Unprofitable work

According to the 80:20 rule, we are spending 80% of our time looking after the concerns of 20% of our client base. Fine if we get paid for our efforts, but what if we don’t? What if we are busy fools?

Barriers to delivering profitable work

There are quite a few, including that you will have clients that:

  • are not prepared to pay for work with added value – advisory work,
  • don’t appreciate the value of the work you do provide, and
  • always want more for less – they consider your fees a cost not an investment.

To some extent this is a reflection of your willingness to accommodate clients, for example, by answering yet another call that you know you will not be paid for, and the current COVID effect; clients simply do not have the resources to pay for advice.

Strategies to counter this trend

Depressing as it may seem, the best way to deal with a problem is to realise you have a problem in the first place. If you are finding it difficult to expand advisory services – the profitable work – there are a number of strategies you could employ to counter this trend. For example:

Sacking clients

We all have clients that waste our time, don’t appreciate the work we do for them and are constantly seeking to reduce our fees. Surely the obvious solution is sack them…? Wouldn’t this free up time to complete more interesting work with clients who are prepared to pay?

Pro bono

If you have clients, good clients, that really can’t afford to pay for “extras” due to COVID disruption, would it not be sensible to offer a limited pro bone service for a short period of time? As long as you can see that by undertaking the work you can return clients to normality in an acceptable time period. This will sow good seeds in your practice goodwill patch.

The alternative is to stand aside and perhaps see- what may be a potentially valuable client – go to the wall. You will then need to acquire new client(s) to replace these losses, and the cost of acquisition may exceed the short-term cost of any pro-bono support.

Assessing risk

COVID has underlined the need to take a fresh look at your client lists and assess risk. For example:

  • Are they transactional, seeking to minimise activity to reduce fees or relationship biased: can they see the value of advisory services?
  • Are they bad payers, constantly seeking to reduce their accountancy support costs or are they good payers, appreciative of the work you do for them?
  • Are they survivors or will COVID disruption prove to be the end of their business ambitions?

Fee Building the Landmark way

If you are looking for ideas to make a positive impact on your efforts to build a profitable practice, take a look at our Fee Builder service. For a monthly investment of £55, this service will provide you with ideas and resources to implement fee building strategies.

Volunteers required

Are you interested in acquiring new clients but don’t have the time to undertake the processes that will start the acquisition ball rolling?

If the answer is yes, you are interested, read on…

We are looking to prove a point

Case studies prove that the pudding really does taste good. And whilst we can provide professionals with all the resources they may need to make progress with practice development, we cannot implement the ideas for them, at least, not at the price we charge for the marketing resources.

What we would like to do is partner up with a few practices – they can be existing Spotlight or Fee Builder subscribers or practices that have not tried these services as yet – and help them implement a specific marketing plan that will move them closer to new client appointments.

What is involved

You will need to identify a number of local businesses – if possible, in a specific business sector – that you would like to work with. They can be existing prospects or firms that you have never contacted before.

We will then identify, from our library of Fee Builder and Spotlight resources, an approach that you can make to your selected list.

You will need to send an initial email to each selected prospect (we will provide the copy) and follow up your emails after a few days.

Expected outcomes for you

Prospecting for new business is like panning for gold. It is possible to find a nugget as you sift through your first dip into the river, but it is more likely that you will need to repeat this process a few times.

Persistence pays off…

There is every likelihood that our joint efforts will win you new work. That is certainly our intention. But an initial, and incredibly useful outcome, would be that action pays off. Wishing with no action does not.

Expected outcome for Landmark

We would ask your agreement to document our collaboration and use the material as case studies on our website. We need to prove to practitioners that actions really do create results.

Interested?

According to the economists, the UK is on track for growth between 6% and 8% between now and the end of 2022. Although this rate of growth will simply take us back to activity levels not seen since early 2020, if achieved, it will provide opportunities for practices that demonstrate they are willing and capable of supporting businesses during these turbulent times.

Contact me if you are interested: email bob@landmarkpd.co.uk or call my mobile 07879 896073

Post COVID risk

We like to believe that all our clients are worthy individuals who deliver information on time, are hungry and appreciative of our advice, and pay our bill as soon as it’s presented.

