Unwinding Furlough – damage limitation begins

Thus far we have been encouraged by government to take advantage of various grants and loans to support our practice and clients during the COVID lock-down period.

Of most relevance for the majority of clients has been the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), commonly referred to as the furlough scheme.

Last month, Rishi Sunak announced that the CJRS will be closed 31 October 2020.

Too little , too late and withdrawn too soon?

For business owners whose businesses have been severely affected by lock-down the realisation that government funding for their payroll is to be progressively reduced from August 2020, and withdrawn from the end of October is bad news.

Even with the easing of lock-down, businesses will struggle to regain pre-COVID activity levels due to ongoing social distancing restrictions. This will be of particular concern to the hospitality sector.

The reserves of seriously affected businesses may be running low and if losses continue the withdrawal of the furlough scheme may be terminal.

Time for advisers to step up to the plate

The economic consequences of the COVID pandemic are expected to be global and unprecedented. In the UK, we all have clients who have already cashed in their chips, cut their losses and ceased trading. Many others are struggling to make sense of the changing conditions and their options in the coming months.

Key in these concerns will be deciding which furloughed staff can be usefully returned to active duty and those that will need to be laid off or offered part-time working.

When making these decisions employers will need to see how their choices will affect their costs, their ability to regain profitability, prospects for sales, financing and solvency. These concerns are the bread and butter of our profession.

The question is how do practitioners, affected themselves by lock-down restrictions, make time to support clients in a purposeful review of their financial affairs without adding unduly to their clients’ costs?

Unwinding furlough – a possible solution

The resources added to our Fee Builder service for July 2020, may provide a solution. We have created a simple spreadsheet tool, workbook and other materials that you can use to roll-out a program of effective support to affected clients.

Included in the resources are a 10-minute task, a challenge to prove that the process works. All you need to do is make a phone call.

To see if these resources would work for your practice we are offering you free access to Fee Builder for 30 days. We will take all the risks. If you find what we offer does not help you support your clients you can cancel before any subscriptions are taken.

Like to see what’s on offer? Reserve your 30-day free access by completing our online order form here.

Ironically, the devastating consequences of COVID do offer all of us opportunities if we can step back and see what our choices are as we confront the challenges ahead.

From all of us at Landmark, our very best wishes to all readers as we all strive to meet these challenges.

 

Losing clients? Downward pressure on fees?

If there is one result that practitioners desire it is winning a new client. There is nothing quite like the buzz and excitement that new business brings.

At the other end of the scale, there is nothing more depressing than losing a client.

Fall-out from COVID disruption

Many firms we have spoken to in the past few weeks have reported client losses. A number of these client losses are due to lock-down. Government support has proved inadequate and business owners have decided they have had enough and pulled the plug.

There are also a growing number of practices that are receiving requests to reduce their fees. This is doubly concerning. Clients are obviously counting the pennies and if they perceive that what you provide can be obtained at a lower price, they will switch.

There is no mileage in agreeing to these requests to drop fees as you will no doubt find yourself in a downward spiral. Clients will habitually request a fee reduction.

What’s in it for you?

If you crack this nut, if you wrap your services so the perceived value is more than a set of basic tasks, then you will be in much better position to avoid messy fee-reduction conversations with clients. The value wrapper will also make your services more appealing to prospects.

There are no downsides to this process.

What to do?

If the majority of your practice income comes from basic compliance work you may struggle to retain clients or resist requests to reduce fees.

Why is this?

The only way you can justify the fees you charge – perhaps higher fees than your competitors –  is if clients associate the work you do for them with value rather than just price considerations. Value demands its own price and is therefore more resistant to price challenges.

Consequently, the solution, the what to do, is simple. You HAVE to find ways to increase the value of the work you undertake for clients and make sure they appreciate these changes.

Short of ideas? Short of time?

Would you speculate £55 a month if this investment provided you with at least one idea a month to achieve this goal; to start offering services that have more impact, more value?

And what if you could kick-off the process each month by testing out each idea in just 10 minutes?

What have you got to lose? Take a look at our Fee Builder program. You can trial the service for a month and we will take all the risks, no fees to pay for 30 days, you can cancel your participation at any time.

The dinosaurs reputedly became extinct because they didn’t adapt to changing conditions. Don’t join the fossil record, challenges create opportunities. Join our Fee Builder program now to find out how.

