One of our North American PDA’s recently received the following email from an Alliance member:
“I delivered the tax return along with the additional financial reports from game plan, and briefly explained what was in the report to the general manager who is also one of the owners. As part of our plan for our firm for 2007, I raised the fee for the year end accounting and tax return by 15% and also added $495 to the invoice for the game plan reports. The general manager asked me how much more would it cost for additional copies of the report for the other owners to have for their next meeting. I told him there was no extra charge for additional copies. I left with a check for the total amount. Also it could result in more work after tax season is over. This is one of the game plan files I emailed you. I’ll want to get more ideas from you on this one as I move forward.”
How easy is that? Not every one of your clients will respond in this way but you might like to do the calculations on what the impact would be on your cash flow and profit if 25% of them did!
Most clients love this stuff and the perfect time to raise it is when you are delivering their tax return. Those that are not interested in an analytical review of their business should be de-selected as clients unless you can justify their presence in your book of business for some other very good reason.
One of the things that jumps off the page in David’s feedback is the phrase “…it could result in more work after tax season is over.”
I would love to see that language change to “… it WILL result in more work after tax season is over.” It’s certainly not too late for David to follow this up.
He’d simply do that by contacting the client and saying something like:
“… I’ve been thinking about the conversation we had back in March concerning your 2006 results. I’ve taken a quick look at the profit improvement potential for your business and I think we should get together because my preliminary analysis looks very promising. Would next Wednesday at 11am work for you?”
But the best time of all to get this conversation happening is when your client sees the GamePlan reports in the first instance. That’s when the client is thinking “WOW, that’s pretty neat.”
At that moment in time you can say something like:
“So much for last year . Let’s take a peak at what next year could look like if you were able to make a few minor improvements.”
In other words, switch the conversation from the past to the future—that’s where your clients like to be and frankly, that’s where their head should be. The Profit Improvement Potential screen in GamePlan is perfect for this discussion.
The dialog that naturally occurs when you talk about the 4 Ways to Grow a Business gets your client thinking about the idea that small (and therefore doable) improvements can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line and therefore the value of the business.
Your job is to help your client see that with your guidance all of this is possible and the payoff is significant. At the very least you can expect to get a periodic performance monitoring engagement using our Business Dashboard and occasionally you’ll get a full blown external CFO engagement.
Notice David also mentioned that, in addition to charging an extra $495 for the GP report, he increased his fees by 15% across the board. David has confirmed that he has had virtually no drop off in business. When clients are lost as a result of a rate increase they will almost always be clients you should not have been servicing in the first place.
When you accompany a fee increase with the delivery of additional value (at virtually no incremental cost to you) in the form of a GamePlan report I doubt that you’ll have much negative impact at all. Take a look at your own situation with FirmPlan and calculate what a fee increase of 15-20% would do for your bottom line.