Our experts Chris Rivera and Tyler S Clark discussed lead generation and efficient consultative selling for accounting firms in this podcast.
#BKOT 35: BUILD A KICKASS OFFSHORE TEAM
LEAD GENERATION & EFFICIENT CONSULTATIVE SELLING FOR ACCOUNTING FIRMS
Hosted by: Chris Rivera, Director Client relations, Entigrity Offshore Staffing
Guest: Tyler S. Clark, Founder, DreamFirms
Chris: Alright! Good morning everybody, happy end of the season! Very excited to have you guys join this morning #BKOT we're on episode number 35. A very special guest today and talking about consultative selling and lead generation right, it is time to start thinking about that for the new season. So we have with us the founder of Dream Firms, Tyler Clark, Tyler thank you so much for taking time out today. So please tell us all about Tyler.
Tyler: Hey I just want to start off by saying thank you to you Chris and Shawn and the entire Entigrity team. You guys have a heck of a product that a lot of our clients happily utilize to the fullest, so it is an honor to be a part of this. So just let me say thank you to everyone right now who's a client of Entigrity and you guys gotta watch this because we're going to have some killer information that you are going to pay attention to.
So as Chris mentioned my name is Tyler S. Clark I am the co-founder of Dream Firms co-founded with my fiance Marine Laurent and what we really specialize in is creating generational wealth and impact for accounting professionals by systemizing how they attract, win and retain the business of their dream clients and obviously retention super important and where this conversation with Entigrity comes into play.
My journey starts in a little bit of a weird way but just give me a little bit of a chance to explain here, so there's never been a moment in my life where sales and marketing specifically for the accounting profession have not been a part of it and the reason that is true is my grandfather started an incredibly successful accounting firm and he used my father as his sales representative and the idea of a sales representative for an accounting firm in the 70s was considered heresy. And so we developed a lot of really cool techniques and a lot of cool marketing ideas many of the pricing and marketing and sales strategies that are commonplace in the marketplace today are because of my grandfather and my father and the reason they're common is my father 30 years ago launched the first-ever marketing consulting firm specifically for accounting professionals known as new clients incorporated they've worked with thousands of firms over their 30-year history.
And I am just a little over 30 so there is the origin I literally grew up around the dinner table mommy daddy, how do we get our accounting clients even better results and ended up joining the NCI team spent five years as a digital marketing growth expert for my father's company as well as for our clients at the time and then we launched our own accounting firm. We added six figures of new non-referral growth to it two years in a row before a successful exit and then we launched Dream Firms and we've been around for about three years now we've got well over a thousand clients, we've got a couple of really cool products, some incredible success stories, our clients are just the best.
So yeah I mean that is a high-level summary of how I got started. I have not only taught this but have successfully done it myself here Chris and happy to share any advice or guidance that you feel will be applicable for anybody listening.
Chris: Yes, it is awesome and I did that so I will be 39 this year, almost 40 and I was reading on LinkedIn yesterday that I am considered a geriatric millennial. I don't really know if I like the term geriatric millennial it makes it sounds like I am wise and informed but then I do not know anything about technology it is that born in that 80 to 85-year mark and I was just laughing at the title and of course friends and colleagues were making fun of me, but it is that before the internet age of how to work and speak and without devices and mobile technology but then able to adapt to the new generation that is head first in all this technology.
So that leads me to say lead generation so much has changed being a geriatric millennial in the last 30 years firms looking to gear up for the next season I mean where do they start?
Tyler: It is a fantastic question and I completely understand where you're coming from Chris which is bridging the gap between generations right, there's a really old way of doing things that still has merit and I would like to be perfectly clear about that just because something's a little older does not necessarily mean it is not effective maybe a little less effective than the way it used to be.
And that is where Dream Firms really shines, in my opinion, are we have the opportunity to reflect on what is working and also being able to understand that there's a newer way of doing things that quite frankly requires a little bit less effort over the long term as long as we set it upright in the short term. So that is to me is where I like to start the conversation about lead generation is I do not like the idea that my clients would need to continuously trade their time in order to get the same result right a system as we define it here at Dream Firms is a repeatable process that delivers predictable results where we achieve maximum leverage.