 

Urgent v important a 10-Minute solution

If your house is on fire there is no time for considering how to improve your sprinkler system, you need to put out the fire.

Professional advisers have to chose the urgent in preference to the important every day. Practitioners know all too well that with the best of intentions, as soon as you sit to tackle your “important” to-do list, the phone will ring, a worried member of your staff will knock at your door or the post will deliver unexpected challenges from HMRC that will require immediate action.

And there is no let-up in this process. Which begs the question: How can we make time for the “important” tasks?

Bob’s take on this article

You will gain insights on the following points:

    • Distinguish what is important and what is urgent
    • Consider strategies to make time for the important issues
    • How to use our Fee Builder 10-Minute Task to benefit clients and deal with specific “important” opportunities…

Blue-sky days

One solution may be to close up shop for a day, decamp to a remote location where there’s no phone signal and brainstorm those important issues that never see the light of day.

Unfortunately, its one thing to identify what is important, its quite another matter to actually implement the required action as the following day, its back to fire-fighting.

Small steps approach

In a previous post on this blog Small steps can lead to incremental benefits we advocated the idea that it may be possible to break down important tasks and take action one step at a time. This approach has merit. However, you still have to decide which small steps to take…

Try our 10-Minute Task

One solution may be to test specific issues. For example, in July 2020, Our Fee Builder program looks at the opportunities to assist clients with difficult choices: should they continue to employ staff or lay them off as CJRS unwinds and closes 31 October 2020. And importantly, what effect will this have on the future capacity of the business to stay profitable?

To demonstrate that this strategy can be accommodated in your busy schedule we have added a 10-Minute Task to Fee Builder’s implementation check list.

For July, the 10-Minute Task is to chose a relevant client and make one phone call.

The call should open up a useful planning session with the client that could lead to ongoing consultancy work. It will also serve as proof – and a blueprint – to roll-out the process with other clients.

Try out this process with our compliments…

Access current month’s Fee Builder content – no charge

We would like to offer you the opportunity to sample the current month’s Fee Builder ideas on a complimentary basis. To do this all you need to do is complete our online order form. No fees will be charged for 30 days and if you see no value in the service you can cancel before these fall due for payment.

In conclusion

Firefighting will continue to be an inevitable consequence of the work we do. Hopefully, if you take advantage of the low-cost resources that Fee Builder affords you will start to see that you can continue to put out fires without excluding consideration of your sprinkler system.

Small steps can lead to incremental benefits

There is no need to re-invent the wheel. You are best placed to understand your clients’ needs and aspirations. They have chosen you as their adviser so there is no need to change your spots to be recognised.

To continue with the analogy, you could check your tyre pressure from time to time and change your tyres when the tread wears down, but there is no need to change the wheels.

Bob’s take on this article

You will gain insights on the following points:

  • Focus on ideas that will have traction with your clients
  • Implement these ideas without undue demands on your time
  • Using our Fee Builder resources and tools, no need to reinvent the wheel…

How to recognise appropriate change

Time is a limiting factor, it demands that we get on with tasks rather than consider if the tasks can be be eliminated or undertaken in a simpler fashion. For most of us, navel gazing is a luxury we cannot afford; there are simply not enough hours in the day.

COVID-19 has exaggerated these demands as we are now required to socially distance from our clients and work colleagues. And still get the work done…

The key to recognising appropriate change is to eliminate ideas that don’t appeal and concentrate instead on ideas that may have traction with your clients.

For example, we suggested to firms that are part of our Fee Builder Program that they consider “pro-bono” services to assist their clients when the effects of the coronavirus disruption first started to bite.

This was a pretty radical suggestion as most practitioners would not be receptive to the idea of doing something for no reward.

This is what a Fee Builder firm in Kings Lynn reported when they adopted a pro bono approach with clients:

The ideas and strategies that the Landmark Fee Builder program have provided have made me think outside the box. Many are ideas that I would not have thought of in isolation.

For example, we have taken on the notion that at this difficult time it may be prudent to consider limited use of pro-bono services for clients. When we have done this we have had a good response and whilst this does not add to monthly billing it does demonstrate that we are willing to help clients that are adversely affected by the present disruption. Hopefully, this is an investment in the long-term value of practice goodwill.