So let’s dispense with that myth. Reality is very different to this rose-tinted viewpoint. And COVID has added additional layers to our usual way of assessing risk.

How do we assess risk post COVID?

In our Fee Builder resource pack for July 2021, we offer a new perspective on this issue.

We assert that there are now three flavours to the neopolitan bar that determines risk in the post COVID world. They are:

  • ability and willingness to pay,
  • interested in the value of your services or just want you to prepare and file, and
  • at risk of failure due to continuing COVID disruption.

These three elements provide enough data for you to reconsider which of your clients are high risk, low risk or somewhere in between.

Is a reassessment of client risk necessary?

Without a formal reassessment of risk, you are basically walking into a minefield with no knowledge that you next step may prove to be terminal.

Staff may agree to undertake work for a client without appreciating that their time will never be paid.

Also, practitioners need to take a hard look at the changed reality facing them now that COVID continues to disrupt economic activity.

  • How many dependable clients – based on pre-COVID criteria – have morphed into the high risk grouping?
  • What if the high risk element leave or cease trading?
  • Without a formal assessment, how can you manage these risks?
  • How will these changes affect your practice development?

This risk assessment process could be a useful service to sell to clients

Nothing is wasted in this process of recalibrating risk as the systematic approach we have created can be offered to clients to reassess the risks of their customer base.

Sign up for free access to our July 2021 resources

As a contribution to tackling this issue, we would like to offer you the chance to use our July 2021, Assessment of Risk resources on a complimentary basis. Fee Builder – the service that provides these resources – is low cost and high value. We feel sure that if you take up our offer you will continue to benefit from an ongoing subscription.

Take a look>>

Or email bob@landmarkpd.co.uk for more details.

What is it worth?

We may not say this, at least not openly, but it is a question that demands our attention; what is it worth?

Every time we buy something or consider selling something we are making subjective judgements about the value of an object or a piece of advice.

How do we value?

Perhaps an example will help. If we attend the dentist with raging toothache or our local garage when the car won’t start, we will have less issue with the cost of remedial services IF the outcome is no pain and a car that starts.

Alternatively, when we fill up at the pump or buy new jeans we are not really solving immediate – and critical – problems, we are simply consuming regular stuff.

In the first examples, we are paying for the solution to a problem. The more acute the problem, the less price sensitive we are about the cost. In the second examples we are more inclined to check the price tag.

How do clients value your time and fees?

Perhaps the same principles apply to the delivery of professional services.

Consider Joe Smith, who has delayed and delayed supplying his tax return information and arrives with the necessary material one week before the filing deadline.

Joe now has a problem, and one he is delegating to you to solve. If you remind him that you are working round the clock to file returns – that like his are late in supplying data – and he will have to pay double the going rate to ensure you miss even more sleep to process his return, he may feel aggrieved, but will likely pay your bill otherwise late filing and late payment penalties may apply.

If Joe delivered his paperwork eleven months before the filing deadline, he would be justifiably upset if you tried to charge double the going rate for processing his return. But if you managed to spot opportunities to save Joe tax as part of the return preparation, then he may be open to paying more…

These are over-simplifications, but they do emphasise that it is always beneficial – for you and your clients – to assess the possibility of:

  • solving problems, or
  • creating opportunities

In both cases, the person buying will have a higher number in mind when answering that auto-responder “What is it worth”.

Small steps

When we start out in life, our urge to stand and walk is achieved on a progressive basis. First we stand and wobble, trying to stay balanced, and then take those landmark first steps.

It takes a few years before those initial shaky efforts at two legged progress develop into long walks and running.

The rest of this post discusses this analogy in terms of our ability to market and develop our practices.

Resources v implementation

There is a temptation to be bowled over by the need to acquire the resources to help you sell services to clients or to win over new clients. These might include valuable items such as client facing material on topical issues, material to promote your practice online – including social media – and other marketing deliverables.

The problem is, until you do something with these resources, they will rest unread, untended in your inbox or consigned to a hard-drive for later retrieval.

It has always been our contention that drowning practitioners with resources may create the opportunity for development, but until these resources are put to some use, implementation, the investment will be ineffective.

Chicken v egg conundrum

Recognising this, that resources without implementation are likely to have only marginal impact on practice development, we have created products for practitioners that include implementation support.

