Eight Steps to Success with Jon Hubbard
The Covid pandemic has prompted most businesses—but especially accounting firms—to take stock of their processes and practices to determine what they need to do to continue to be successful in a changed world. Randy talks with Jon Hubbard of Boomer Consulting, who specializes in helping firms identify branding opportunities, assess their strengths, and—using the eight step process known as the Firm Pipeline Builder—grow their business.
Today, our guest is Jon Hubbard. Jon is a director with Boomer Consulting. He helps accounting firms find success in the areas of leadership, talent and growth. Jon is a facilitator for Boomer—and listen for the theme here—Boomer P3 Leadership Academy, Boomer Talent Circle, Boomer Marketing and Business Development circle, and Boomer Next Gen Leaders circle. Obviously, they’ve got branding down!
He also guides firms to grow and be more effective in the areas of client service, marketing, and business development. Jon speaks at various industry conferences, user conferences, state societies and associations. He is a StoryBrand certified guide, and certified Kolbe consultant. Jon, I’m stopping there. Welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me.
Branding, it seems to be a thing!
It is, and it’s a huge opportunity for accounting firms. You mentioned the StoryBrand certified guide, and I spent a lot of times with accounting firms, helping them clarify their messaging so they can talk about what they do in a way that is more compelling.
You just mentioned as well, StoryBrand and Kolbe—I honestly have very little idea and probably no idea what that means. So before we jump into some other things, can you guess idea what StoryBrand and Kolbe are?
StoryBrand is a framework created by Donald Miller, a framework that helps organizations clarify their marketing and messaging. If we don’t have a framework in which to develop our messaging, then we usually end up talking about ourselves. I think that’s one thing the accounting profession has done over the years—is spend too much time talking about themselves, and less time talking about their clients. So that’s the StoryBrand piece.
The Kolbe piece, and actually, Randy, I just got notified that I’ve been a certified Kolbe consultant for ten years as of this month—
—Thanks! So what Kolbe is, in its simplest form—it is an assessment that we’ve been using for decades, to help individuals within accounting firms understand their instinctive strengths. That’s unrelated to personality, that’s unrelated to your cognitive ability. So, Randy, you and I know each other—we get along, we have different backgrounds, but even separate from that, we have a different way of how we instinctively get things done. And as firms are really thinking about putting the right people in the right seats on the bus, you have to consider the instinctive strengths of that individual, and Kolbe helps you do that.
Nice. That’s a topic that’s come up actually a few times on the podcast. What’s the book? I can’t remember it—you may know where a guy talks about the right person, right seat?
Yeah, I’m blanking on the name of it. But I know what you’re talking about.
And I just actually was on another podcast last week mentioned that I need to read that book. So I need to remember what it is. But it does come up and the same concept that you just said,
Thanks for the education. I appreciate that. I can kind of vouch for StoryBrand. You and I went through that on our marketing meetings, and is that the same concept we’re using on the business development meanings? Is that following the StoryBrand concept?
Yeah. So there are definitely some StoryBrand connections with how you think about developing business, launching services, and growing your firm. So as we dive into the business development piece, I can touch on that as well.
[bctt tweet=”I was just speaking with a firm yesterday, and they said, “Hey, this COVID season didn’t create any new opportunities for us, it exposed the fact that we had them all along—and we did not see them.”” username=”TriMerit”]
Great! Well, you just got a tease of what we do want to talk about today.
I did meet Jon, fairly recently. I feel like I’ve known him a long time. He is an easy guy to get to know. As you hear him speak today, he’s a very calming influence, listening to him speak, and so when we’re discussing, I may just introduce him and the topic we’re going for and just be quiet.
I’m just gonna enjoy the dulcet tones of Jon Hubbard as he explains what we’re going to be going through today.
I thought it’d be really interesting—I know you have all kinds of programs, I know marketing and business development are key areas that you’re passionate about helping firms with, and the situation that we’re currently in as a world—but as CPA firms, we’re in a strange area. It’s not the 2020 we expected. We’ve had a never-ending tax season, which, just to let everybody know: You and I are recording on October 14, I don’t think this will be released till November and maybe early December, but technically, tax season is going to end tomorrow.