Simon Dimblebee, Thain Wildbur – June 2020

Finding the time to consider change

If we don’t change and adapt we run the risk that over time more and more of our present routines and strategies will become ineffective and may possibly jeopardise the standards of service that we can offer clients.

Returning to the “wheel” analogy, if you fail to check the tread on your tyres, at some future date you may have a blow-out…

At Landmark, we have developed the Fee Builder program with this in mind. Each month we prepare easy to implement strategies such that our subscribers can quickly identify those that can be of value to clients and those that cannot. Very often it is the small changes that can contribute most to improved clients service.

Access current month’s Fee Builder content – no charge

We would like to offer you the opportunity to sample a few of the current month’s Fee Builder ideas. To do this all you need to do is complete our online order form. No fees will be charged for 30 days and if you see no value in the service you can cancel before these fall due for payment.

 

 

How will clients recover?

The following statement poses a question many or most of your clients and business prospects will be asking themselves, in short:

How on earth are we going to recover from the present coronavirus disruption?

You could probably divide your client list three ways, those that have:

  1. Fared better or marked time during the lock-down period.
  2. Managed to reduce the scale of their activity and maintain solvency.
  3. Had to mothball or close down their businesses or struggle-on.

Many in all groups may have received government grants or availed themselves of cheap loan opportunities. Grants are income, but the loans need to be paid back. Add to this the economic damage the lock-down process has created and its not difficult to see that the road back to pre-March trading conditions will be difficult to navigate.

Accountants are in a unique position

Accountants are in a unique position to help their clients plan and monitor this transition back to pre-COVID activity levels. If this is not possible in the short-term, then strategies will need to be implemented to maintain solvency, avoid losses and nurse cash resources. If this is not possible clients may need to be supported while their businesses are sold or liquidated.

There is an urgent need to reach out to clients and offer to help, to assist in creating an appropriate road map to recovery or closure. Sign up for our Fee Builder program for complimentary resources to do this.

Resources you may need

You will already have a pretty good idea which clients will need your help and these should be contacted asap. If you are unsure, survey your client base. We suggest:

  1. Client survey – send a short questionnaire and covering email/letter to gauge the level of support clients need, and
  2. Client survey follow up – based on the replies to your questionnaire, a comprehensive response document that suggests how you can be of help and what clients need to do to set the ball rolling.
  3. Kick Start Fee Guarantee – a strategy you may like to consider, if you are concerned with losing clients, is to have a strategy in place to minimise those losses. For example, you could offer a no price increase for two years and monthly billing – set at a negotiated rate to cover all the issues you have identified – and use this process to lock-in client engagement.
  4. Update your website – the survey and response material could be adapted to work from your website. This would simplify the administration.

Concerned that you won’t have time to do this?

Homeworking, disrupted communications, keeping an eye on staff and filing deadlines, all of these and many more issues will be taking up your time. With this in mind we have created the documents and briefs to make the changes to your website and/or make appropriate approaches to clients.

Take up a 30-day free trial to our Fee Builder program and we will send you complimentary copies of everything you will need to:

  • Identify clients’ needs.
  • Collaborate with clients to create a support program.
  • And as a result, lock-in client engagement.

A classic win-win outcome.

Read more about the Fee Builder program here or sign-up for your 30-day free trial.

 

Bob Edwards and the team at LandmarkPD. 10 June 2020.

Government Loan Scheme update 3 April 2020

The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme was updated today, 3 April 2020.

The following update was featured as a Weekly Client Alert as part of our Fee Builder initiative. 

FEE BUILDER – Weekly Client Alert 3 April 2020

TITLE: The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) has been changed

Pressure from business groups and the press for the Chancellor to make his CBILS more readily available to affected UK businesses seems to have been heard. At 12.15am this morning (3 April 2020) various changes in the existing offering were announced together with an extension of the scheme to larger companies previously excluded.