And the problem with most accounting firms is they have no systems as it relates to their lead generation and the closest thing they have to a system is referrals which are great again I do not trust me I love referrals as much as anybody else, but to solely rely and depend upon them comes with a lack of predictability and quite frankly it is a slow way to get to where most people want with relatively aggressive growth goals.
So lead generation to me it starts with identifying who you really want to work with and then what's the most effective and efficient way to get in front of them and deliver a message that gets them to say oh right you're speaking to me that is exactly what I want to make sure my clients are capable of doing, so we start at a foundational level with the lead generation we bring it back to the basics and once we have that “who” the what and the how? They are really not that difficult but they are different in terms of if you want to attract medical companies and doctors you're not going to necessarily go about it the same way when you're talking about construction companies and trade workers there are different ways to speak to those audiences and it is important to understand what those are before we even talk about Facebook ads or google ads or LinkedIn or networking or any of the various tactics that are available to you we have to always just zoom out a little bit first get very specific and then we will achieve efficiency.
Chris: All right, yeah if you do not have your vision your goal of what you want to target in the beginning and you just kind of want everybody, I mean that’s just not going to work and in reaching out to strangers essentially and prospective clients you have to be creative and it is going to take some different touchpoints in order to do this.
It could be a phone call old school way could be an email it could be LinkedIn social media is there any specific way that you find in reaching out let's say we're doing the healthcare industry, Is there any specific way in different industries that you find that work more effectively or it is always a combination of different tactics?
Tyler: Fantastic question Chris and I want to key in on one thing you said, there because there's an old adage in advertising and marketing that gets used a lot and you represented it the correct way, and the way most people think of this is you have to see something seven times before they take action on it so that means if you drive by the same billboard seven times you're going to now call that billboard right.
It is like it does not actually work like that it is seven different touch points and Chris rattled off a couple there right we've got maybe a social media post, we've got a direct message on social media, we've got a we've got a call, we've got an email, we've got all of these different avenues available to us to communicate to start to build trust and that to me is what marketing is, it is the most efficient and effective way to build trust with your audience and when you can do that with creative means and I like to be careful about saying creative because creativity can be manufactured, but a lot of accounting professionals they hear creativity and they tensed up and I go no we can have easy ways of going about this that are again systemized, template, things that allow us to scale quickly and get increased results without requiring you to step outside of your comfort zone too far at least and get the results that you are looking for so you ask the question about medical professionals and what's the most effective way to go about targeting them and working with them and so we do not practice malpractice here just like I hope doctors do not practice malpractice either right.
So I like to make sure when I give advice that it is specific but I like to also make sure that even if you're not looking to target medical companies that the advice I am going to give is going to be applicable for who you are looking to target, so there are really, in my opinion, there's really only two ways that you can successfully grow your company okay or your firm,
You can go one to one as Chris indicated a little bit earlier right you can directly reach out and tap that medical doctor on the shoulder and say hey this is what we do this is, who we are, Can we talk right straightforward and that is fine and I love one to one do not get me wrong I think it is a great way to build relationships but it can be a little bit slower because it is ping ping ping ping however there's another strategy that I absolutely love and I always give credit when possible where it is due and this is straight from Russell Brunson and the ClickFunnels Community, I am a ClickFunnels certified partner, I am the only one dedicated to the accounting industry with the expertise.
We have in ClickFunnels and funnel building so my point is he references something known as dream100 and dream100 is what I am doing with Chris right now just to be perfectly transparent Entigrity has a certain amount of trust in the accounting space they've already facilitated a meaningful relationship they already have an audience and by being able to go and speak to Chris I now have been able to tap into the trust that he's built with Entigrity and what Shawn has built with Entigrity and the whole team there and all their clients they now get to see this they go who's Dream Firms what are they all about and now the odds that you listen to me are higher because we're one to many now so one to one ding ding ding ding ding but now I go one to many I go to someone who already has the audience of the people I want to work with and you can just replace Chris and Entigrity with the go-to marketers for medical professionals, the go-to software company for medical companies, the go to whoever for medical companies and that to me is the most efficient and effective way to grow irrespective of niche but you can do multiple things simultaneously to increase the likelihood that someone does want to host you on their podcast that you can build your own community. So anyway I know that is a long-winded answer Chris but I like to be thorough.