I’m sure with PPP loans and everything else, it’s not going to feel like it’s ending, but with the unique situation we’re in right now, as CPA firms, we’re looking to help our clients still with a lot of things that we never would even realize we were going to be helping them with eight months ago. But in addition to helping them, we need to help our business too. We need to continue to grow and support our business internally. So in this current environment, how do we go out and do business development when the majority of us are still in a virtual setting?
That’s a really good question, Randy, and one, a lot of firms are asking themselves. Before we dive in to the process, and to the eight step framework we coach firms on, I really want to back up a bit and say and kind of tag onto what you were saying as well, in terms of the current environment, and how that has brought to light the opportunities and the needs firms have and their clients have.
I was just speaking with a firm yesterday, and they said, “Hey, this COVID season,didn’t create any new opportunities for us, it exposed the fact that we had them all along—and we did not see them.” Yeah, there were definitely some new things that were created during this COVID season., but a lot of firms—or at least the ones that are really leveraging the opportunity here—are now starting to see we actually had this opportunity all along well before COVID. We just didn’t prioritize it, and we did not move fast enough.
Diving in to the framework we coach firms on—we call it the Firm Pipeline Builder. A lot of firms are coming to us saying, “How do I grow my firm, virtually? How do I develop business virtually?” We have demystified that process for firms and really have broken it down into eight steps, and that eight step process we call, the Firm Pipeline Builder.
Here’s what’s interesting about this: There are definitely flavors and customizations that will happen within the eight step, Firm Pipeline Builder process that really are factoring in the virtual piece. However, the fundamental process is something that you should be doing whether you’re meeting with clients in person, whether you’re going out to conferences, shaking hands, meeting in officesùyou should be doing this anyways, even in person. This process isn’t isolated to just a virtual setting, though it works extremely well in a virtual setting, and we can talk about how that works. So Randy, from your perspective, is that a, is that a fair setup?
I think that’s a fair setup and as I’m thinking of this, our audience obviously is CPAs, but this is a system that would work for anybody that’s out doing business development, correct?
You’re exactly right, and I’m glad you mentioned that. So as we dive into this eight step process, there’s a couple things that I want to kind of tee this up with.
One is, this does work for any profession, it is not just accounting firms. So as you think about growing your specific services, growing your specific organization—if you hear me use examples around accounting firms, just know it can work for any organization.
Second, this eight step process is designed to be a framework that you can use and customize in a way that’s most advantageous to you. Now, of course, there are some solid principles you should be using within each of these eight steps. Some people call those “best practices.” I prefer to use the term ”solid principles.” There are definitely some solid principles to use within these eight steps. This whole framework is designed so you can understand it, and then customize it in a way that is specific to you.
I would be really leery right now of anyone that is trying to tell you to follow a very rigid business development process, because there’s too much complexity in our market today. There’s too much opportunity in our market today, and so having a framework—we have found that to be most beneficial.
Great! Let’s jump into the eight step education then.
Sure. The eight steps—I’m going to list them off, and then I’m going to talk about the key components of each of the eight steps. We don’t have enough time to really dive into every single aspect of this, but frankly, I don’t think you you would be interested in hearing that in that level of detail, at least to start, because I think this is going to be something you need to digest.
Step one is “assessing your goals.” Step two is “anticipating your potential services.” Step three is “identifying your targets.” Step four is “scheduling calls.” Step five is “conducting discovery calls.” Step six is “also conducting deep dive calls.” Step seven is “delivering the service.” And step eight is “providing coaching and accountability.”
Now that I’ve kind of listed those off, let’s start with the first one, “assessing your goals.” So if you’re sitting there listening to this thinking, “I need to be developing business, I need to be growing my practice, I need to be growing my organization,“ you first have to get very clear on your goals. And a goal is not “I want to grow.” That is not a goal. That may be an aspiration, but that’s not a goal.
A goal needs to be—and I think we’ve all heard—smart, specific, measurable, actionable, you know, all that. Let’s apply some of those principles. You need to be able to clearly articulate your revenue goals and what you’re looking to achieve in step one, so you can then work backwards and build a whole strategy around driving toward that goal.
Is the goal always a revenue goal? Is it, “Hey, we want to be doing more cross selling, we have the services that we’ve been ignoring, and we have such a client base that could probably benefit from it.” So when you’re identifying goal-, I’m assuming there’s multiple goals, but being specific, you just said is a key?