A summary of the changes are set out below:

  • Banks are reported to be offering small businesses that meet their existing lending criteria overdraft and loans outside the CBILS loan arrangements. Banks are now instructed to offer all businesses – even those who qualify for regular bank loans and overdrafts – a CBILS arrangement. This means that banks are banned from requesting personal guarantees from lenders for loans under £250,000.
  • For loans over £250,000 personal guarantees will be limited to 20% of any amount outstanding on the CBILS lending after any other amounts have been recovered from business assets.
  • The above two changes will apply to CBILS loans already obtained prior to the 3 April announcement.
  • Government has also requested that applications are dealt with quickly.
  • A new Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) is to be made available to enable banks to make loans under the scheme of up to £25m (the present limit for the smaller scheme is £5m). This will allow firms with an annual turnover of between £45m and £500m access to the 80% government guarantee.
  • Government is actively requesting that banks keep interest rates to “a reasonable level”. After all, base rates are at a record low…

 

Readers are reminded that banks will no doubt continue to require updated accounts and management information to support a CBILS application. If you are considering a loan please contact us so that we can help you draw together the information required.

Register as a member of our Fee Builder initiative for more resources

If you would find this content useful please feel free to use in your practice updates for clients.

To register as a member of our Fee Builder initiative please complete a registration form here. No fees to pay until May 2020 and you will receive a complimentary copy of all the other Fee Builder support documents for April 2020.

Coronavirus – managing business disruption

Your business clients will be concerned by the recent publicity given to the Coronavirus outbreak and whilst you will not want to offer an opinion on medical matters, clients will appreciate reassurance that the effects of the virus and businesses disruption can be minimised.

We have created a short client alert on this topic that covers:

    • What if your employees contract the virus?
    • Home working
    • Sub-contractors
    • Supply lines
    • Business planning
    • Help from the government
    • How we (your firm) can help

The document is Word format and is supplied without any copyright restrictions – you can edit to add amend or delete our copy.

We recommend that you send this out to your client base asap.

To acquire a copy of this alert you have three options

  1. If you are an existing Landmark Fee Builder subscriber you will be sent a copy as part of your subscription – no further action required.
  2. If you are not a Fee Builder subscriber take out a trial now – three months Fee Builder copy (February to April 2020), free client alerts, no fees payable until May 2020. Sign up and we will send you the Corona virus alert together with Fee Builder ideas released February and March. More details of March offer>>
  3. If you just want the alert, you can acquire a copy here >>

As the situation changes we will consider further alerts on this topic.

You can’t move forwards while looking backwards

There is a well-worn cliche asserting that it’s folly to keep on doing the same, failing actions whilst expecting a different outcome.

Many accountancy firms are caught in this dynamic: they cannot get past the notion that clients won’t pay for advisory services so they plug away at delivering compliance services and struggle to maintain profitability as leaner – perhaps less qualified – individuals offer the same filing and smiling routine for less money.

And let’s be clear, clients will not buy non-compliance services from you unless they can be convinced that the value they attach to the work is greater than the £ cost of you delivering that service.

Therefore, the logical question we need to grapple with is how do we communicate value?

What comes first?

Logically, you need to create and offer a range of services that stand a chance of appealing to your client base. For each “valued” service – non-compliance activity –  you offer, you will also need a strategy that convinces clients to part with their hard-won cash-flow; that the value they can expect is more than the investment they are required to make.

Fee Building 2020

One way to tackle this issue is to consider the problems that we are all subject to and then create services that deal with those specific problems. For example, Brexit and the Coronavirus will conspire to damp-down demand for goods and services. Restaurants are already losing bookings and a reluctance to travel is likely to hit the travel industry and airlines.

Landmark is tackling this issue in 2020 as part of its Fee Builder initiative.

Our founder, Bob Edwards, is channelling all his ideas for fee development through this service. Subscribers receive one idea a month that they can consider taking on as a new slant on an existing service or a brand new income stream.

As part of each month’s output, we will be highlighting the problems and issues that our “idea” tackles and how to communicate the value when offering the service to clients.

We will also be including draft emails that communicate these issues: problems addressed, the solutions and value.

Time to fix your attention ahead and try out new ideas

Fee Builder is reasonably priced – just £55 plus VAT per month – no long-term lock-ins and you can cancel at any time. Give it a try, the first month’s copy is free. 

You don’t learn to swim by diving in at the deep end

Life raft against blue sky

This year I am going to channel all my practice development ideas through one service: Fee Builder. You may have seen a few email promoting this service?

Each month, commencing February 2020, I will be sending subscribers the outline of a strategy to re-engineer an existing service or create a new income stream for their practice.

