Recast Episode: This episode was originally published on November 15, 2017, but it’s a favorite among our Growing Your Firm Podcast community, so we’re bringing it back. Comment below to tell us if you’ve been listening to the podcast since the original airing of this episode.
- Proving your ROI to clients immediately
- The power of “urgency planning” with clients
- Adding 35% more revenue with tax planning services
- The magic sauce = fire clients
Keep up with Jackie
- Visit Jackie’s website, Meyer Tax Consulting
- Join Jackie’s Facebook Group, Accounting Firm Influencers
- Email Jackie at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Check out her resource guide
- Listen to her other Growing Your Firm Podcasts
Meet Jackie Meyer
Jackie Meyer, a frequent guest on the Growing Your Firm Podcast, Founder of Meyer Tax Consulting, a Forbes 40 Under 40 winner, and a Forbes finance council official member, discovered she made 35% more revenue after adding tax planning services AND cutting 60% of her clients. She reached the feat by proving her ROI to her clients and “using urgency planning packages'' to save stress and time with client emails. Jackie will explain all of this and more in today’s interview.
Proving Your ROI to Clients Immediately
When Jackie initially opened her doors, nearly 11 years ago now, she welcomed every small business owner onto her client list. Any 1040 in the Southlake, TX region, Jackie was there to help.
As you can imagine, this got overwhelming fast. Multiple, low-paying clients calling and emailing at all times of the day and night. Not to mention, Jackie was starting a family. She had the American Dream of an up-and-coming business plus a beautiful family. However, with an abundance of work, it didn’t feel like a “dream.” She didn’t realize where she could focus her attention until 2016.
Jackie sat down with her business coach, Chuck Bauer, saying “I’m frustrated.” She was juggling everything at once, and Bauer calmly asked: “Who do you love working with as a client? What do you love doing with them?” Just like that, a light bulb turned on. She knew all along who her favorite (and well-paying) clients were.
Jackie began to focus on local executives, CEOs, and people in upper management who needed her help. For her, this was the easy choice because these executives:
- Highly valued her services (they love and follow their accountants to the ends of the earth)
- Have a nice sized cashflow so as not to push back on fees
- Are smart — Jackie learned from them as they learned from her
Her niche decision was easy. From there, Jackie became a Certified Tax Coach through the American Institute of Certified Tax Coaches. Then, she got to work focusing on her ideal client.
Because her ideal clients were looking to pay fewer taxes, she created a package specifically for them. For example, if she uncovers $100,000 in taxes, she’d charge a percentage of that ($15,000 in this case). The clients were happy to pay the small fee in comparison to the amount they were saving. This system ran much more smoothly (and provided more revenue) than negotiating with small businesses over $350 tax returns.
The Power of “Urgency Planning” with Clients
Another problem Jackie has with clients was their “time-suck”. The problem most accountants have is an expectations problem, i.e. a client sends you an IRS notice they received and views it as an urgent issue and wants immediate answers. From your point of view, you are working to complete their tax returns and request documents, however, the client doesn’t see your needs as urgent. To combat this, Jackie encourages creating an urgency plan. Here’s how she does it:
- Create a code for your clients. For example:
- E = Emergency (answer ASAP)
- U = Urgent (answer within 24-48 hours)
- NU = Not urgent (answer whenever)
- Clients now know how to filter emails from you, and you can filter through client emails as well.
- When a client doesn’t send you an email with one of these codes, kindly remind them and get back on track.
Jackie didn’t receive any complaints when switching to this system. In fact, many clients appreciated it. If a client didn’t embrace the change, Jackie made the decision whether it was worth keeping the client. The time management strategy allowed her to expand her tax planning services.
Adding 35% More Revenue With Tax Planning Services
After cutting clients and figuring out who her ideal client was, it was time to focus on her business. Jackie says tax planning consulting is the easiest way to show ROI to a client, hands-down. You are doing a tremendous service to your clients, and it’s a service they understand — it saves them money.
Jackie asked a favorable client if she could use him as a guinea pig for a new package she was rolling out for executives. After getting excellent feedback she put together 3 different packages: Basic, Pro, and Elite. Each came with an onboarding fee (key to getting money upfront) plus monthly maintenance. This produces a huge shift in revenue because it is value-based pricing on the ROI compared to an hourly billing system.
The Magic Sauce = Fire Clients
To make room for her profitable clients, Jackie took a contrarian approach...she had to fire clients. Jackie was fully committed to working with executives, and thus small business owners aren’t the best fit for her. She began referring them out. At one point, she sold off 60% of her client base. In one instance, another firm owner was going to buy them but backed out at the last minute. This really threw a wrench in long-term plans.
Luckily, a business called Accounting Biz Brokers swooped in and lent a hand. Rather than simply giving away leads, Jackies makes a decent income referring out clients that aren’t a good fit. “You do more of a disservice firing them than selling them,” Jackie says to those who think it’s wrong to sell leads. With selling, you can do hand-holding until the old client is fully integrated into the new firm. Simply dropping the client leaves them stranded at sea.
Even after cutting her client list by 60%, Jackie is up 35% in revenue. Her advice to anyone who is ready to do the same: Don’t get stuck in the grind. Follow your passion, it will work itself out.
To learn more about how Jackie trimmed down her client list and expanded her revenue, listen to the full podcast above!
As a side note: This original podcast was released in 2017, however, now in 2021, Jackie spends just four hours a week working on her firm and has just launched an app called TaxPlanIQ.