Yes. You’re exactly right. In step one, we’re thinking professional services here. We’re thinking about growing a practice. And step one, Randy—and that’s a really good question—we do want to strive for revenue goals; you’ll see as we go through these steps, there’s actually other goals that come into it.
But the idea is—as best as you can—how can you actually articulate and define the revenue goals you have. Just going through that exercise will assist you in in gaining clarity in several different things. So step one is all about assessing your goals. Some of you have three year goals, one year goals, quarterly goals, monthly goals—and this is where the customization piece comes in—where you can really start to apply how you think about revenue goals, and how you can line it up with this strategy there.
Well, my goal that I just said, is an hourly goal, and my goal is to not interrupt you too much!
Great goal too! That works! So now that you have have your goal—sometimes this is something you can just define by yourself, other times it takes a team—but really, what are we trying to achieve? Are we trying to develop a million dollars a new business for the organization as a whole, are we trying to develop the service line and double it? The more specific you can get around your goal, then steps two through eight will become a lot easier and will be a lot more helpful to that. At a high level, starting with your goals there.
Now, step two, is “anticipate your potential services.” So this whole eight step process is around you actually taking action and making something happen. This is not just a bunch of fluff here, so some of these steps are really broken down.
So now that we know our goal—this is what we’re trying to do. Let me give an example. “We want to grow our consulting practice $1 million.” I’ll just make that up. $1 million. ”We want to grow our consulting practice.” Well, where do we want that growth to come from? What services do we currently have in place that we want to grow? Or maybe, what services do we not have in place, but we actually need, to create to accomplish that growth goal?
That is anticipating potential services. It’s essentially connecting the dots from what you determine in step one, to step two. Given this, “Here’s the anticipated service offering that we really want to start to wrap our arms around, talk with our clients about and talk with prospects about.” This can also include, “Where do we see our clients having problems right now?“
Randy, you mentioned the COVID piece, right? It’s what your clients and my clients and professional services firms’ clients, were thinking about over the last four months—it was different than before. The more you understand that, the better, and you’ll see later on in this process—you will get the opportunity to talk with clients about that.
So I am gonna interrupt. See, I told you! I didn’t make my goal already, So you’re gonna have to work with me more, because my goals have not been met.
Anticipate potential services—so as we’re going through that, do we have to be flexible on that, too? Because eight months ago, none of us would have thought we’d be spending so much time with PPP loans, we may have had this revenue goal, we may have a new service goal—then all of a sudden we have this new service offering we never knew would have even existed. Do we somehow build that in? Anticipate, be prepared for taking advantage of new opportunities?
Yeah, absolutely, and that’s a really great question. You have to be flexible in this. That’s why just the act of anticipation should include flexibility there. So you need to be open to new services. You also need to anticipate what current services do we have that we want to grow, but we may need to augment or change.
Let me give you an example, Randy. I mentioned the consulting example and a million dollars. I was working with an organization who was wanting to take a strategic planning service to their client base. That strategic planning service was a very high-priced service. It was very dependent on a multi-day commitment. And it was also required from the client that they include a lot of people in it.
Well, through coaching with them, we got to step two, “Let’s anticipate what you know about your clients and what you know about what they’re experiencing right now. Let’s anticipate—what would a smaller price point more bite sized approach to a strategic planning engagement look like? How can you make that feed more digestible? And how can you work specifically with just a few key individuals within that organization?”
Because right now, that’s what your clients need. Right now, that’s what’s keeping them up at night. Through that process, they were able to grow their strategic planning service and actually get a lot more action a lot sooner on it, by anticipating how they could evolve that to make it more valuable to where their clients are today. Does that answer your question, Randy?
Yep, great! Thanks.
[bctt tweet=”Break down and identify your target audience—your ideal client. Some may already be existing clients, some may be prospective clients, but get clarity on “who do we actually need to be reaching out to have conversations with?”” username=”TriMerit”]
So once you’ve anticipated those services, then step three is going to be “identify targets.” So step one is you have clarity on your goals. Step two, you’re connecting the dots and matching up with current services, or possibly new services that need to be created, or the augmentation of current services. Now you get to step three, who do we need to be targeting so we can have conversations around these types of services that will help us achieve our business goals?
This is really breaking down and really identifying your target audience—your ideal client. Some of those may already be existing clients, some of those may be prospective clients, but getting clarity on “Who do we actually need to be reaching out to and having conversations with?”
