I’ve always believed that a professional CPA has a duty to offer services to his/her clients that have the potential to create value. Clearly not every client will be open to such offers of assistance which is fine, but we must not mistake rejection by some clients to mean all clients are similarly disposed.
When I look back on my career in public practice, the moments that have real meaning are those when a client (or spouse) has thanked me for the work we did to take advantage of the many hidden opportunities in their business. It is so gratifying professionally to know you have had a big impact of another person’s financial wellbeing but more often than not, that will only happen if you sell yourself to your clients and prospects.
Having said that, CPAs (me included) are not known for our selling skills. I think it’s fair to say that most of us didn’t enter this profession with the idea that we’d be salespeople. However, unless our clients and prospects know exactly what we can do for them they will never think to ask for our assistance with anything other than those services they know we offer. To put that another way, if we keep secret what we could do for a client it will remain a secret. This is a lose-lose outcome.
After using the Mutual Commitment Statement (MCS) as an essential element of my sales process I found that I not only “closed” more sales but I also benefited from a steady stream of quality prospects who had been pre-sold on the benefits of working with us. This takes the pressure off the process of selling and enables us to focus our attention on “what’s in it for the client” issues.
If you don’t already know, a Mutual Commitment Statement is a one page document that recites the commitments you and your client are willing to make to ensure the success of an engagement you are about to start.
You can download a free copy of the Principa Mutual Commitment Statement here – if you haven’t yet registered on the Principa site, you’ll be prompted to do that first (it’ll only take a minute, and it’s free). It’s a valuable tool and I’d love to hear about your experiences with it.
Of all the mutual commitments, the last one on the page is the most important. It states: “you (i.e. the client) will consider referring us to at least one other business person who you believe will benefit from the type of work that we do.” It should not be confused with an Engagement Letter or Fixed Price Agreement.
Some people are removing this statement from the MCS because they feel it is too “salesly”. But the reality is, it is the very statement that gives your client the confidence to go forward with you and enjoy the benefits you will help create. Importantly, it gives you an opening to give the client confidence that you expect to get a great outcome.
To understand how to use the Mutual Commitment Statement to maximum advantage, I’ve put together a 20 minute audio presentation on why this tool is so important to the growth of your business.
Click the “Listen Now” button to listen to this presentation online or download a free WMA file now.