For example, our Fee Builder program provides you with alerts to send to clients and prospects that can be rebranded and sent to affected taxpayers with a minimum of effort. Fee Builder Plus also includes a monthly resource pack that leads with how each monthly strategy can be implemented.

In this way, we at Landmark place implementation on a par with acquisition of resources.

Resource to implement

In a final twist to this theme, perhaps the first thing you need to consider as you embark on planning practice development, is to fund and create the human resources that you will need to do the work of implementing the marketing resources you acquire.

We can help. Please email or call if you have an urge to take your first steps on the practice development ladder. We can supply the resources AND the advice to ensure that these resources are implemented.

Call me, Bob Edwards, 07879 896073, or email bob@landmarkpd.co.uk.

Making time when there is no time

As a professional adviser there is no greater frustration than being informed that although the services you provide are excellent, the customer has no time to implement your suggestions.

In the context of Landmark, this is especially relevant as we sell development ideas and strategies to accountants…

The victim approach

As soon as we believe that forces beyond our control are responsible for stuff not happening, do we become victims of those forces or circumstances?

This may be a particularly relevant interpretation of events especially when it concerns time. After all, we either have time or have no time. Or do we?

Practitioners, and I include myself in this context, are plagued by the need to be productive – finish accounts, finish tax returns, deal with staff or deal with HMRC – there is no time when these constant and unremitting pressures reduce to the point where you can honestly say “I have nothing to do”.

However, the sure signs of being hard done by soon become apparent if we cannot make space for a round of golf or time out with the family or time to reflect on the actions we need to take to develop our practices.

It is this last point that intrigues me.

Making time

The opposing point of view is that you are in control of your relationship with time, and further, that if required to you can make time.

Embracing this notion seems at first glance to be counter intuitive. As mentioned above, we either have time or no time. And yet we are in charge of the process. Could it be that believing we have no time is a choice? And if it is a choice, could we choose how we spend our time rather than react to existential pressures, outside influences that determine how we spend our days?

Watching the clock

Next time you find yourself watching the clock to determine the end of yet another frantic day, consider your options to plan the following days differently. Play with the notion that you can create time and see what happens.

You may be presently surprised by your ability to fit in all measure of activity that opens up new business and personal opportunities. After all, now you are in charge of the clock.

The pain – part 2…

In my last post on this topic, I was advised by my dentist that the best advice he could give me to “possibly” cure the pain in my jaw was to remove my wisdom tooth. He offered to do the deed there and then, but with no guarantee of success, and with an aversion to losing teeth, I deferred. Instead, I made an appointment for later this month.

I left the surgery feeling a bit dejected. Had I succumbed to childhood fears or was there a nagging doubt about the advice offered?

Four days later

The toothache, however, was persistent and after a further four days of suffering I decided I needed an independent opinion. The internet provided a possible source and when I called, the receptionist was obliging and fitted me two days later with their senior practitioner.

This was probably the most impactful phone call I have ever made.

The wisdom tooth was fine, what was not fine was the length of the crowned tooth next door, it was too long. This was creating pressure on the jaw.

The new dentist simply filed the crown to even out the bite on the left side of my jaw and within a few days the pain had disappeared.

Bad advice

I cancelled the outstanding appointment with my old dentist and registered with the new practice.

In some respects, I have sympathy for the tooth puller, he did not identify the problem and consequently did not offer an appropriate solution. In fact, had I taken his advice, I would be less one tooth and still in pain.

As advisers, we place our professional relationship with clients on the line every time we offer them advice. Outcomes that please the client cement the ongoing goodwill between us and if we make a mistake, offer bad advice, our client is likely to do what I did and seek a second opinion.

Seek out the problems

I can now chew steak both sides of my mouth and will be eternally grateful to my new dentist for his accurate assessment of my “problem”.

With the economic outlook continuing to be uncertain and business owners struggling to react, even if sales are increasing, it strikes me that there will be a lot of entrepreneurs with “toothache” and that would benefit from a second opinion.

The problem we have, as advisers, is seeking them out…

The pain…

When I first encountered the horror of the dentists’ chair – many years ago – I managed to delay the pulling of teeth by scooting around the surgery in total panic. The stressed tooth-puller eventually relented and agreed to bring his bag of tricks to our home. I have vague memories of being laid out on the dining table.

