Michael Rozbruch, 2x inc 5000 winner, author, and founder of Michael Rozbruch’s Tax and Business Solutions Academy, built two successful companies and can show you how to get client testimonials for your accounting firm.
After being let go from his CFO position, Michael decided he needed to make his own way. After learning marketing from the greats, he trekked out on his own…
On this episode of the Growing Your Firm Podcast, David Cristello and Michael Rozbruch go into:
- The #1 reason a prospect will buy your product
- How to ask and get client testimonials for your accounting firm without asking for one
- Why you’re wrong if you think you’re in the “Professional services” or “compliance” business
- Michael Rozbruch – Linkedin
- Michael Rozbruch’s Tax & Business Solutions Academy
- How to Implement Strategic Growth & Marketing
- Get Your Ideal Accounting Clients with a Bulls-eye approach
From Laid-off to the Inc. 5000
Michael Rozbruch built his career in accounting, laying the foundation to become CFO of a company. He felt he had achieved a major milestone in his life…until the day the company let him go.
It felt like a gut punch. He had spent well over a decade getting to this point only for it all to be taken away. Michael came to the conclusion — “I just couldn’t work for anyone, anymore.”
Right away, he brainstormed areas he could help people. As an accountant, he dealt in taxes and found again and again, many individuals would struggle with tax resolution (the act of owing back taxes).
As with any new business, the first hurdle — get new clients. Rather than rely on pure luck, Michael pored through the marketing greats: Jay Abraham, Dan Kennedy and others. He incorporated these pieces into his new tax resolution practice. The year was 1998.
His first client, to get his feet wet, was a musician who was on the hook for $42,000 with the IRS. Amazingly, Michael negotiated the amount due down to $2,500.
“It felt incredible, I literally saved his financial life.”
The practice exploded growing from nothing to $23MM by 2011. In 16 years, total, the practice grossed $120MM. Twice the company made the inc 5000 list of fastest growing companies.
Why Customers Buy:
Many practitioners approached Michael asking him how he did what he did. In this episode, Michael revealed the secret sauce:
“People will buy to get away from the pain. They buy only to get out of a painful situation.” A patient will immediately go out and get pills for a pulsing headache, but when the doctor recommends more Vitamin C, there’s less urgency.
Michael mastered matching his market with the right message. When you tap into the emotional state of your market, the message writes itself. In Michael’s case, for his tax resolution practice, he recognized his best clients were: 39-61, divorced, self-employed, 3-5 years of unfiled returns, etc.
He understood the market completely. Whenever someone came in and didn’t fall in this category, Michael picked up the red flags the prospect wouldn’t be a great client. Understanding your market marks the first step to a growing client base.
Another trait of his target market — they didn’t negotiate his fee. Through almost 20 years of being an entrepreneur, Michael discovered: if a prospect negotiated his fee, they never were good clients to work for. Price conscience prospects become the most “needy.”
DAVID’S TIP: If you press others on price when you shop, prospects will press you on price. It’s funny how it works.
Michael recommends: The more you position yourself in the market as the ONLY logical choice for a prospect, they will do anything to have their pain solved by you, including not negotiating your fees. You must be able to showcase your abilities.
Client testimonials work best for that.
Getting Client Testimonials for Your Accounting Firm:
Testimonials are the most powerful tools for getting new clients. Having descriptive, in-depth testimonials takes the risk off of the prospect.
To start, you must have STRONG testimonials (not weak). A weak testimonial sounds very generic: “This Firm did a great job.” That won’t sway anyone.
According to Michael, you need 3 things:
- A Backstory: i.e. In 2007, this customer went belly up and revenues dried up. He got into a bind with payroll taxes.
- A Before and After: Before working with Michael, we owed $42,000 to the IRS. After Michael, we only owed $2,500.
- Understand Similar Backstories: 90% of your clients will have similar backstories. This is valuable for your marketing.
For many, asking for a testimonial can hit you like a ton of bricks and it’s uncomfortable. Clients won’t give you a testimonial if you don’t ask for it.
Now, it’s a Catch 22. You’re panicked to ask, but know it could be a breakthrough.
This next tip gets you client testimonials WITHOUT directly asking them. What’s the secret, according to Michael Rozbruch —
Client Survey Forms
This form gives clients the ability to provide positive (or negative) testimonials. Clients aren’t awkwardly being asked for them, but they still have a forum to voice their opinion.
Including in it, you can ask:
- “When did you become a client?”
- “Describe an experience that makes you happy.”
- “Was there any matter that can be improved.
- “Describe 1-2 benefits you (the client) found”
Michael’s seen so many CPAs and Partners struggle with the “entitlement” mentality. Essentially, they don’t need testimonials because, they are just so good at what they do, it doesn’t matter.
Marketing is the Business:
No matter what business you live and breathe — you have are in the MARKETING business, not the business you think.
Michael introduces himself as a “marketing and sales organization that provides professional services.” You must view your company as a marketing company. Marketing is the business, deliverables are secondary.
Everyday, Michael says, you should block off time solely for marketing your company. Most firms get dragged into the “minutiae” of the day. Don’t let anything (clients, team members, etc) get in the way of the time you allot.
“If you were competing against yourself…what would you do differently to beat yourself?”
Getting client testimonials for your accounting firm kicks open the doors to your target market and prospects who need the exact help you provide.
How do you currently get client testimonials? Leave a comment below and tell us.