Chris: No, yeah that is spot on! I like it because in order to be successful you lay down the foundation now, you have your target audience as a firm and now you need to attract the right talent. So now you're starting there and now you have the talent in front of you right and so your target in front of you and now you're trying to figure out what to do so there are so many different approaches and I have worked in different industries but I have always done what I do right now in sales and marketing because you have the traditional way of selling you have product base you have a solution based but then you have consultative selling.
And I have tried each one of them but I find that consultative is the best way now in doing this with clients right is how your audience is the person that you've been targeting. Are there ready to rock and roll and interested so what are the next steps? Do you always stick to your bread and butter, do you always kind of be agile and different approaches or should you always stay with a consultative selling approach with everybody?
Tyler: Yeah, I love the question and there are definitely a number of great methods that I think can have different results for different industries as you keyed in right. I mean when you're really in a product space you're going to have a lot of product and you're going to stay focused on the benefits of that product and the consultative side of things I will go back it is really about building the relationship it is being fiercely curious about the individual themselves and their problems and ultimately why they're here in the first place.
What is it that they're not currently getting that they feel they should because the service industry is kind of funny in the sense that you're buying something that is invisible in many respects, yes we can have the websites, we have the funnels, we can have the testimonials, we can have all those things but at the end of the day that person on the other end of the line is trying to understand do I trust you enough to buy from you because you're making a promise that hopefully, you will do what you say you will do when you say you will do it, which to me is the definition of professionalism and I am trying to gauge whether or not that is true and the way in which you can increase your perceived value right?
Value is a super hot topic in accounting rightfully so and when you're looking to increase value remember perception is your reality and so if you can increase your overall perceived value based on how you conduct a consultation and a consultation is literally you're looking to understand that person's situation, give them a tiny bit of guidance that shows them that you can meet your promises right this is the equivalence of like do not give away the farm, a lot of people give away so much free info there's free info seekers but there's a happy middle ground here right and the happy middle ground is make sure that you can show them your stuff and you can draw the line before they become a paying client because just like I said earlier right we do not do marketing malpractice you do not want to do accounting malpractice you can't even give the advice and guidance that someone would need on that initial free consultation because you do not know enough, it is impossible so there is a happy balance here in that sales role where we are building the relationship by being fiercely curious but still being able to give a little bit of information from that consultative approach specific to their situation and then we need to transition into there is so much more we can accomplish and here's how and that how to your point Chris about what is the variance what is the variable or are we really just the variance comes in as if you're listening to what they're saying, you're going to just tweak your presentation a little bit to have a little bit more emphasis on their primary pain point and as long as you do that I am just going to say you've given yourself the best chance possible of being able to convert that person and walk away with a new dream client.
Chris: Yup, exactly! Myself that is the best approach that I do with our clients and everybody's needs are different, I mean staffing is the number one issue we're here to address, but there are still some nuances to it because not everybody just needs a tax preparer and everyone just needs an accountant or a bookkeeper.
They've realized and through our con or our call or our meeting that wait a second I have about two to three hours a day of administrative work that through our conversation that we've come to realize they do not need a technical role they actually need a virtual assistant and admin support and a lot of times this happens and finally because finding the root cause of why they're there and digging in and then we have that aha moment and now rather than looking at the technical role they're looking in a non-technical role and it is exciting because we figured this out together and it is the best part and then we provide them the staff and they're able to start working. When you're working with your clients, where do you see you have that like aha moment come to them where they realize wow this will work or this is going in this direction is definitely going to produce the results I want from my firm?