Yesterday, very much older but not that much wiser, I was not impressed by a conversation with my present dentist who was trying to get me to consent to the removal of a wisdom tooth. You guessed right; I deferred my decision, frantically weighing up the recurring toothache with the discomfort of the pulling process. Needless to say there is not an option this time to activate the home dining table scenario. My wife would not be impressed.

I have settled instead for an appointment later this week with a competitor whose website reveals a much friendlier looking bunch and I have fingers crossed that their “second opinion” will come up with a less daunting solution.

I am not holding my breath…

Why am I sharing this with you?

When we see clients with an acute business or tax problem it is worth considering that they are in pain, every bit as discomforting as toothache.

And, very often, it will take months of effort to remove the source of their anxiety, not five minutes in the dentist’s chair.

Which is why we need to let clients presenting in this way, know that we can appreciate how they must be feeling, and that if a “financial tooth” needs to be removed we should explain the process and likely results taking their feelings into account.

Sometimes, there is no road ahead but a painful one. The best we can do – apart from offer a solution, a treatment – is to offer our support as well as our advice.

Watch this space

I will not leave you in suspense. I will blog the outcome of the wisdom tooth saga.

I am informed by my present dentist that wisdom teeth place a minor role in the chomping process, so no loss there. What I dread, is that my somewhat older attempts to scoot around the surgery, will only delay the inevitable. A lesson I should have learned many years ago.

Beware trading into insolvency

We have reproduced a blog article we wrote for our Online Copy subscribers this week. Readers can copy and paste free of any copyright restrictions. If you would like to signup to receive two article a week take a look at our Online Copy Service here.>>

“The present pandemic has created just the right conditions for certain businesses to trade their way into insolvency.

As we start the gradual withdrawal from lockdown, consumers will be on the lookout to spend after months of enforced home “arrest”. This will likely fuel an increase in economic activity on an unprecedented scale as we bounce-back towards pre-pandemic levels.

But isn’t this good news?

Under normal circumstances, yes, this is great news, but unfortunately, many businesses have needed to spend reserves and borrow in order to survive the last fifteen months of COVID disruption. They are standing on the starting line for a marathon, wearing slippers; unprepared financially for what is about to unwind.

Does your business fit into this category?

  • Cash reserves are limited
  • Losses have stripped away accumulated profits
  • You are obliged to offer better terms of trade to your customers than you receive from your suppliers. i.e., you sell goods on say 60-days credit terms but pay your suppliers for raw materials cash on delivery.

But why does this matter if sales are profitable?

When you sell goods on credit – 60-days in our example – for those 60 days you will have to pay suppliers and other overheads, wages, rent and other costs, before cash arrives in your bank account for sales made almost two months ago.

Ironically, the more successful you are in creating new sales, the more damaging this funding crisis potentially becomes. In accounting speak, you will be over-trading.

Planning is critical

If your business fits the description we have outlined above it is imperative that you plan your business growth. It may still be possible to manage higher sales as long as you organise cash-flow support to fund costs until higher sales, and therefore retained profits, provide you with the resources to self-sustain future growth.

No business owner should have to suffer the financial tragedy of over-trading through lack of planning. Pick up the phone, we can help.”

Less is more

What started as a simple internet order for a replacement printer turned into an inciteful exchange on the value of customer service. I’d like to share this story with practitioners as I believe it will have relevance and value.

The story

I was recommended by my IT adviser to order a replacement printer from Printerland.co.uk.

I found a suitable item and placed my order.

In addition to the usual automated email exchanges I received a call from Jake Cathcart, a Printerland sales manager, who politely asked if I had a minute to review my order.

He then explained that they sold an alternative to the printer I ordered, it was the same cost, but the cost of replacement printer cartridges was approximately 40% lower than my choice; and would I like to change my order?

This exchange resulted in ongoing savings, brilliant, and no compromise on quality, also brilliant.

My reaction

I have to admit that after our call I was flabbergasted. During my many years in business this was the first time a supplier had shown evidence that they were more interested in what was best for me instead of what was (at least initially) best for their business.