What you don’t know that you don’t know

When I was in full-time practice the major limiting factor to expanding my firm was time. The day was taken up with service delivery: calls from clients, HMRC and dealing with staff queries. Add to this ever growing call lists and an expanding Inbox and there was very little time to sit back and ask a very simple question – what am I missing…

Fee Builder is designed to bridge this gap. It may open new doors: ideas that will improve the service you offer clients and counter the downward pressure on fees as basic compliance work is taken on by less qualified individuals and ever-invasive accounts software.

But I don’t have time to implement new ideas

When accountants offer this as an explanation for not getting involved in trying out new ideas, I always point out that trying out new ideas does not need to be a complicated and time consuming affair. All you need to do is read the Fee Builder idea of the month and make a list of five clients who are most likely to benefit from the presented service. Contact those five, using the copy in your Fee Builder pack, should take you no more than ten minutes. Make time for a follow up call and see if you can meet with the client to explore the benefits.

My guess is you should get at least one take-up from this process for very little time input on your part.

If the service is well received by your client, ask for a testimonial, and only then, consider rolling out the idea to a wider audience.

Fee Builder is only costing you £55 a month and so this “sampling” process should reveal those service improvement that may have traction with your clients, and more than recover your monthly investment in Fee Builder.

Stand out from the crowd

In future years, doing what you have always done, and expecting increasing returns from this activity, is unlikely to be a winning strategy.

If you want to stand out from the crowd you need to be offering something that your competitors do not offer or offer something that your competitors do offer, but deliver the service in a more valued way.

Using the simple “sampling” approach set out above it should be possible to identify winning strategies for your clients without undue pressure on your time.

Sign up for Fee Builder now.

Don’t jump in at the deep end and become discouraged. Use the “sampling” approach and gradually increase the range and value of your practice services.

Sage advice for practitioners

Sage advice from Capital Allowance Review Service for professionals advising clients on commercial property acquisitions. Here’s what they said in a recent news article:

We are aware that, due to its complexity, correct capital allowance advice in commercial property transactions is not always given.  Many commercial property owners have not claimed their full entitlement of capital allowances making it very difficult to satisfy legislation. This means businesses with commercial property interest simply miss a substantial tax saving.

Failure to address capital allowances when buying commercial property can result in a significant amount of capital allowances being lost forever.
As a purchaser, steps must be in place before you buy the property.  If a seller has failed to claim capital allowances that they were entitled to, it’s important the Sales Agreement states the intention to pool its expenditure and transfer Capital Allowances via a Section 198 Election.

When a property changed hands before April 2014, there was no requirement for Sellers and Purchasers to agree on a single disposal/acquisition value for ‘Property Embedded Fixtures and Fitting’s‘ (PEFFs) within the overall sales price.
What’s more, there was no time limit on when, if ever, PEFFs are highlighted, however, this has now changed for transactions post-April 2014.

It is important to understand these rules and how they affect the entitlement to Capital Allowances for PEFFs.

We offer new legislation support to all property advisors and those with commercial property interests and encourage you to make the most of new opportunities.

Could you or your clients be affected?

Whether your clients are buying or selling, with the right advice pre-completion, a valid S198 Election can be completed post-completion, ensuring their advice is protected and your client’s wishes are secured.

If your clients are buying or selling commercial property and require legislation support, please get in touch.

Are you making progress?

Walking an escalator in both direction

The lifeblood of any practice are those moments when new business is secured: when you win new clients or when existing clients buy new services from you.

I have built three practices from a standing start and sold two of them, so I don’t just speak from a text-book appreciation of the joy that these moments afford. Unfortunately, practice development is a remorseless activity. It’s like walking up a down escalator, if you stand still you actually go backwards.

I’d like to make a contribution to your upward journey, winning new business, by concentrating on cross-sales to clients and converting those prospect lists into fee paying clients.

Cross-selling to existing clients

If clients knew the full range of services on offer from your practice, when problems occurred they would be be able to figure out what to ask for. This is an unrealistic expectation. In life, we tend to look for solutions after problems rear their knotty heads, not before.

Cross-selling additional fees has to be the low-hanging fruit of practice fee development. You have acquired the client, won their trust and now have the opportunity to expand the range of services you can offer.

