As I write this, it's morning here in Australia and I am sitting, having my coffee and I was just responding to a beautiful VIP Client who's been with us for... feels like forever. And so I thought I would jump on and do a blog relating to few things.
Prior to writing this, we've done our annual price rise, which is always a little daunting for bookkeepers – and it kind of should and shouldn't be. Where it gets daunting is that it is a time where we kind of go, we want more money, and our clients don't want to give anyone more money. And often realistically we're saying, I want more money, but I'm not giving you any extra, right?
We're just doing a CPI price rise, which is normal, natural, and needed. But as clients and even as consumers and customers ourselves, we're always going to be wanting to know,
Well, what's in it for me? If you're charging me more, I don't care about CPI. What I care about is, what's in it for me? What's the value I'm getting?
I'm going to connect today's read with how to stack your VALUE, and how the program can help you in this part of our practice, okay? As you are reading this, the program has launched and it's live, but it doesn't mean it's too late to jump in.
If you did not join the program when the doors open on August 1, worry not because the program is evergreen. We have a way to bring you into the program seamlessly, so that you can absolutely start working with me to build your thriving practice, delight your clients, and live your dream on your terms. If you are keen to know how that works, just drop us an email or ask in the The Strategic Bookkeeper's Way Facebook Group.
Because, three things: Number one, the program comes with a MONEY-BACK guarantee. Number two, I do not get you to spend extra time working with me – this is about ON THE JOB application and implementation. And number three, that money-back guarantee, it kicks in after a year but my expectation is to help you get the ROI really early, allowing you to pay for the program as we go along.
So, I'll go back by talking to you about what I was just doing. We've just done our annual price rise, and I'll always say to you that 80% of your clients should definitely just be accepting it and be happy enough with that, and 20% you'll sometimes get pushback and sometimes it's a time where you'll be kind of cleaning things out. Occasionally, a client or two might offboard from us. And that said, we want to retain the clients that we want to retain for sure. Now, even with the 80%, what I would encourage you to do is
find ways so that you can add value, give value,
and remind your VIP clients of the value that they might just not be noticing.
And just to remind you, value is not about features and functions.
VALUE is about benefits and outcomes.
So one of our beautiful VIPs, I just love working with him. I don't get to see him that often anymore because my team takes care of things in the practice, but, eons ago, it was me and I was working with him. As I've said before, our retention has gone from good to great over the years. And when I was building out the program, I looked at what I'm doing and I get to look forensically at the different moving parts that influence RETENTION, as well as find and onboard without price as a priority.
And actually, even though I already knew this, it struck me more that in terms of retention without price as a priority, we set our clients up for that from the very beginning of the customer journey – when they are just prospective clients. The customer journey in depth is something that I go through with you in the program, but it's one of the first things you do, and I'll help you fully understand what I call part one of the customer journey right now.
So, somebody is in the market, you could serve them right through to being in your brand sphere and making an inquiry. That's part one. Part two is after we've onboarded them, and there's actually a roundabout between part one and part two (that's what we call them in Australia, where you're on the road and there's a little fork in the road, almost like you get to a spot where you can go a few different ways).
I call it that because after they onboard, there's a part of the customer journey called BUYER'S REMORSE. And the way that we manage or actually eliminate buyer's remorse at that roundabout or the rest stop... That little rest stop is either going to be somewhere that makes them feel great and amazing and eliminates buyer's remorse, without you knowing it.
This is customer journey for you in your bookkeeping practice. At that rest stop, without you knowing it, they might also possibly feel alone and all these other things, and it's the feelings and the experience at the rest stop that is one of the moving parts that influence retention without price as a priority, that influences relationship. So, from the early days when they first get exposure to your brand, that is how we build out all the different things for the customer, including the ability to retain them without price as a priority.
It starts right at the beginning, and then it continues.
Continuing on with talking about price rise and value and the experience I just had, this particular VIP client, when we sent out the price rise, he had a conversation with us. He was one of the 20% that kind of said, I don't know, can we talk about this?
And so we had a chat about his situation and his situation had changed a little bit. He found that his wife, who's now a mama with a one-year-old, is able to handle the day-to-day bookkeeping. So what we did is we definitely had a conversation, then we pivoted to offering him up one of our DIY bookkeeper support packages and that we charge a really good monthly fee for (and by good monthly fee, I mean that we charge a fee that allows us to run a thriving practice).
So, we charge a fee to service that is viable for us to be highly profitable, while also serving the client in a way that makes them delighted with the outcomes and the benefits they get – which means that we retain them, and also that we can pull the income and lifestyle out that we want and deserve. And so what I want to impress upon you here is that, the fee we charge for that DIY bookkeeper support package is a productized service full of benefits and outcomes, not just features and functions.
And just to connect that to the program for a minute, you do get my entire suite of productized services and how to use them, and we'll help you with outcome billing as well as all the other things, okay? So in this case, we created a DIY bookkeeper support package and had a chat to the client. He said, that sounds really good. And then we sent that via Ignition software. We did our normal conversion process, which you can read about in the book, and did the VIDEO SALES LETTER for him. In the program, I help you create really quickly and easily a three-part video sales letter and stitch it together. I created a video sales letter and stitched it to my static video sales letter, which is a pre-recorded video sales letter that stacks the value of your competitive advantage, using a done-for-you for brochure, of 14 years in the making (conservatively worth $20,000 alone). And then, I add in a little bespoke video that explains the proposal and just in a really lovely way, chats to the client or the prospective client. I also went through the productized service to remind my client of all the value and the benefits.
So exactly what I put in there, you absolutely get full access to and training in the Transformation Program. Going through all of that with the client, reminding him of these benefits and outcomes rather than the features and the functions—
Because, the features and the functions are already offered by every bookkeeper. That doesn't give me a lot of selling points or competitive advantage, but the outcomes and the benefits do.