I emailed Jake and thanked him for the call and his recommendation. This is what he said in response:

Thanks very much for the feedback Bob, I really appreciate the kind feedback. We do value our approach as we believe a happy end user will be more inclined to return to us and recommend us.

Jake Cathart, Sales Manager, Printerland, 0800 840 1992

He is right. And here I am recommending him to thousands of accountants.

The Learning?

Jake’s words ring true. Translated into words that have relevance for practitioners, happy clients would be more inclined to return for more guidance, and importantly, recommend us if they feel we are acting in their best interests.

My take on this is that we should be on the lookout for opportunities to call our clients with a similar message… Sometimes, as the title of this post infers, less is more.

More thinking outside the box

The source of new clients that comes at least cost is referrals; those sweet moments when your client rings and says that she has recommended you to a friend who needs help setting up a group structure for their ten companies, and could you give them a ring.

Firstly, there is that warm feeling from the realisation that your client felt confident enough in your ability to recommend you followed by the buzz of a new challenge.

Turning this process on its head

Accountants have no monopoly on receiving referrals. Every business can benefit. So why don’t we create a process that clients could adopt to create more referrals from their customers? And what if, in the process of doing this, we created more referrals for our practices?

What would the referrals scheme look like?

The name of the referrals game to to have our business recommended to a new business or consumer, a potential new client. In which case, what process could we create to support clients winning more business?

For example we could suggest:

  • They could offer discounts to present customers that recommend new customers.
  • Include special offer coupons in deliveries that customers can pass on to colleagues or use themselves for future sales thus encouraging cross-sales and referrals.
  • They could enter into formal customer referral programs in which both parties agree to recommend each others’ services to their customer bases.
  • Testimonials are a form of referral. And so, ask customers for testimonials and post them to websites to encourage site visitors to buy.

We have done the work for you

Our Fee Builder Plus service provides a monthly resource pack with ideas and backup to create opportunities to develop your practice. The topic covered by our upload 1 May 2021 is “Supporting clients with referral programs”. We have prepared a short, easy to read pamphlet that you can send to clients to see if they would like to discuss working with you on this process.

The sting in the tail, when you send clients the pamphlet, you can take the opportunity to request referrals for your practice. We have included this in such a way that no-one is going to be offended…

If you take out a subscription to Fee Builder Plus at any time during May 2021 you will automatically have access to these resources. If you miss the 31 May 2021 deadline and are prepared to take out a subscription email bob@landmarkpd.co.uk and he will send you a copy.

TAKE AT LOOK AT WHAT FEE BUILDER OFFERS HERE>>

Thinking outside the box

I am often asked for examples of how our Fee Builder client alerts and monthly marketing material can be used to advantage clients and increase your practice fees. This week I was talking with one of my clients who runs an IT company. Here’s how our conversation developed.

His presented problem

Obviously I am not going to reveal my client’s name, lets call him James. James’ presented problem was how to engage with customers who had been wary – during lockdown – of investing in new IT equipment.

I asked if he’d seen my email – a client alert added to Fee Builder in March – that outlined the new “super-deduction”, 130% of cost written off against profits.

In his favour he had noticed the email but had not had time to read it.

My solution

We discussed the new relief for companies and he asked if I could adapt the alert so he could send one to his customers. He had a list of at least ten major clients that he thought would change their no-buy policy with the new tax-wrapper – 130% write off against taxable profits.

I made the changes he requested, took me perhaps 15 minutes.

James paid my bill

I’m a great believer in invoicing when the benefits for work charged is still fresh in a client’s memory. As a well-known development guru observed many years ago “invoice while the tears of appreciation are streaming down their cheeks”.

Within an hour of having our discussion, revising and resending the alert, my bill was paid.

Now waiting to see if the new tax incentive results in more orders for James. Watch this space for a future update…

Lesson learned – there may be more than one use for an idea

I bet that if you turned your mind to it, you could list a number of your clients that may be able to adopt this strategy to increase their sales. If you have our client alert, open it in Word and edit accordingly. If you have no time to do this email me and I’ll send you a copy of the document prepared for James.

Email:bob@landmarkpd.co.uk.

Changing the conversation

During my calls with practitioners, the discussion often turns to the old chestnut, “My clients just want the basics – accounts and tax work – they have no interest in additional services, and more importantly, they are not prepared to pay the extra costs involved.”.