Tyler: That is a fantastic question and thank you for asking it. I will say that the first eureka moment really happens extremely early right. To me, you can gauge the salt of an investment that you've made with how quickly do you get the aha moment or a big win very early when you're involved with a service company and I emphasize this because when you sign someone up, that is not the time where we relax right that is when we need to prove the power of the promise that we just made so how efficient your onboarding is and all the different things that go into successfully bringing them from okay right-hand shake to let's deliver and meet the promises is mission-critical.
And for us the one thing that I absolutely love as a compliment that we receive regularly is we take our clients from doers to directors and this is the famous book the e-myth is great technicians great at what they do great technical expertise but now we're getting into this realm of hiring, training, sales, marketing, and team management all of these different things and that transition requires that we need to think a little differently first and the way we get our clients to think differently is by breaking it down into five what we refer to as the five pillars of your business and every business, marketing sales, fulfillment sorry delivery operations and finance and understanding how many systems we have operational in these various pillars.
And where is the time being spent by the owner and is it on high-level money-making meaningful activities or are we finding ourselves in the minutia still very important things please do not get me wrong but is it the role of the owner to be in that minutia so we love just getting clear on that super clear on where you are right now and then we look towards the future we go the firm you happen to have today is not your dream firm and we know that because you wouldn't be working with Dream Firms if it was and so we then look forward and we go what's your point B. And what is the systems that we need to get you to your point B and that is the foundation of the eureka moment they go I have never seen it like this. I have never seen my business in this capacity and now that I have seen it I can't unsee it and that to me is the best compliment we can get.
Chris: Yeah, that is awesome! Because when throughout your marketing approaches and they start to build that trust and you meet with them they like you and then they trust you now, they're all in and the sky's the limit and that is the best part and so in working with your clients now so we talked about the lead generation, we talked about the approach, now we got to do the work. So this is where I see and allocate the time because accounts it is like depending where you read 65, 60 to 70 percent of their time is in compliance and customer-client interactions and correspondence and then like that other 30-35% is working in the business and it is you need to switch that around.
So that leads into the whole of effective time management so where do you even start with that I mean you going to have the right staff to have the right approach but now that they got the client, they're meeting with the client now it is time to implement the work kind of where do you direct the client from there?
Tyler: Yeah, so I think there's maybe two parts to this question which is how do we create delegation and leverage for our clients so that we're not the bottleneck in our own business? and How do we also have the appropriate time to be able to work on the business instead of in it? So first and foremost shameless self-promotion we have an awesome program it is igniter it is 67 bucks as of this price might go up but the point is to check that out we have a time mastery training in there and it is literally about how seconds add up into minutes, minutes add up into hours and it is the tiny little things that we may not even really realize.
Tyler: That are just eating a lot of your time and one of the things that I am more than happy to share from time mastery is we run webinars on CPA academy, free CPEs come to check it out we'd love to have you guys, anyone, watching this come pick up what we're putting down.
But one of the questions we ask does you currently use an online scheduling tool and 70 to 80 percent okay of all respondents say no and that blows my mind because the entire profession has a huge emphasis on hourly billing and I am not a huge fan of hourly billing but I understand why we default to that but we can't leverage the tools of the 21st century in the digital age to protect your most precious resource which is your time.
So that is the first part is what are the small things the small systems, not huge things the small things that we can get in a place that will continue to win back your time over and over again, if you win back 20 minutes every week by the end of the year you're going to win back like 30 hours right like you're going to win back like a full work week and sometimes we do not really think about in that capacity so that that is one part of that.
The second part of this is you have to carve out your time so that you can work on your business instead of in it because if you do not set your own expectations you are going to miss them every single time and the way that I like to have people think about this is there are five days in the workweek, okay and everybody's feel familiar with the 80 20 rule, okay what I like to say is there should be one day in the workweek where you are unable to be interrupted this is your day to literally work on your business. I like to say work on your business Wednesdays, today's Wednesday, I am working on my business today, all of our clients are working on their business today, we just block it out no email like no client work it is just we're going to stay focused on building systems.
