It was the most miserable experience of my professional life.
So bad, in fact, I was ready to call it quits and go back to finding a “day job” in the corporate world.
I’d had generated 75 new leads and referrals from sponsorship at a big convention.
Over the next 6 weeks, I had those 75 phone conversations.
I was feeling great having all of these referrals to talk to!
It felt like I hit the tipping point in my business – it seemed like my revenues were about to roll in and my practice was about to EXPLODE!
But here is what I found…
- None of these referrals were my “ideal” clients
- I was giving away too much on my calls
- They didn’t see the value in what I had to offer
- They were already sucking up a TON of my time before I even started working with them
In the past, I had said “yes” to working with a lot of these types of referrals.
The Turn Around
I wound up with clients that took up the most time, for the least amount of money, that left me questioning myself about my business.
How do you grow your business like this?
It seems like being stuck on a hamster wheel.
So, on this day I took a stand.
After all of these conversations – I walked away with $0 in sales.
It was exasperating.
It almost broke me.
I found I was making a key mistake in attracting the ideal clients and prospects that kept me in the trap of saying “yes” to my less-than-ideal prospects.
Finally making the decision to say “no” to the wrong clients and prospects (albeit scary from a revenue standpoint!) this became the foundation for a career where I’ve been able to find “ideal” clients, become a trusted advisor, and generate millions of dollars in sales and revenue for my clients, myself, full-time employers, and consulting clients.
Stop Helping Everyone
On each of those sales calls, I was feeling optimistic to serve these people coming to the call.
I was excited and eager to help!
About two minutes into each call, I could feel my heart beginning to sink into the pit of my stomach.
Phone call after phone call, I found these prospects were tire kickers, price shoppers and wanting to pick my brain for free.
Here was the reality – each of these phone calls were 30 minutes of my life I would never get back again.
But how do you get out of the cycle of having to talk to these “less than ideal” referrals?
Let’s use the example of the cardiologist vs the general practitioner.
Would you go to seek treatment from your general practitioner if you had a serious heart condition?
No! You would seek out a SPECIALIST.
Finally, there was the big “ah-ha” moment.
Are you operating as a generalist or a specialist in your business?
In my case, I was a generalist – wanting to help everyone. And that’s exactly what I attracted – anyone and everyone!
If you step into being a specialist – people can understand your value for your industry specific knowledge. It also builds in “go-to-authority” status, so the choice to work with you becomes easy and obvious.
But how do you start creating that?
How To Get Ideal Referrals
Here are some simple action steps you can take TODAY to get you started:
- Decide – pick one industry you want to offer your services to. Don’t worry, if it doesn’t work out with the one you chose, just choose another!
- Data – review your current client roster, and see what industry most of them are concentrated in. Your advantage here is that you will have gotten know the specific accounting and bookkeeping problems in that industry through repetition in serving those clients.
- First-hand knowledge – if you have had any former experience working in an industry prior to your business, start there since you have first-hand knowledge of the challenges those companies face in that particular industry. You’ve sat in their seat before, so you understand these prospects and clients on a deeper level.
As painful as it was leaving those 75 referrals behind, it was one of the most impactful decisions I made to say “yes” to ideal clients and serve at a high level those people who don’t suck the life out of my time.
Above all else, this laid the foundation for all of my future success. And it will for yours too.
Take the lessons learned the hard way by yours truly, you most certainly can avoid those mistakes on your next sales call and let’s get going on growing your accounting practice with your IDEAL clients!
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