How to Land $7,500 Monthly Accounting Retainers

Recast Episode: This episode was originally published on September 6, 2018, 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.

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Kevin Izevbigie is a growth and automation specialist who helps accountants to stop doing free work and start landing monthly retainers. He helps you to turn all of that consulting and extra work you do for your clients into cash. You’ll still keep your clients, and they’ll be happy to pay you.

Podcast

Summary

In this episode David Cristello and Kevin Izevbigie dive into:

  • Discovering hidden pockets of profits in your firm
  • How to position yourself to create products that sell for $7,500
  • The answer to the question, “Which product should I create for my clients?”

Resources

  1. 3 Simple Steps to Transform Your CPA Firm Into a Profitable Powerhouse
  2. How to Generate Your First 100 Accounting Clients & Building Recurring Revenue
  3. Double Your Income by Getting Rid of Receivables in Your Firm

There Are Hidden Pockets of Profits in Your Firm RIGHT NOW

Kevin Izevbigie, the founder of S2 Digital Agency (formerly known as Kevinize), is a qualified accountant. However, seven years ago, he fell in love with marketing and helping accounting firms like yours grow. He has a special niche that you’ll like. He uncovers “hidden pockets of profit” inside your firm. These hidden pockets are services you’re already performing, or that your clients need. You can turn these services into advisory products. Bundle them up, charge them an upfront fee, and then add a monthly continuity retainer. 

Many firms perform lots of free work for clients. They also brush over the valuable services they could offer. Kevin digs these up and puts them into a bundle your clients will happily buy again and again. These hidden pockets are how to get your clients to pay you happily, and pay you more.

This One Thing Could Make or Break the Growth of Your Firm

When you position yourself differently than other firms, you can demand more. This is known as positioning. When you tell someone “I’m an accountant,” the person you’re talking to automatically conjures up an image of a bean counter, a calculator, a starchy shirt and bland tie doing taxes. When they do that, you become a commodity. A commodity can be bargained downwards (usually never up). That means you’re making less profit. 

On top of that, many firms take on anyone who shows up on their doorstep. They “specialize” in every niche imaginable, apparently. They get pulled in every which direction by multiple clients in multiple niches. That’s a surefire way to lower profits and hamster-wheel management. 

Low-priced services and clients pile up. When they do, you’re forced to hire more staff, then you need more projects to support the staff. So you take on more work, then need more staff… Can you see the wheel spinning? It’s tiring. Kevin calls these firms “chaos.” They live in feast-and-famine times. Feast, being tax season. Famine, being everything else. You can change that now.

How to Position Your Firm to Make Higher Fees from What You’re Already Doing for Free

Instead of serving everywhere, position your firm in one tight niche. You can serve multiple industries, but think about which type of companies have the same problem. When you know the exact problem, you can solve that problem specifically and get a monthly retainer out of it. 

Remember: businesses are people. People have problems. They need you to solve that problem. They will pay you for it. 

Here’s an example: Kevin’s client was a firm owner with 25+ years of experience. This client wanted to target the food business. Kevin helped the client go through their step-by-step process system, set up a strategy with automation, and this client became the virtual CFO of the businesses. To do this, the client charged $7,500 and a monthly retainer on continuity for $1,000/month. His service is fully advisory, and it solves a big problem in the food business. Those types of revenues multiplied over dozens, if not hundreds, of clients is a gamechanger. 

A key piece to know is how to position yourself. The formula is fairly simple: “I help X person do Y.” Ask yourself these five questions to define your positioning:

  1. Who, specifically, do I help?
  2. How do I bridge the gap between what my client really needs and what I provide?
  3. How do I position myself uniquely in the market?
  4. How can I prove to leads that I can deliver?
  5. Am I seen as a trusted advisor?

Your clients are most interested in their future. They learn from the past but dream of the future. Thus, you must report on the past and advise for the future. That’s why what you package and sell to your clients must be repeatable. You’re constantly helping them with their future every month. Clients are like the rest of us. They want their dream house, to travel more, to sleep soundly at night, and not think only about business and finances. It’s your goal to fill the gap in their life that keeps them awake at night. 

What Product Should You Put Together for Your Monthly Retainer Service? 

Unfortunately, we still have yet to find a magic bullet or template for what product to serve up to your clients. Every industry, sector, and group is a bit different. It’s up to you to dig deep and find out what the big pain points are in the area you’re looking. Think about who you’re serving and the type of people they are. You may have to do some interviews and talk with folks to gather enough details for a good profile.

Define a client’s success metric. Most business owners aren’t looking at the inputs and outputs that make their business grow and succeed. They simply see if they have money in their bank account. You can create forward-looking, future-predicting products to help businesses grow.

The first place to start digging is to ask yourself, “Where do I already give away my expertise for free?” For all of your products, it’s best to make them monthly retainers AKA continuity plans. That’s why an advisory service like virtual CFO would be a great direction to start. Be careful not to use terms that the client doesn’t understand or has preconceived notions about. 

For example, “Virtual CFO” might conjure up the wrong idea to certain clients. That’s why you should present it simply as “I help X person do Y.” It’s focused more on results than on the title.  Positioning your firm could pay off dividends quickly because clients just want their problems solved. You can turn easy advisory work into $7,500 and a monthly retainer — with one client!
Bonus: Kevin recommends the book Psycho-Cybernetics by Dr. Maxwell Maltz. One of his clients called the book “life-changing.” It could definitely change your mindset after one read!

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