Unfortunately, this requires action on your part.

Winning new clients

This is the harder task. Even when you are referred, this process demands that you “sell” the benefits and features of working with your practice.

And this requires even more action on your part.

Where to start – an invitation

Although every job undertaken for clients requires that you accommodate their unique circumstances there is an underlying pattern to the activities required to achieve the desired result: fee growth.

I don’t profess to have all the answers but I do have enough of the answers to provide you with a framework out of which you could achieve a satisfactory increase in client “foot-fall”, cross-sales, and new client acquisitions.

We all need a plan – a road-map

Knowing that there is mileage in increasing sales to clients or taking on new clients is not enough; you will need to devise a plan of action, and then most importantly, do it.

I have created a Fee Builder process that will enable you to tackle these issues in a structured way and achieve fee growth. In my experience, there is a direct correlation between action and results.

Please take a look.

Best regards,

Bob Edwards – Founder director Landmark

Are you vulnerable to MLR challenges?

David winch, one of the leading voices in the interpretation of the ever expanding Money Laundering Regulations, was recently quoted on the Accounting Web regarding action taken against defaulting firms who may not have appreciated the extent of the 2017 changes. He said:

 “Accountants have been focused, very sensibly, on MTD and other developments, and may have regarded MLR 2017 as simply MLR 2007 with a slight change of name. There’s some truth in that. But one innovation introduced by MLR 2017 was the hierarchy of risk assessments,” Winch told AccountingWEB.

“The idea is that the government (HM Treasury and the Home Office) produces a UK risk assessment for MLR, then the supervisory bodies use that to produce a risk assessment focused on their sector, then each firm produces a risk assessment focused on the type of work, type of clients, business sectors, geography, their methods of dealing with the clients that they deal with and then in relation to each client there is an MLR risk assessment.

“So, for instance, if the firm has a niche of dealing with, say, pubs and retailers, or deals with clients online rather than face-to-face, that will be reflected in the firm-wide risk assessment.

“Some firms have missed out that firm-wide risk assessment – which is now required by Reg 18 MLR 2017. And that was one of the failures highlighted by HMRC.”

Winch also flagged that the £519 penalty recently charged to a defaulting practice, may seem modest, but lurking beneath this would likely be further financial and reputation damage.

“The hassle of dealing with this sort of investigation and disciplinary process from HMRC or the institutes must be considerable,” he added. “This is grief which none of us needs!”

The full A-Web article can be viewed here.

Risk assessment support

David’s support regarding the preparation of practice wide MLR risk assessments is available via his company MLRO Support Ltd. Email bob@mlrosupport.co.uk if you would like to discuss this in more detail.

Staff training

Another area that may not be receiving the attention required by legislation is staff and sub-contractor training.

David has collaborated with Giles Mooney of PTP Training to create an affordable, online training process for all staff, sub-contractors and partners. This is a simple and accessible solution to this area of MLR regulation. Details of features and costs are available here. 

 

Why Invest in An Accountancy Franchise?

This post has been provided by Bracey’s Accountants who are developing an accountancy franchise in the UK.

Firstly, let’s talk numbers, we are accountants after all. Over half of all UK franchises achieve turnover in excess of £250,000. 97% of the franchisees surveyed were profitable. So, we’ve got some solid foundations for success. If you’re ambitious, motivated and keen to run your own accountancy practice, this article will give you the inside scoop.

Primary reasons

You can be up and running quickly. It can take years to set up a successful business with setbacks along the way – you can short cut those – rather painful – lessons and set up with ease. Also, your earning potential isn’t limited by the usual costs and pitfalls associated with starting a firm from scratch. Oh, and a key thing to mention here, you’ve got the appetite, stamina and determination. Irrespective of cost savings, you need the right attitude to run a successful franchise.