We often bucket these in stage three in two main categories, and they’re both in the top 20: Top 20 Targets; Top 20 Sphere of Influence.
Top 20 Targets is, “Who are the 20 individuals that if I could have conversations with them about these services that we’re looking to grow, or to take to market, and they’re actually check writers, people that actually purchase these services—who would those individuals be?” Most of the time, let’s identify 20 to start with—they may be existing clients, they may be prospects.
Then the second category we use within this, Randy, is the Top 20 Sphere of Influence. “Who are the 20 individuals—maybe they’re not check writers, or they’re not the end buyer, but they’re well connected with the people I want to be reaching.” They will provide me valuable feedback. Maybe they’ve been down this road already, and are doing something similar for another target audience that I can learn from.
But really, it helps you have clarity on the targets that you need to be having conversations with. So step three, once you have your targets identified—and I told you, this whole process is about taking action and making something happen—
I was just gonna give you a hard time—I said, you identified me as an influencer? So you targeted me to get on this podcast, because you knew you could get the message out to your audience? And I’m kidding completely. Because you did not target me I, I invited you to do this, because I think it’s important information!
Right, right, exactly!
So step four, it’s all about “making calls happen.” Now, there, I told you, and you set this up, Randy. There is a flavor of this—and the virtual piece. So you see four here is “schedule calls.” Once we get back into the “new normal,” maybe these are scheduling conversations—that can happen in person at client sites, at conferences, things of that sort. But the whole point is you have to initiate that outreach, you got to get conversations on the calendar.
The whole point of this process is to demystify this process for everyone. Demystify developing business. And when we work with professional services organizations, they feel like often from from our experience, that they need to have all the answers in place for everything before they even have one conversation, and that is not what happens here.
What happens in step four is reaching out to them with the message of, “Hey, we are looking to grow XYZ service, we are looking to grow in this area, we are looking to help you navigate during this season of COVID, and we want to have a strategic conversation with you about what’s keeping you up at night. We’ve anticipated how we might be able to help your organization run smoother, and we want to have a conversation with you about that.” It’s actually getting those on the calendar.
I’m assuming that’s a combination of individuals within the firm doing it. Existing clients, it’s easy enough for me to pick up a phone call and and say this. Targeting new clients, is that the same? Obviously it’s not a one size-fit-all thing. But do you have people setting up these, making cold calls? How? Maybe this is deeper than we need to go. But there’s my question.
No—and it’s a really great question, Randy. So you’re obviously already connecting the dots on this step, too. Sometimes just by the act of saying “We’re going to schedule conversations” makes you ask all those strategic questions, Randy, which is good, which kind of shows the value in this step.
Sometimes—let’s say you want to reach out to 20 individuals. You have your top 20 from step three. Maybe five of those are ones I have relationships with, and I can just send that message email to them and say, “This is what I’m looking to do. I’m looking to have a conversation with you.” Maybe there are six others of those top 20 that are that are “Hey, Randy, you and I work together—you have a great relationship with XYZ (Let’s say we were part of the same organization), would you mind reaching out to them?” “Absolutely.” So it’s all about leveraging the relationships currently in place.
Let’s say there is not a relationship in place, and it’s truly a prospect. Then—and this is where I’m going to connect it to the story—a brand piece, Randy that you brought up earlier is, the more that that message to a prospect can be about them and less about you, the more likely it will result in a conversation.
Let’s say, Randy, you and I did not have a relationship, and I reached out to you. And I said, “Hey, we are working with a lot of organizations on how to navigate the season of COVID. You were, one of the founders of Tri-Merit, you had a successful career. I really want to pick your brain on how you see your organization, navigating this season, and how you’re coaching others. I’d love to share with you how we’re thinking about growing some existing services in this season.” Now, you’re the person that is going to be giving advice and we’re going to be having a conversation—and it’s true. It’s not misleading. It’s true. We’re just fine-tuning our messaging.
That’s much better than the five messages I get a day saying, “Hey, I can get you more clients.”
Exactly. I get those every day too, and I just delete them, because it’s not about me. They don’t know me, right? They don’t know you, and what they have to offer is not going to work.
So step four is all about scheduling those calls. Now, I’m not going to have enough time to get into all the details, but I will mention one thing here: Using a scheduling tool, like actually the same tool you use to schedule with me to do this podcast, Acuity scheduling—using a scheduling tool in this stage where you have predefined times on your calendar. As you reach out to people, being able to say, “Simply click this link to schedule a call with me” really cuts down on the back and forth.