Another approach is you can choose to take I like to say if you're uncomfortable with that you have to time block at least one to two hours per day and if you can do that and just block everything out get laser-focused on whatever the most important thing that is in front of you you're going to have a lot more success, the other part of the question that you had asked there Shawn is now moving from doer to director, getting more into the delegation side of things and delegation to me is an awesome thing but the only way in which you can successfully delegate is if you document your processes so that someone can meet your expectations the root failure of all disappointment is improperly set and mismanaged and miscommunicated expectations so the same thing is true for your clients as it is for your staff if your clients come in and you did not properly have them understand what they are getting? What is the price? What are the deliverables? How often are they going to be able to meet with you? What frequency can they access your expertise?
Like all of these things well whose fault is it if the client is confused does not understand why their price is getting adjusted they are like what is going on we did not set the expectation and the same thing is true for team members whether it is an outsourced individual whether it is an in-house individual it does not matter if you do not have it clearly understood what you need them to do? And have the visibility to ensure that it is being done to your standards? you're going to be disappointed and you're going to be a bottleneck in your own growth! and the clients do not really care right Chris I mean like as long as the work is done they don't really care to be totally honest as long as it is being done at the firm owner's standards. Why should anyone care right? It does not really make that big of a difference who's doing it as long as it is being done at the level we set the expectation for and that just comes down to clarity at the end of the day.
Chris: Yeah, with the scheduling it is so funny because I myself before we moved to an online scheduling tool. I reflect back and let's take today as an example right a client emails you and says hey could we speak at 12 o'clock today and it is like I got a call you email back I am sorry I can't do 12 o'clock today but I could do 2 o'clock, then the client emails back ooh 2 o'clock I am booked I could do 2:30. you look at your schedule you're like oh 2:30. I can't do that, how about four it is like what the heck just send a link to whatever is available book it.
But I look back and I am like this is something we were doing on a day-to-day basis and then you forget about the email and it is next thing you have three double-booked appointments and so utilizing technology is imperative and then you have to find out too like as the firm owner if they're the go-to person for everything and they know that whether you're a staff associate a director a partner or whatever you're always going to you will never ever have any free time right and so that delegation part and having layers underneath you then this will work so yeah those two points hit me hit would run would be hard because I was like wait I used to do the same thing and then you just it is just silly and but just so many tools out there so you can't be that go-to person and you got to use technology.
Tyler: Exactly, and I have just a small story that I love to tell when we get into this topic of delegation. So one of my father’s really successful clients, his name was Dwayne Gravley and Dwayne has what most people consider to be a dream firm with a really high level of income minimum hours worked and the question was always how right how do you achieve this and I will never forget that one of the stories. My father said there's a sign on Dwayne's door okay to his office and it says Dwayne does nothing and I just love that it is like I do nothing because I have successfully mastered the principles of delegation and leverage at such a high level that I literally do nothing. People ask me what I do? and I say I do nothing! That is life right?
Chris: That is!
Tyler: But it takes time to get there and the only way you get there is with systems and the right team members to support those systems on your behalf.
Chris: Well since we're talking about support teams, offshore staff right, so what are your thoughts about offshore staff and where do you see it going forward now especially since it is becoming more and more widely accepted in the accounting industry?
Tyler: Yeah! So let me say that we have been aware of resourcing for a while we leveraged it inside my own accounting firm although not with Entigrity at the time it is a different company to me it is we live in a global economy just like digital wave transformation has come and is required to adopt and start using green sheets and all those things that come along with that.
The same thing is true for team management and I will also say that it is not for everyone and the reason I will say it is not for everyone is that I always say it is not about us right it is not what I want it is what my dream client wants, and if you find yourself in the middle of PA and your dream client is a hard-working blue-collar person from Pennsylvania the idea that you're outsourcing American jobs is not going to go very well with your prospective dream clients and I always want us to be painfully honest with ourselves and with our clients and if for some reason there would be any hesitation over you being able to really just own that decision then we should hesitate and make sure we explore it have conversations with our clients to see if they'd be comfortable with it.