And the cost is always their primary consideration.

This brings any possibility of offering more beneficial advisory services to a dead stop.

The “old” conversation to secure grudge purchases

The verbal agreement you have probably reached with many clients, who are not open to buying advisory services, is that you will prepare annual accounts and tax returns – full stop. Clients no doubt see this as a “grudge” purchase; something required by government that they have to do.

Unfortunately, this focus on past events, what happened in the last trading or tax year, has little to offer to businesses stretched financially by COVID disruption.

So, how do we change this conversation? How do we explain to clients the value and range of advisory services that you offer and how these services could make a positive contribution to their business and other financial goals?

What would the “new” conversation look like?

How do you meet your clients’ needs if you don’t appreciate what they are?

More importantly, how do you convince clients that your interest is in supporting them rather than ripping them off by providing services they don’t really need?

An appropriate starting point would be a fact-find. Are clients going to object if you give them a call, make it clear that it’s a catch-up call that they won’t be charged for, and simply ask open questions – and make notes…

“How are you?” “Are you managing to survive – Brexit, COVID…”

Once you have a picture of their present circumstances you will be in a much better position to appreciate their problems; and flowing from that, how you may be able to help overcome or minimise the effects of those problems.

To establish value you must establish relevance

If you are going to be effective in increasing the provision of advisory services, you must first convince clients that these additional service are going to help them solve specific problems.

For example, if, after a fact-find, a practitioner identifies an underlying cause of concern (cash-flow, solvency etc.,), and more importantly, a solution to the problem, it would be a rare person that refused to take him up on the offer of support.

Accordingly, if you want to increase advisory work you will have to embark on a process to reveal the need and value of advice required. Simple as that.

What is the first step?

You will need to discuss with your practice colleagues the range of advisory services you would like to promote. For example:

  • Digitising accounting records to meet future MTD demands
  • Improving monthly reports (Xero etc.,) to make them relevant to clients’ needs
  • Quarterly or monthly management accounts preparation and review
  • Tax planning

And so on…

The second step

Identify clients to call. This may involve the preliminary distribution of a request that outlines your willingness to call and catch-up with their current concerns as we start to emerge from lockdown.

And then, make those catch-up calls.

Not every client you approach will be receptive, but they will appreciate that you have called out of concern.

And some will be receptive, and some of those will see the benefit and the value of any advice you offer, and in this way engage with the notion that perhaps you do provide non-grudge services that will be of real value after all.

New clients – start as you mean to go on…

Do you really want to take on clients whose primary request at your first appointment is to save on accountancy costs? Experience has probably indicated that these penny-pinchers usually form the 20% of clients that take up 80% of your time; they want everything for nothing.

Offer regular catch-up calls to see how responsive clients are progressing – unless they buy-into formal, monthly or quarterly reviews – and make the point that from day-one what you offer is advice relevant to their needs and any “compliance” requirements will be accomplished as part of that advice.

Step back from the idea that all you do is prepare historic accounts and tax returns.

How Landmark’s Fee Builder program can help

Fee Builder will provide you with a monthly resource pack and strategy outline to move from compliance to advisory based services. For example, the pack for April 2021 addresses the issues raised directly in this blog post and will provide you with fact sheets and ideas to make those initial first steps.

Take a look>>

If, after reading this post, you have more questions than clarity on what to do next, call me: Bob Edwards 07879 896073, or email and I’ll call you back bob@landmarkpd.co.uk.

Meeting the challenges posed by the need to expand advisory services is perhaps the greatest challenge we face as practitioners. Changing the conversation around this topic is the place to start.

All the very best in your endeavours and stay well.

Bob Edwards – March 2021

It doesn’t get much easier than this

Life raft against blue sky

I am frequently quizzed by harassed practitioners, who can see the value in developing their practices, but have no idea what is involved or if they can fit marketing into their blocked out diaries.

Believe me, I have been there.

When in fulltime practice, I had a portfolio of 250 clients and whatever tasks or to-do lists I created, as soon as I sat at my desk the phone would start ringing and staff would be knocking at my door for help with their tasks.

The idea that I could make time to work on the practice was laudable but impracticable.

