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The other day on the FocalPoint Business Coaching Blog, I talked about Bill Gates and Warren Buffet and how everyone wants their “help.”
Chances are they get approached continually with “great ideas” and “wonderful investment opportunities.” How do they decide which ones to go with?
This week’s FocalPoint Business Coaching Challenge is led by London, Ontario’s Ian Hayman, a Brian Tracy Certified Business Coaching Professional. Ian is a professional engineer and the past president of REDOPCO Systems. He is a business coach trainer and a facilitator for FocalPoint Business Coaching International.
“How can I drive results as a business coach for an Accounting Firm CPA, CMA or Bookkeeper?”
“As FocalPoint Business coaches, we are often asked how we can be so sure that we can drive results and success for professional businesses such as Accounting Firms and other financial and professional management organizations.
“The interesting aspect of these businesses is that, although many of the principle partners are highly skilled and extremely focused on the delivery of their expertise, we find that the functional side of business operations such as marketing and sales development are somewhat avoided.
“Because the partners/principles are highly technical and very task focused, invariably the “softer” side of the business is not in their comfort zones. This is, of course, to be expected since they have had little to no training on executing effective marketing and sales strategies.
“Their sales process is typically word of mouth, which is slightly better than what we refer to as organic growth. (the normal growth of a business through simply being present in the market place).
“Professional service owners often fall into the category of ‘Technician’ and ‘Manager’ rather than ‘Entrepreneur’ in their daily activities and responsibilities (Michael Gerber, The E-Myth Revisited). This can become the most significant constraint in their business. Entrepreneurial thinking is the key to long term growth, business development and financial success.
“The result is that their marketing suffers greatly. We usually find that their truly unique “Value Proposition” is quite weak or non-existent in the market place – the solutions and benefits they provide to their clients (and future clients) are often subdued or not publicized at all. As a result their potential growth opportunities and long term growth potential are significantly restricted.
“Also, we often find that Cash Flow and IRR (Internal Rate of Return) within these organizations are not tracked or the two or three critical numbers that they should be tracking often provide weak information or are missed completely (Verne Harnish, Mastering the Rockefeller Habits).
“A third and very significant focus with these clients is to create what I refer to as the “Education Process in Client Land.”
“Professional Services clients tend to under-educate their customer base. Simply put, the professional firm knows they provide a service of high importance and need, and, in almost all cases, their customer also understands or knows that the company has provided an important service to them. But – the customer should also know and understand the value and benefit that they have received from the service provider. This is critical to driving price point and total client satisfaction. The professional company needs to get their client to confirm, communicate and advocate the value and benefits back to the service provider.
“That isn’t the end of the education process. A further element, which is huge to influencing long term success, is that the customer should be encouraged to advocate the professional service company’s expertise and value to other businesses in the community. This is one of the most low-cost, no-cost marketing strategies with teeth that a company can embrace.
“With these three approaches, every professional business has the opportunity to grow their business with a valuable and supportive client base."
Thanks Ian, great points. How about the rest of you? How do you work with your professional services clients – what keys would you add to Ian’s processes? Post your comments below.