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
#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.