So I run through them and one of them I tell you about in the book, and that is I offer every one of my VIPs a 90-minute planning session annually. So I said, don't forget, you get your 90-minute annual planning session that is conservatively valued at a thousand dollars.
And so I noticed last night I had a text message from that client and I thought, I'll check it in the morning when I'm at my desk. And I did, and it said,
Hi, Jeannie, I have just signed the DIY proposal, sorry for the delay. Actually, we haven't had a 90-minute strategy session since you visited in December 2021. So yes, we would love to organize that soon to get back on track. We have two staff leaving and looking at employing an apprentice in the next few weeks. Parenthood has been really hard, but is getting more fun as he is growing up. Turns one this week. Thanks, client name
So as you can imagine, I knew that they'd had a child in the last year, and of course I'm interested in that. I love all this stuff. So when I did the video sales letter, I just said at the end, I hope you're enjoying parenthood, because I've been there for so many years and watched everything evolve. But if you look at that text message, he's seen and felt the value, and nobody else is offering that. He's not going to be comparing me to others. The fee we charge for a DIY package, like I said, it's a lot more than most bookkeepers out there would think they could charge. Why is that?
Do we charge for hours here at my bookkeeping practice?
Does a strategic bookkeeper charge for her time? Does she or he charge for hours?
We don't sell hours – a strategic bookkeeper sells outcomes.
The profitability that we all make on a DIY package could be the same as what we made on an end-to-end bookkeeping package. Though, I'm not sure as I'm not in charge of that right now, but I do see the critical drivers of profit and the metrics when we do our virtual CFO process internally.
But what I'm saying is that, that productized service is built for a profitable practice. First, just like putting your oxygen mask on, we can't serve our clients unless we've taken care of ourselves as well. It needs to be a win-win. Stacking the value of that service retained that client, with a productized service that serves us, as well as him. I think that client has probably been with us now for near on a decade. So you can see, our retention is really, really good.
Now, I'd like to talk about key takeaways so that you can think about the action that you are going to take. In terms of that particular client, if I showed you how to do that in the program – if I helped you with that productized service alone – that would actually give you over 60% of the program fee back immediately.
I love to talk real numbers, real return on investment. And remember, this is just an example of the kind of results we're getting overall.
The revenue you would generate from that one client and our beautiful DIY bookkeeper support productized service, and how to make it all work, would be more than 60% of what the program fee is. Which means, if you did that twice, then your return on investment has now exceeded the program fee. And that is the tiniest example that I can give you.
So the key takeaway is, if you're thinking about the program and you're worried about, will I get enough out of it? – that's an example.
And just the other day, I was talking to a bookkeeper and she had been since a little bit on the fence about the program, and it was more of a mindset thing. She said to me, I'm once bitten, twice shy, that she'd done stuff before where she invested money and she'd been let down. And I really gently and politely said, I get it. But we all have had relationships, whether they are romantic or business or otherwise, where we've been hurt, and we have to make a decision as to whether we're going to take that baggage into the new relationship. And a little bit of it is unavoidable, but
life is 5% what happens to us and 95% our attitude to it.
So I then challenged this beautiful bookkeeper just to think for herself and self-assess for herself whether the program was for her, and whether she could leave that baggage behind. Because the other thing I said is just in my bookkeeping practice, I wouldn't proceed with a client that didn't trust me. Occasionally, in my practice, I'll get a prospective client that goes on and on about a bookkeeper who let them down and they kind of say it in a way which says to me, you are guilty until proven innocent. And I don't proceed with those clients because one of our core values is trust. And unless PC is prepared to trust me yet to be the expert, then I don't find the relationship works. So I challenged this beautiful bookkeeper, and she said to me that that was the advice she needed to smash through that limiting belief and have that realization.
And she said, I'm all in. I'm so excited. Let's do this. And we talked about that return on investment. And once again, the brochure alone, getting a return on investment is so easy. What I loved about that conversation is she said to me, I've gone from this fear around the 1% idea that I might not get value to "Oh my God, I get it. What was I thinking? I'm all in." And she said, I don't want to work with you just for one lap around the sun. I want to mentor and a coach and support forever. And I was like, yes! That's what we all need. We need support forever.
So once you've finished your first lap around the sun, don't worry, I'm not going anywhere. I give you ways that we can continue to support you because we all need somebody to support us. The other thing that she said, which I totally resonated with, is that she'd met various bookkeepers and coaches and that kind of thing, but there was really no one that she looked at that was the caliber that she thought was really going to get her there. Whereas when she read my book and my podcast, she resonated so much that she could see I was of a caliber that I could get her there – because I'm a bookkeeper who's been there, done that. So that's a big part of it. I've been there surrounded by people that I knew couldn't get me there. However, I would say that I have proven that I can get you there.
Now, the next key takeaway is the planning session that I talk about in the book. All right? So hopefully, you've read the book. If you haven't, grab a copy. Listen to the audio book. Use the hard cover as a how-to guide that gets really worn in your bag and you write all over it.
And lastly, successful business owners educate themselves regularly. The more I've educated myself the last four years (I have leaned in to give you more and bigger and better, and tested and measured stuff in the program), the more I've become convinced of the value of educating as business owners. So if this blog resonated with you, read it again or listen to the podcast version. And program-wise, everything is designed with an additional piece of tech that makes it audio friendly, as well as giving you the backup videos and resources in a full training portal in an academy.
So that would be my last key takeaway: to educate yourself. Please do use the book and the podcast – and the program is yet another form of education. It's education, assets, implementation, team, and support. If you express interest in the program, you're going to get more information on that. And there is also a podcast on the program, so you can have a listen as well. Go forth and thrive in practice, my friends.