But to me it is got to be a well-informed decision because it is the future and while it is not always about the lowest price being able to have higher profit margins allows you to do a lot of different things then you couldn't if you were paying three to four hundred percent more for essentially the same output and I think when we really view it from that lens it does become a business decision at the end of the day and that business decision needs to just take a number of factors into consideration, but I think once you really start to weigh them barring a dream client disagreement, it is very hard to turn away from outsourcing and for good reason the people do great work there's incredible management, there's services like Entigrity that do an incredible job of making it as simple as possible to get really high quality people so again I do not think it is as simple as just hey let me hire the first person who pings me off of upwork and I have got outsourcing now trust me it is not that easy but there are ways to be able to access what you're looking for and have all of the headaches essentially removed for you which is effectively what Entigrity offers.
Chris: That is the thing right you said it spot on again, where it needs to be at the top level let's say you have four partners. One partner's all in, the other three are either not all in do not want to hear about it or just kind of feeling out what everyone else is thinking, it won't work it is not for everybody and you said it and it is spot on because if you do not have buy-in it won't trickle down and they'll be seen as the ugly stepchild it won't integrate to the firm and your firm won't reach your five-ten years your check your two-month plan and so if you have buy-in with everybody we're going all-in with this right just like with your services the same thing with us if you have bought and everybody's all in I mean the sky's the limit.
And so yeah you have to make sure that everybody's on the same page you can't just sneak in and associate hey everybody here's Tom from India working for you, that is just not going to work! Let's see here alright so we are winding down. This is some really good information today and so I want to give you the floor for some final thoughts or anything else you want to relate to the audience today.
Tyler: Yeah, first of all, a huge thank you to you Chris again and the entire Entigrity team it is an honor to be on here. I am very much looking forward to having you guys in our proactive accountants Facebook group for any Facebook users out there of course we got a free to join Facebook group, we've got we're inching closer to 4000 members specifically accounting professionals, really high quality groups similar interviews to what you're seeing here through Entigrity and Chris so we'd love to have anyone come join that and in terms of just a summary here, if there's only one thing that you remember from this conversation with Chris please let it be this is that the importance of defining your dream client at a very clear level and this does not mean small business this does not mean two million dollar and up companies right like we have to speak to someone just like Chris and Entigrity are speaking to accountants just like Dream Firms and myself are speaking to accounting professionals this is very important that you speak to someone because if you wake up in five to ten years from now with a business you wish you could fire yourself from it is because you did not understand at a fundamental level who you want to work with.
And that is a really important thing to understand because here's a painful truth that not a lot of people like to hear but I like the truth you will end up spending more time with your clients than you will with your friends and family that might sound depressing but it does not have to be because if you love your clients like I love my clients like Chris and Entigrity love their clients that is not a problem and then on top of that as you master the principles of delegation and leverage that will slowly flip the other way where you'll spend more time with your friends and family than you do with your clients without sacrificing your quality of life.
So with that being said we've got a lot of cool ways you can come hang out with us, free to join the Facebook group, we're on LinkedIn very active, we've got free CPE webinars on CPA academy if you want to check out igniter it is 67 bucks and quite frankly what you get for that is absolutely absurd so yeah I mean I think that is a pretty good summary.
Chris: Yes awesome! The really good conversation today, I really enjoyed having you on here with a lot of synergies and what we do and try to help our clients and so we can easily relate. We'll be working together in the future, again and again, thank you for taking time out and speaking with our audience and for everybody else relax take a breather, digest everything, get ready for the next tax year and we'll be coming back soon with more guests in the near future and everyone have a good rest of the week, Tyler again thank you so much.
Tyler: My pleasure Chris thank you.
Chris: Alright, take care.
Entigrity™ is a trusted offshore staffing partner to over 550+ accountants, CPAs, and tax firms across the US and Canada. Our flexible and transparent hiring model helps firms of all sizes hire staff for accounting, bookkeeping, tax preparation, or any other task for 75% less cost. As a firm 'run by accountants, for the accountants', Entigrity captures the hiring needs of accounting firms most precisely, providing staff that works directly under your control and management, still, you are left with least to worry about compliance, payroll taxes, overheads or any other benefits.