Joey Brannon, Founder of the Consulting CPA, sold the tax and accounting arm of his accounting firm to jettison into solely a consulting profit center. Most firms “rest on their laurels” and stay in their comfort zone with just doing compliance work and keeping clients at an “arm’s length.” Joey saw the opportunity to move from a technical relationship to a practical relationship with clients. [More on that below.] In this episode of Growing Your Firm Podcast, David Cristello and Joey Brannon delve into:
- All the pieces you need in your client’s CRM profile (you’re probably missing a few)
- How a consulting engagement will look like with your clients
- Why it is as important as ever to get this started in your accounting firm
- Consulting CPA --- Helping CPAs build a consulting arm of their firm
- Linkedin - Joey Brannon
- Twitter - Joey Brannon
- Add Multiple Profit Centers to Your Firm [Interview]
- How to Massively Profit on Your Expertise [Interview]
- How to Become an Advisor to Your Clients [Interview]
- What are your client’s goals? What are they planning on the business side for the coming 1-3 years?
- What went well in the past year that you can’t see on the tax return?
- What is critical to the success of your business? (could be a certain person, a specific vendor or customer, etc.)
“Most clients will not bring these questions to you...a consultative firm is proactive…” - Joey BrannonJoey recommends setting up face to face chats with your clients to get maximum results with this step. Even better, take a few days. Walk in the client’s shoes. See where trouble spots are. Discover where they need help and bring it up with them.
DAVID’S TIP: Tell your client “Let’s grab lunch and discuss A,B,C,D. The client will instantly be intrigued and interested you took this proactive approach.Setting up the engagement for a consulting profit center: The steps to getting a consulting profit center set up isn’t tough at all. With any consulting, the profit margin (as it’s a service) is mega-high. There’s little set-up except getting in front of your clients and presenting the service. It might be easiest to start with a client you know and trust well to kick it off. That way, you can iron out the kinks in your sales delivery and implementation. Steps to set up a consulting profit center:
- Set a minimal access price: This is the rock bottom price (per month) you will do a consulting engagement with a client. This keeps you from wavering, plus it shows the client you are serious.
- Start with due diligence: This step typically is unpaid. Here you will be collecting information on the business, interviewing the owners, finding the trouble spots you can help with. Here, gather: Financial statements, key relationships, organizational chart, when did they last increase prices, competitors etc.
- Understand the type of client: The more the client wants to grow, the more you can help. If they are fairly comfortable where they are, it will be tough to sell them as well as implement for them.
- Start the conversation light: Open up with a discussion of their business over coffee. Keep it fairly casual.
- Give them three options to work with: You can make it --- project based. You could have an offsite retreat where you spend a few days helping, consulting and implementing. Or, agree to come back weekly/bi-weekly to implement systems, etc.
- Position your price correctly: Most likely, you will get push-back on price. Stay solid. Say: “Yes, it is an obscene amount of money you will pay, but you’ll get a ridiculous amount of return on that.” Position the fee as much smaller than the ROI.