The Mindset of a Successful Owner & Partner: The Sandi Leyva Interview
This week, we’re excited to have Sandi Levya, President of Accountant’s Accelerator* discuss her 7 success strategies plus how to have the mindset of a successful owner(please note this post includes affiliate links).
She will give you the best tip for marketing your firm as well (and it’s not cold calling).
In this episode of the Growing Your Firm Podcast by Jetpack Workflow Software, David Cristello and Sandi Levya cover:
- The 7 Surprisingly Simple Strategies to Seven Figure Freedom
- How critical “mindset shifts” can help you engage more with your team and clients (the key to having the mindset of a successful owner)
- Powerful (yet often overlooked) marketing tactics to increase your online ROI
- and much more
7 Strategies to 7-Figure Freedom
Sandi Levya, the founder of Accountant’s Accelerator, a top accounting coach, a top 25 thought leader in accounting, and one of the top 100 influential people in the industry, has 7 strategies to reach 7 figure freedom.
We’re getting a unique look into Sandi’s premier accelerator and what she teaches her closest clients. These 7 strategies could unlock a 7-figure windfall if you match them closely.
Here’s a summary of the 7 strategies:
- Value Pricing: The hottest topic of them all in accounting the past few years (and presently)
- Time and Energy Management: the things to put in your body to make you feel younger. We’re not talking necessarily about dieting or eating super healthy (Sandi admits loving on some bacon and fries). It’s simply ways to better manage your energy.
- Online and Internet Marketing: Sandi says this is the most underutilized strategy in accounting today. This includes optimizing your website, Search-Engine-Optimization (SEO) and incorporating landing pages.
- Human Performance Excellence: do things that don’t come naturally to you or your team. Sandi is a natural numbers person, but she has broken out of her shell doing ToastMasters, public speaking, and doing more selling and negotiating.
- Building a Team: especially for solo practitioners, leverage profits to build out team members who can do the grunt work for you. Thus, you focus on the long-term vision. At first, it might be another CPA or bookkeeper, for others, it’s administrative assistants to help with minial tasks to save time.
- Optimize your Mindset: this is the most important thing. In this interview, we talk a lot about “mindset”, which is the foundation for all other activities within your firm or practice.
- Technology Assistance: this isn’t having a virtual assistant, but actually implementing the newest tech inside your firm. This is a massive time-saver.
The Mindset of a Successful Owner:
As I mentioned, we mostly talked about mindset in this episode. The first to think about is “walking in your client’s shoes”. It takes practice and discipline. Here’s what it means: Walking in your client’s shoes makes you focus on their pain and frustration, as well as how busy your clients are.
If you’re constantly asking them for information, and they’re constantly late, then both of you end up being angry. Your firm stalls because work isn’t happening, and your client becomes annoyed because they wanted all this “accounting stuff” to be handled. Expectations are not met, there’s not a good system in place, so everything stalls.
The alternative would be having complete empathy and understanding for your client. With this, you can identify specific pains and problems they experience, and actually build services and systems around their main points of frustrations (and when done right, you no longer have to compete on price).
To make it easier to start, here are your clients’ main pain points:
- Growing the business
- Profit and Margin
- Pricing of their goods
If you speak to them in these terms, you’ll see a difference in how they respond to your own prices and price increases.
Understand why buyers buy, even if they’re your client already. You’ll see attrition rates plummet, and the happy client scale go up.
Unfortunately, as accountants, we focus on compliance i.e. we find what things are WRONG. It’s a very pessimistic, static, historical view.
Imagine if instead you focused on how revenue is generated, your mindset shifts to a more business-building mindset than expense-only focus.
Don’t act superior to your clients…listen to them. Don’t speak to them in jargon…talk about results.
DAVID’S TIP: Meet the client where they are at that moment. If they are a new business owner, they probably know very little about accounting. If they’ve started multiple businesses, they probably have an entry-level knowledge of accounting. Meet them at their level.
This same exercise can be applied for your team as well. What do they care about? Struggle with? Want out of their career?
Not only will this exercise help with service offerings, new client setup, and on boarding, it’ll also tell you how you communicate.
For example, if your client is starting at Square 1 in terms of financial knowledge, then explaining complex accounting principles will not help. This exercise helps you meet your clients and team where they are, versus where you want them to be. By meeting them at the place they’re at, we gain clarity on the relationship.
This is how you develop the mindset of a successful owner.
Carol Dweck’s Best-Selling Book, “Mindset”
Carol Dweck’s work in her book “Mindset” research she founded from Stanford. Inside the book, she discusses the difference between having a “Fixed” Mindset vs a “Growth” mindset.
Fixed Mindset people look at abilities as natural talents, unchangeable, and believe if something isn’t easy, that means they’re simply not good at it.
Growth mindset people focus on effort, with the belief that any skill or practice can be learned. Exerting a great deal of effort is a positive for growth mindset folks, but a downside for fixed mindset. Mistakes are not failures but learning opportunities.
With a fixed mindset, these folks are trained to find mistakes. They typically feel they must prove themselves all the time. They’re sensitive about being wrong. A lot of effort means you are dumb.
DAVID’S TIP: If you’re afraid of making mistakes, you’ll never uncover innovative solutions. You’ll also have trouble providing the best value to your clients because you’ll be afraid of making mistakes. You can’t be perfect all the time.
50% of humans abide in fixed-mindset-mode.
This affects people all the way down to our children. Praising the effort of a child instead of the result helps them develop a growth mindset. Your team is the same way.
Bottom-line: It’s okay to try a new script or negotiating tactic in front of clients and prospects. There might be some awkwardness, but now you have something to learn from. It’s okay to feel weird sometimes.
Sandi’s Top Marketing Tip:
Sandi sees a drop in the effectiveness of cold calling. Frankly, it’s ineffective nowadays.
Sandi believes building a content engine is the best way to bring in passive clients.
Her biggest tip is to master landing pages. These landing pages can capture new prospects you can contact multiple times.
In accounting, prospects are looking for someone they can trust. You need multiple touchpoints with a prospect before they agree to come aboard.
On marketing: It’s important to have call to action on each page, and have specific landing pages for specific audiences or offers. You can use software such as leadpages or unbounce, or even create a new page on your CMS (like wordpress). Landing pages are great in that it speaks directly to a specific audience, or focus 100% on the value of the product or service you’re offering.
DAVID’S TIP: If you know what your ideal client already needs, you can create the right content for them to use again and again. Think of your niche and what that niche needs regularly.
HOW CAN YOU START DEVELOPING A GROWTH MINDSET IN YOURSELF AND YOUR TEAM?