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The Boomer Bulletin - 2013
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Get Your Team to Increase Revenues Today!

Posted By Eric Hunt, Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Partners in CPA firms often express to me that they wish their teams would help drive revenue more.  Many firms rely on one or two rainmakers or partners to bring in the majority of clients.  A major problem for these firms is that the staff sees this as normal and expects it to always be this way.  Firm management needs to work with the staff to help change the thinking and the process of revenue generation to include everyone.  There are a number of steps that can be taken to increase staff participation, but I believe the following steps are a great way to start!

#1 - Set the Expectations

Let’s get this out of the way to start, not everyone in your firm is going to be a rainmaker!  It takes years of building relationships, the right attitude and training to become one.  With that said, EVERYONE should be expected to do their part in generating revenue.  I recommend that firms start this conversation by setting new expectations among their teams.  Simply put, firm management needs to communicate what they expect to see from their staff.  This may be a certain number of client and prospect touches (calls, emails, face-to-face meetings), a dollar amount generated, or # of new clients brought to the firm.  Set the expectations during reviews and communicate on a regular basis on those specific expectations.

#2 - Teach the Basics

Setting expectations is a great first step, but firms will see little progress if they don’t equip their teams with the basics.  Firms must build a foundation for success by teaching their teams two things.  First, every staff member must know all of the available services that the firm can provide.  This is essential; otherwise, your staff won’t be confident in communicating their value.  Provide your staff with a deep training of the firm’s service offerings and the reasons why companies should use them.  This seems simple, but often times staff members get locked into their specialty and don’t search out their clients’ needs in other areas.  For example, your tax team needs to be able to understand your audit services or client accounting services and how they tie into the total firm offering. 

Second, have your rainmakers or best business developers give your team some guidance on questions they should have ready when on engagements or talking with prospects.  These questions come naturally to rainmakers, but not to the general staff.  Some examples would be:
  • What is something giving your heartburn right now about your company?
  • What opportunities would your company like to pursue in the next year?
  • Are there things that you are doing right now that you would like to delegate to others?

These are open-ended questions that are geared at getting your clients to open up about their companies.  Train your team to listen for response and then offer firm solutions when appropriate.  The great thing about this is that it is more conversational and less "yes or no” type situations. 

#3 -  Celebrate Success

Once you set expectations and teach your team, let them go to work and hold them accountable.  Be sure to celebrate wins, big or small.  This builds the team’s confidence as well as changing the culture.  I tell firms to celebrate in front of others, so the good feelings can spread.  Another great trick is to make sure to make mention of effort even if the results don’t end in revenue.  If your team member asks the right questions and offers your service, but it ends in a no…celebrate it!  They followed through on the expectations and training.  If they continue, they will eventually hear a yes and that is how it starts!  Don’t be afraid to celebrate a big win in a big way.  If someone brought in their first big account to the firm, you should make a big deal out of it!  Give them the day off, give them a bonus, give them a night out to dinner, whatever you feel they would like…just do something and let the whole team see it!  Celebrating success is a sure-fire way to get your team motivated!

#4 - Lather, Rinse, Repeat

These steps get you moving, but I recommend continuing to raise expectations, increase training and celebrate with your team.  This isn’t something you can do once or twice and hope it sticks.  Keep working with your team and you will see the results you want.  Don’t let revenue generation fall in the hands of the few.  

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