Specific pre-launch benefits

Whilst we can’t speak about every accountancy franchise available, we know that at Bracey’s Accountants, you’ll receive

  • Support systems such as website, software, regulation-complaint procedures and manuals
  • Exclusive territory.
  • Branding, logos, merchandise.
  • Email address set up and working with support.
  • Fully optimised website driving leads to your inbox.
  • Xero Gold status immediately.
  • Training and support

On-going benefits

Yes, you’ll be set up for success, but we know that doesn’t mean the challenges are over. You are running your own firm after all. Having worked closely with our franchisees, we know what you need in place to continue to be successful. This includes:

  • Speaking with colleagues who have been through the start-up franchise process.
  • Access to marketing and PR advice from a proven and specialist external agency.
  • The experience and in-house team for pitching to large clients who would be inaccessible to an independent one-man band.
  • Ability to offer specialist services to your clients.
  • Support with meeting client deadlines when you’re busy.
  • Help to keep your business running in an emergency.
  • Constant review of all procedures to keep up with regulatory changes. You don’t have to worry about finding the solution, we do the research, design a system and test it for you.

If you’d like to know more about franchising at Bracey’s, visit www.braceys-franchise.co.uk or contact our Franchise Manager on 01462 413249

More referrals

When you first start building your professional practice you will naturally gravitate to known acquaintances to spread the word that you are on the look-out for new clients.

Over time, this band of willing referrers will diminish – they will run-out of contacts of their own to refer. Which means you will need to  search further afield and seek referrals from your client base.

What is the major benefit of a referral?

The major benefit in a referral is that the person referring you has completed most of the sales process for you. The referred prospect comes to you with the expectation that you can do a good job.

This is a clear and obvious reason for making the most of this source of new clients.

Why do businesses seek out new advisers?

Ordinarily, we have to work hard to convince a business prospect to take up our services. They will need to feel that there is a perceived benefit in the move. Classically, most businesses seek out a new adviser for two reasons:

    • They feel they paying too much, and/or
    • They are not getting the help and support they need.

There are good arguments to rebut the first reason – they are paying too much – usually, when you drill down, its not the cost that is the problem, it’s that the value ascribed to professional work provided that does not match up to the cost.

What motivates clients and others to refer your practice?

If you read a book on Amazon, you can only write a testimonial/review based on your appreciation of that single publication. If it’s a good review, this will encourage others to buy.

In similar vein, if the only service you provide a client is say payroll management this is the only service they can objectively recommend. If you do a good job, they are likely to spread the word. But what about other services that you offer?

There are occasions when a friendly comment “you should go and see my accountant, she does a really good job on my payroll” will be enough to inspire the prospect to give you a call; even if the service that they require is unrelated to payroll.

But how much better would it be if your referring client knew that you could offer additional services?

Educate your clients, they are your most effective business ambassadors

One way to inform clients about your other services is to have systematic cross-sales campaigns. Advise them of the range of services you offer, even if they do not want the services themselves they will then be aware that you do provide that advice; and if approached by a friend with an issue that would benefit from that service, they can jump in with a targeted response “my accountant does that…”.

Take a look at the Landmark Fee Builder program

If you want to extend and expand the range and number of referrals for your practice, extend and expand the number of services you offer clients.

If you want a ready-made cross-sales solution, our Fee Builder program has a number of service options that you can consider for your practice, and associated marketing documentation to send to clients. Take a look> 

Improving prospect conversions

If you want a particular business or individual to be a client of your firm one way to achieve your goal is to give the prospect an experience of what it is like being a client of your practice.

Most practitioners simply add a prospect to their mailing list and send them a periodic newsletter update. Whilst this is one, low-cost strategy to keep in touch, you may need to invest more time if you want to speed-up your conversions.

Ranking your prospects

In much the same way that you could categorise clients: as A, B, C, D etc, it is worth considering the same process for prospects.

You could also select valued services, those that are not pure compliance activity, and tag prospects accordingly.

For example, if you supply a business fitness solution you could send prospects – that you feel could benefit from this sort of service – information about the service and how this might be of use to their business.

We would suggest that you rank your prospects on the basis of desirability: make your A category those that you most want to sign up, and those that you invest time in converting.

Prospecting is like fishing

The bait that will likely “hook” your prospect is if your presented service resonates in some way; if it solves a problem or helps to achieve a goal. Essentially, it will distinguish your practice from their present adviser, that is NOT offering the advice.

Take a look at the Landmark Fee Builder program

No need to scratch your head, conceiving services that you could promote to prospects. We have created a comprehensive range of services and the documentation and resources that enable cross-sales and wider, prospect conversion strategies.

Our Fee Builder program has a number of service options that you can consider for your practice, and associated marketing documentation to send to prospects. Take a look>