself, which is still there, obviously to the client manager, and then, once that the relationship started and you're educating your clients because that's what this is all about is educating your team members and educating your clients so that you can stop being so busy and actually probably give them better service is to educate your clients that they do have a dedicated client manager. And really the next step, then everyone is to make sure that you honor the no bypass policy and that you don't undermine the client manager. And this is really looking at that first six months, and you will have to keep yourself in check because, mick, one of your questions, everyone's question is often when I was going through this process, the clients would call me so that ring my phone and I think I was having a good chat with Craig. Milroy is here today. I was having a good chat with Craig one day and what happens is clients ring your phone, they'll email you, they'll try and set up appointments with you and every other way that you can communicate Zoom or whatever. So from a practical point of view in a real life every day, is that you mustn't bypass the client manager once you've started that relationship. And the way to do that from a practical point of view is like if a client would call my phone, I would merge in the client manager. So these days, with your iPhone or whatever you use, it's so good. You can just merge in the client manager and bring that person in on the conversation with the client and go back to use Nino as an example. I'd say well, nino, what do you think? Here's Joe's problem, nino, what do you think about this? Answer this person selling their business or might be a bookkeeping question. So loop the new client manager back in. And that's how you do it on the phone, because a communication traffic is often on the phone. The other one is appointments. Make sure whenever there's an appointment that your client manages, nino's there with me together and many, many times. Email is such a powerful thing today, or chat, so some people might use Slack or whatever it is, or email. I would say look, nino, you prepare the response to this client's question on the email. Show me your response and I'll check it before you send it. And then Nino sends it and just CCs me in. Okay. So they're really practical things, guys, that you should do every day, and most of you have probably heard the Pareto Principle. I live that every day, every day in your life. It's the 80-20 year old. Pareto was an economist, I think, but the 80-20 year old applies every day. So I often still say to my team members to this day look, you do 80%, I'll do 20%, and then over time it becomes you do 90% and I'll do 10% as more training and more delegation occurs not abdication, but proper delegation is that person will end up eventually, if they're competent and they have the ability to keep learning, they'll end up doing 100% and they'll do their job description of what they're hired to do and what they're paid to do. So that 80-20 rule, Mick, is extremely important, really across the board. But you know I've lost the number of times now over the years I've said well, you draft the email and then I'll check it before we send it.Michael Ferris:
I'm glad you mentioned that, the conference call. I remember you said that to me not long after we started working together. That's the thing that stuck in my mind is get good at doing conference calls so that when you need to, you can bring in your team or bring in your client manager to help with that transition.Jamie Johns:
So yeah, that's right. Look, one of the things I might have didn't add, that is, when you do have a phone call together with a client and you've got a client manager, or when you've had a meeting together with your new client manager, yourself as the firm owner and the client, make sure you always have a debrief. It's really important to have a debrief after the conversation and that debrief is well what worked well. So again, I'll use Nino as an example. But Nino, what did you think I did right? What did I do wrong? And then, vice versa, say, well, nino, geez, you really approached this topic right. You let them speak first. Your body language was great, because you'll have all sorts of clients from different socio-economic backgrounds and you need to be able to shift gears because you might have, say, an academic person come in, or a highly trained surgeon or a person of that nature, so your demeanor might be different than if you have a tradesperson who comes in and who's pretty rough, and so forth and so forth. So you want to be able to relate to people and I think really good client managers they explain complex things simply. You should have the ability just to use an account. An example is if someone comes in and says well, jamie, you said I've had this massive profit, but where's the money? You've got to have the ability to explain the complex in a simple way. It might be like someone says well, you've spoken about this franking account, what's a franking account? Or, hang on, but I've got to do some GST on my property Division 129. What's that thing? So you've got to be able to speak at the client's level and not above their level. Not use technical language like edit. Always say it's not debtors and creditors or accounts payable and accounts receivable. It's like well, who owes you money and who you owe money to? Now, if you can do that and shift gears, that's fantastic and that's what you need in a client manager.Michael Ferris:
Yeah, for sure. Did you experience any of that, Jamie, where the clients just get a little bit confused about who they are to talk to, about what? And if you did, how did you deal with that?Jamie Johns:
Yeah, it's actually a great question. Look occasionally, you know, at my own firm we got that Again at Saudi 20 rule. It would be sort of a minimal amount of clients and the way to get around that is really to educate your clients. So you know, in the wise mentoring model the office manager is generally the person who collects the information. It's really more of an admin task. So if you're missing information, it's generally the office manager's role to get the missing information, whatever that may be. And that's more in a tax sense, in the ongoing and we do a lot of bookkeeping at Sky as well but in the ongoing production work, in the ongoing transactional processing allocating the account, the GST, doing the BAS statements, that sort of thing If you've got really good systems, you know whether it's HubDoc or whether it's Dex they call it these days you can have the majority of the information coming through electronically. So there's not a lot of follow up about what this and what that is. So in those particular cases, our bookkeepers they will just reach out to the client directly and say hey, you know, I'm missing this little bit of information to finish off the BAS. Now, when the production work or when the bookkeepers do that they always tend to see CC in the client manager. So they'll tend to CC in the client manager, particularly in the early days and particularly when that bookkeeping relationship is just forming. And but what happens is after you know, three months, after four months, after six months, after a year, the bookkeepers become very, very competent, right, and then it's a point in leadership for the senior client manager. Or so just say whoever the client manager is to say, look, there's no need to CC me anymore. I know you've been doing this for two years, right, and you make very little mistakes, and you know you might have a senior production manager over viewing it anyway before it's signed off on. So then you can drop that communication. But when the relationships are forming and then you or you've got a new person, it's always important to educate the client that the client manager is CC. It's just a simple CC, and to be CC'd in your emails you can. You know it's pretty easy just to look at it in a glance and know that from a bookkeeping or a production point of view.Michael Ferris:
Yeah, just on that, jamie. I think the key thing is that this isn't just like flicking a light switch and instantly you get your client to communicate with the team in the way you want them to do it. And I know that we say around wise a bit. You know we need to lead our clients and clients actually want to be led. So you know I guess it's persistence and just keep following the plan, begin with the end in mind, even from the perspective of how would we like to engage with this client and communicate with this client in an ideal world, and just keep pushing that, like you said, you know, double back, meeting CC and the right people.Jamie Johns:
Oh, absolutely, you have to educate your client and sometimes it'll take five to seven times, you know, to change your habit. I know in the other day in our firm we just want a fairly large bookkeeping job and Paul did all the sales process and while he had one of the other team members there, the client was sort of fixated on Paul and then I think about three times Paul was telling me he just he said, hey, joe, your team's here to take these calls. Then Paul just looped them back in so he didn't bypass them. The client actually apologized. The client said oh yeah, sorry, Paul, yes, I do remember you said to go to this particular person if I needed this, or go to the office manager if I needed this. So you know, if people are in their roles and they stay in their lane and they've got a job description of what they do, then you have to educate your clients around that me.Michael Ferris:
Yep, great point. And I guess another thing is too that this is a journey, so you've got to start somewhere and it might not be as pretty or as smooth as you'd like, but remember that once you get your process better in and you educate your team and they know in what capacity they communicate with clients as you bring on the next new client, you know the team's already working in that way, so almost be aligned in the sand. From that point onwards the communication is going to be a lot better than with the legacy clients which you still might have to lead. You've got your early, mid, late adopters, all of that stuff.Jamie Johns:
That's right. And not only educating your clients, but, on the reverse, you've sort of got to educate whether it's your tax accounts or your bookkeepers, right, you've got to educate them to sort of put their hand up and say, look, I don't know what the answer to this is. You know I'm stuck and you know the last thing you want people is guessing on where to allocate stuff or guessing. So you know you want good procedures and policies and checklists and you know so you can't sort of just talk one without the other. You've got to have good. You know policies in place, or working papers that we call it with a job card. You know whether it's in carbon or whatever system you use. So when you overlay the checklists and the quality control with the people side of it, then you can get a good outcome.Michael Ferris:
Cool. The second question is around hiring your client managers and Jamie. Is it advisable to hire from within and, if so, what courses would you recommend to upskill?Jamie Johns:
Yeah, always better to hire within if you can. That's really the least course of resistance. So if you've got a position that's available in the firm and it's a client manager, 100% if you can find someone already on your team who already knows your clients or has some contact or already knows the systems and processes. Richard Branson always says this. He makes it known that it's always better to promote within than hire externally. In terms of the training, have a guess what? Look in the mirror. You're the best person to teach them how to do interpersonal skills. So, sally, shaken ahead. But most firm owners are quite entrepreneurial and good with clients. Just bring them into the meeting with you. Sally, you're the best person to copy. But look in all seriousness. Another really good point, mick, for everyone is I used to sort of keep track of the leads and the prospect. I used to, on average, probably convert about 70% of people of referrals and leads that I got. And it's a common thing in a lot of firm owners. They'll say why did I grow so fast in the early days, back when you first started? In the first five or six years, you grew 10, 20% every year like I did, and it was simply because you were communicating with the clients all the time and then when you get busier you're right out of time to talk to the clients. So a really good point there for everyone is I remember years ago I remember Ed saying to Ed oh look, I convert 70, 80% of the clients. And you know what Ed said. He said, jamie, I want you to document that. I said, what do you mean? He said, well, can you document what you actually do when you get a referral or a lead? And I thought, oh, okay. So it took me two or three months to document it. Then we fine-tuned it. But the message there for everyone is who's looking to put a client manager on, make sure you document your own process to take a lead or a prospect to a paying client. How do you actually do it and what's the best method to do it. And you'll find in the wise vote we call it a sales playbook. So it's really called a sales playbook, not to use it sort of like an American term. But a sales playbook is really a process to say, well, it takes the intellectual property out of your gray matter and it bottles it up and it puts it into a package so that when you've got a client manager there, you can say, look, this is what I do, this is the process that I follow when I get a phone call and email from a new lead. Here's the 10 steps that I do. So you want to document that and to answer sort of Sally's question. Document your process, sally, and by all means use the one in the wise vote, but then just bring your personality to it, bring your process to it that you know that works. And it's not about sort of whether you think it's works. It's really good to document the percentage of leads and referrals that you get. So if you document the percentage that you convert over three months, you'll really know what your results are, and it might be as high as 90% for some people because they're so good at converting. So the message there is document what you do, bring the client managers in and get them to see what you do, how you behave and the steps that you go through to convert a lead or a prospect to a client, and then they'll learn from you. They'll just buy Osmosis, they'll learn from you.Michael Ferris:
Yeah, another question that in some modern day firms there's no such thing as an office, there's no bricks and mortar. We can also have clients nationally and internationally. In some cases, and in some of those interactions, zoom sort of really took off after our friend COVID came along, and prior to that we didn't really do a lot of remote video meetings, I suppose, with clients. So it's possible that we could have a handful of clients, or even a large portion of our clients that we've never actually seen face to face on a screen before. We might have talked on the phone or in some cases we might have only emailed. So when we bring on our assistant client manager, for example, and we wanna hand over some of those clients, how would you suggest we go about doing that? Introduction Logic would say these days well, you just get on a video meeting with the firm owner, the new assistant client manager and the client. But when you've never ever done that in the first place, what would your advice be in terms of the handover process?Jamie Johns:
Yeah, it's a good question. I remember years ago I had a handful of clients I'd never met. I'd had them for, like you know, five, 10 years and I just never met them because I'd always spoke on the phone. And this is before. You know, we're all on the zoom and teams these days, the phone and the voice is a very powerful medium. I think psychologists and it's in the sales playbook it says that about 38% of our trust and rapport comes through the tone of our voice. That's just like a fact, behavioral science, right. So the very best way to do an introduction is obviously face to face in person. That's just old school. So face to face. The next one is on zoom or teams or video conferencing, because it's again it's the same situation that you know a picture tells a thousand words. But if you can't get face to face, if you can't zoom, then just do it on the phone. Just, you know, over the years I've done on the phone, I'll just have a phone conference many times and that's the way that we used to have conference calls almost back when I started, when video conferencing in the early 2000s was just sort of in its infancy. So yeah, face to face is always best because, you know, I think like 80% of rapport and trust is built through body language, you know, and then sort of 38% through the tone of voice, and it's a very small percentage in terms of the rapport and trust built by human beings through written word, sort of thing you know.Michael Ferris:
So yeah, so it's a bit like a case by case basis. But you know, using that hierarchy of communication mediums, if you can't do video, get on the phone. If you can't get on the phone, it'll have to be emailed.Jamie Johns:
But that's the thing. Me again. You're talking about the 8020 rule. You know you might have a very small percentage, but you know it wouldn't be like 80% of your clients who couldn't do any type of video conference call. So again, focus on the 80%, what works, and focus less on the 20%.Michael Ferris:
Yeah, and I guess, in that process, having some sort of script to work to as well. So, if you know the conversation that you need to have, make sure you're hitting those key points. Reassuring the client. It's change management, isn't it? So the more comfortable you can make them, the better chance of success you've got.Jamie Johns:
It's change management and it's about knowing your clients too. As you've got on the screen there, some clients are just easygoing clients. You know I've got mates of mine. You know I grew up in Horsham and Country Town. I've still got mates that are clients after, you know, almost 20 years, 2004,. We started and they're still clients of the firm today and I just don't look after them because other people who are client managers that have got good interpersonal skills, they're good bookkeepers and they're good accountants, they look after them and they've stayed. So, yeah, yeah.Michael Ferris:
Cool. So, Jamie, practical steps to taking the first six months of your withdrawal journey. I think right back to the start of the session and the first thing you mentioned was mindset. You know you've got to basically commit to the process, don't you, and believe that you can do it, and from then on, you follow the practical steps.Jamie Johns:
I deal with a lot of firm owners and talk to them all the time. But I think one of the biggest practical things is where they self sabotage their selves, michael, is where they don't live the no bypass policy. The reason is it's very hard to change 10, 20, 30 years of behavior. So if you've always dealt with a client and then you decide to get a client manager, michael, it's very easy to follow those old habits and what I mean by that is undermine the client manager. So once you've done the introduction, it's very easy to undermine the client manager by taking that client's phone call, by answering that client's email, by having that appointment with the client and bypassing the client manager. So my message to everyone is, from a practical point of view, live and breathe and understand what the no bypass policy means, understand what early adopters and later adopters are and be very consistent and persistent in your approach. So once you've done an introduction to a client manager at least complex type client or low liable fee client then live the no bypass policy. So always loop the client manager back in. That's the biggest trap. If you don't live that no bypass policy, it's not going to work off.Michael Ferris:
Yep. Good point, a practical step for handing over the client so that you can manage that change. Obviously, double backing the meetings is a big one.Jamie Johns:
Any new leads you get, any new prospects you get double back. I used to do this all the time double back your meetings with the client manager. So, absolutely, michael, that's really important. As again I said, make sure you've documented your sales playbook. You've documented how you take a lead or a prospect to a paying client. So once you've put your process together, that's just fantastic because you've got this intellectual property that you've packaged up. Then, and really probably the final thing to say with all this that we haven't touched on is, once you're going well, once he's got a client manager in place and they're going along, make sure you then measure the most important KPIs, because I was reading an article the other day that the question is what is really good leadership, and everyone should understand what good leadership is. But really the best leadership is what we call influence as a leader, your ability to influence your clients and your ability to influence your team members. But the question then becomes well, how do you get influence? The way that you get influence everyone is by showing people the scoreboard and gamifying your business. It's no different to sports, every sport that we tend to be involved in at some elite level. They track the KPIs of the individual and of the firm. So my message is final point is once you've got the client managers in, make sure you take all the emotion out of it and just track what we call the FAB5. Just track the key performance indicators in a friendly, healthy environment, a non-blame environment. And probably the final point, mick, is sometimes when the client managers make a mistake and I've seen this myself don't expect them to get it perfect. Sometimes the mistakes that they make will be two steps back but three steps forward. Sometimes you'll have a client manager who's really cocky and they've got good interpersonal skills. You get all sorts of different personalities, but sometimes our mistakes are our biggest stepping stones. People shouldn't forget that. As a leader, let people make mistakes. Don't live in this sort of glass house where you expect that there's going to be no mistakes whatsoever and you're not going to lose one client. Focus on the 80%, don't focus on the 20%. Years ago I used to put a system or a client manager or something in place and I'd say, oh, it's not working, it's not working. But then I was questioning how many I was two clients out of 500. So focus on what's working and not just the 20% that's not working. Yeah, good point.