Deeper Weekend 2014

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    Jason Blumer
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    Jennifer Blumer
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    Scott Kregel
Jason BlumerOne main job of a firm leader is to be a salesperson. This is at the heart of the main thing we do. And it’s important to build your firm so that you can devote time to this important function. I’ve tried to delegate this role to others in my firm, and it hasn’t worked yet. I find it is one of the most difficult roles to delegate for a few reasons:


1. Selling services is really selling philosophies.
The person you may try to delegate selling to has to buy into your firm philosophies more than any other thing. I’ll use value pricing as an example. When value pricing, selling is decidedly not about trying to win every customer. In fact, when selling under the philosophy of value pricing, you should be seeking a healthy balance of proposals won vs. proposals lost (our firm goes from 50%/50% to 60%/40%, but it depends). In essence, you are selling philosophies to a potential client. This is called alignment. Some are aligned, and some are not. If you delegate the role of sales to someone that has not bought into your philosophy of service (or worse, has their own idea of what the philosophy should be), then they will be bringing clients into your firm that are not aligned with what you believe. This will be disastrous for your growth, and for the team that seeks to serve these non-aligned clients.


2. Owners are the ones who can promise outcomes to clients.
Selling is about promising things to clients, them believing in what you promised, and then paying you for the delivery of those promises. Are you making promises to your clients? Most firm owners do not make promises. I know I struggle to come out and state how my customers will be transformed by working with me, but I must! That is how you sell. If you don’t make bold promises, clients can’t believe in you, and will fail to pay you for the privilege of working with you. To that end, people you have delegated the sales process to can’t typically make the bold promises you can make as the owner. If there is a time when your sales person is asking you, “hey, the potential clients wants __________ – can we do that?” then you know there is a knowledge gap in what the sales person feels comfortable promising to the client, and what the firm can deliver.


3. Selling is an intimate function in a firm.
If you are continuing to raise your prices because your value continues to increase, which is what I hope you are doing, then you are seeing clients go away because your price is too high. I believe in reaching a good balance between clients won/lost on price. But this activity will really play with your mind. You find selling is so intimate when you start losing clients because you priced your services so high. These kinds of behaviors force you to deal with what your value is, because the potential client you are pitching to will ask, “why are you so much higher than everyone else?” You will have to answer that question. And you will have to deal with the reality that some clients will believe you, and some will not. The selling function is deeply intimate, emotional, and often scary. Because of this, it is hard to delegate these activities to a non-owner that feels no pain when they lose proposals on price.


I love some of Joe Polish‘s ideas on selling and marketing in this YouTube video:




Here are 5 questions to glean some takeaways from our discussion on selling:


1. Are you making promises in your selling?


2. Is someone else doing the selling for your firm, and what might the ramifications be of that delegation?


3. What is the largest dollar amount you have sold to a client in the past year? Is that amount higher than the previous year?


4. How can you leverage the intimacy of selling to increase the perception of your value to your potential customers?


5. What new things, ideas, and opportunities would you have to sell to a client in order to double your price tomorrow?

Jason is the Founder of Thriveal and the Chief Innovative Officer of his CPA firm, Blumer & Associates. He is the co-host of the Thrivecast and The Businessology Show and speaks and writes frequently for CPAs and creatives, his firm’s chosen niche. Jason loves to watch documentaries on just about anything. He lives in Greenville, SC with his wife and their three children. Stay connected with Jason by signing up at
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  • On 03-23-2015 at 3:28 pm, Michael Wall said:

    Sales is that one thing as business owners we would rather not have to do, but it’s important that we always be involved with in some way shape or form. Well written Jason.

  • On 03-23-2015 at 11:37 pm, Philip Campbell said:

    Great “hand-crafted” wisdom from the trenches Jason. Love it. Selling ain’t easy!

  • On 03-24-2015 at 1:26 pm, Kevin McCoy said:

    If you’ve “sold” your team on your vision/philosophy shouldn’t they be able to sell it to prospects if that internal alignment exists?

    • Jennifer Blumer

      On 03-26-2015 at 2:04 pm, Jennifer Blumer said:

      I can’t speak for our team, or even Jason, but I can share our experience. And while I think that technically these pieces can be delegated, it is INCREDIBLY hard to do. It is so much easier for a person to take over technical work like taxes and accounting than anything related to strategy or vision. Not saying we won’t try again. And it wasn’t a disaster to delegate it before, but it was much less effective than when Jason kept that piece (selling/pricing) himself. But of course, we’ll keep experimenting. Also, selling is a skill that develops over time. Our CPAs don’t have that experience right now. though they have our vision. And experienced salespeople probably don’t have our vision. So it’s just kind of tricky – at least in the short term.

  • On 04-23-2015 at 2:12 am, Chris F said:

    I love marketing. I love selling.
    Great article Jason, Great video.

  • On 04-25-2015 at 8:27 pm, Blake Oliver said:

    Definitely agree that firm owners need to be heading up sales. But there are also ways to increase efficiency and reduce the time commitment for partners in the sales role. For example, we’ve created a comprehensive catalog of services with pricing built into our proposal software. This enables our sales staff to easily put together a proposal after the scope has been determined. Ideally, I’ll do a call with the prospective client to figure out what the client needs (and what we can actually do to help), then pass the lead on to a team member who will put together a written proposal with pricing. Our sales staff does the follow up and only has to involve myself or my partner if one of us is needed to close the sale.

  • On 06-19-2015 at 5:53 pm, Jason Blumer said:

    Crap, I didn’t see all of these comments! Ahhh. Sorry.

    @Michael Wall – thanks!

    @Philip Campbell – right, Philip, selling ain’t easy!

    @Kevin McCoy – yes, I believe you are right. Our team should be able to sell our philosophies, but it is extremely hard to teach others how to do that. Honestly, I want to be better at that, but am not that good at it. But, as Jennifer said, we’ll keep trying.

    @Chris Farmand – you are the man Chris. Thanks for reading.

    @Blake Oliver – I love it Blake. The sales process is so inefficient for us because no services have pre-determined pricing. As a tenant of value pricing, “price the client, not the service” as Ron Baker says. So, one client may pay $1,000 for a corporate return, while another one may pay $1,500 simply because they value the return more. This process is complex and truly does keep me tied to the process. Honestly, I need greater efficiency here and am seeking how to do it! Thanks for reading and your wisdom and leadership in our profession.


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