In fact, it was towards the end of my time in fulltime practice that I started to make sense of what was possible. Ironically, this led eventually to the formation of LandmarkPD and the gradual evolution of development resources for professional colleagues across the UK.

Parking ideas in your Inbox

In discussion with a practitioner recently, it became clear that he could see the value in the marketing materials we were sending him, but really didn’t have the time to act on them; the messages and attachments stayed in his Inbox.

I then explained that the time required to kick-start our strategy was 15 minutes and that the place to start was our scope and implementation notes.

The silence at the other end of the phone reminder me of the old saying “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink”.

What is involved in promoting your practice?

Let’s be specific. On 1 March 2021, we advised our Fee Builder subscribers that material had been added to their dashboards to help clients as their businesses started the painful process of emerging from lockdown.

All that was required was to send a copy of a pre-written fact sheet, setting out the likely challenges this would create, to all business clients and business prospects. The fact sheet was written in Word format and would take a few minutes to brand and save as a PDF document to email to clients.

We then suggested that firms draw up a list of say ten clients that it was felt would benefit from business planning support, and call them.

This limited activity would achieve the following objectives:

For clients:

  • The easy to read commentary would quickly advise of the challenges they could be facing.
  • Feel that their adviser was watching their back.
  • The reassurance that they could call on you for help.

For your practice:

  • Keeping clients informed and thus building goodwill.
  • Alerting prospects of issues that their present advisers may not be…
  • The opportunity to expand advisory services.

Like to give this a try?

There is great power in action. There is no need to spend hours ruminating on how you could develop your practice when one hours focussed action will produce the results you desire.

The journey out of lockdown offers professionals a unique opportunity to increase cross-sales and win new clients who are less well supported. All it takes is deciding on strategies to promote, and then promoting them.

The good news, for less than £15 a week we can provide you with the strategies – one a month – plus the resources and implementation instructions to achieve this.

Join our Fee Builder program, give it a try. If you sign up in March we will give you access to March and April’s content – no fees to pay until 1 May 2021.

Email me and I’ll explain how you can take advantage of this offer: bob@landmarkpd.co.uk

Best regards and stay well: Bob Edwards FCCA – March 2020

No time for practice development?

It may well be that you have no interest in developing your practice? We doubt this is true. What is more likely is that you don’t have the time…

What would effortless practice development look like?

Ideally, would it be activity that didn’t take you away from chargeable work? Or if your involvement was required, the time commitment was one or two hours a week?

To good to be true?

To achieve these results you would need a plan; a plan that set out the steps you would need to take to achieve a particular development goal, lets say increase referrals or increase utilisation of your payroll services.

Next, you would require client or prospect documentation that explained the benefits of the service or development process you aimed to promote.

And finally, you would need a willing pair of hands – just a few hours a week – to distribute and follow up this material.

Why bother when you are already busy?

Practitioners provide solutions to problems. The usual problems that firms tackle on behalf of clients are demands to comply with legal and taxation filing and payment deadlines.

Unfortunately, the challenges faced by your clients are constantly changing and simply repeating the delivery of compliance services does not solve these emerging issues. The COVID pandemic is a perfect example of a challenge that requires advisers to up their game and engage on a new level. Merely dealing with compliance needs will not hit the spot.

Which is why responding to these new challenges is so important. They inevitably show up as problems for clients and problems are the bread and butter of responsive firms. They provide the magic bullets for you to consider and shoot down these challenges with strategies to solve clients’ anxieties. Stepping into this wider, more relevant problem solving arena will also make it easier to demonstrate the value of work provided and to charge accordingly.

In our opinion it is necessary to make time to respond to these challenges. If you don’t, your competitors will.

We’ll pay for your time

To demonstrate how you could achieve “effortless” results implementing development strategies for your practice, we would like you to consider the following challenge.

We would like to offer you a fifteen minute call and guarantee that you will hang up the phone with one idea to create additional billing for your practice or a solution to solve a current problem you or your clients may have. If we don’t, we’ll pay for 15 minutes of your time. If you do succeed in implementing the idea or strategy, we will offer you a free pass for 60 days to try out our Fee Builder program. In this way you will be able to roll-out a continuous practice regeneration process without making undue demands on your time.

Bob Edwards FCCA – Founder/Director LandmarkPD – February 2021

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