We see a lot of firms kind of drop the ball during this stage, because there’s a lot of extra back and forth, and they may forget to follow up, and then schedules get complicated, and things like that. So this is where I would really use a scheduling tool.
Now, step five is, “Alright, I got that call on the calendar—now what? Now I need to have a conversation.” We call the first conversation you have—it doesn’t have to be the first time you have a conversation with a client—but you reach out to get a call set. We’re calling this a discovery call. There’s no pressure—it’s not a sales call, it’s not a sales pitch. It’s not a presentation call. It is literally a discovery call.
And here’s some key objectives we coach firms on having and accomplishing during this stage. One you need to understand that individual’s pain. You need to put yourself in their shoes and really seek to understand what pain they’re currently having. If you go in and start to talk about you, and the services you have, without first understanding their pain, you are going to miss a huge opportunity to match up your services with their needs. We call it “understanding pain.”
Then asking questions like, “How could you see us helping you accomplish overcoming that pain, minimizing that pain,” getting more clarity—making it a collaborative conversation. You may have sitting in your back pocket a list of services that you know, without a doubt, can make their lives better. But if you jump in too soon, and start saying that, they’re going to tune out and needs to be a collaborative conversation. So yeah, “We have some ideas on how we can help you with that, but I want to hear from you. How do you think we could help you? What does a successful partner look like to help you overcome this problem?” Really asking for their input there.
[bctt tweet=”We see a lot of firms drop the ball, because there’s a lot of extra back and forth, and they may forget to follow up, and schedules get complicated. So this is where I would really use a scheduling tool.” username=”TriMerit”]
I can vouch for the discovery call, Jon. You may remember this—you and I were on an all-day personalized conference with our company, and I had to get off for a call—and rather than spending the time explaining who we are to them, I used that as a “Let’s discover what your pain issues are” call. Being uneducated, still, at that time—at least enough to know that I was doing it wrong—that was one of the best calls I had! I’m still in touch with that gentleman today, a month later. So I can vouch that changing the way you have that initial call is definitely beneficial.
That’s great input there. So what also happens on this, when you focus on understanding the pain, this is where you start to possibly learn how to augment your service, what services you should be launching, or should be delivering. You learn so much when you actually have the right questions to ask and understand the pain that they’re experiencing.
With that in mind, having that discovery call, here’s what I would say: Take the pressure off yourself to have answers during the discovery call. This is why a lot of individuals don’t have these calls, as they think they need to have answers and they need to end the call with some conclusive recommendation and statement about how they can solve all those problems. Take the pressure off yourself. So step five is just literally conduct that call, have that conversation.
Step six is “conduct the deep dive call.” So between step five and step six, this is your opportunity to end Step five, in that call with, “Let me go back to my team. I’ve got a few individuals that I want to speak with internally that are going to help me gain more clarity on how we can package something for you to help you overcome these problems.”
Now, obviously, if you have all the information you need on that call, to turn it into a deep dive conversation, by all means, do it. But my main point of breaking these steps up, is to take the pressure off yourself on that first call to have all these answers—it simply does not need to happen.
So in-between step five and step six, there are a couple key things you need to do—really think through how can you put together some packages key word is packages—multiple packages. There’s not only one path to success with your clients and prospects. The more you can create packages—a small, medium and large; a bronze, gold, and platinum—whatever you want to call it. You need to be able to give your clients and prospects multiple paths to success.
By going through this exercise, it will help you understand how you can best help them. So you get that in place, and ideally, at the end of step five, you end that discovery call with when’s our next conversation? Let’s get that next conversation on the calendar: “So Randy, it’s been great speaking with you, let’s schedule our next call for next Wednesday—let’s get it on the calendar—and in the meantime, I’m going to talk with my team internally, I’m going to put together some packages and some options for how we can help you. You let me know if you have any additional thoughts between now and our next conversation, but we expect to have a deep dive conversation around how we can exactly help you.”
So then you actually have that deep dive call, and this is when you can start to talk a little bit more about yourself—a little bit more about how you can help them specifically. But the tone of this conversation is around collaboration. “We’ve done some heavy lifting from our last call to now. I’m going to put some packages in front of you, I’m going to put some options in front of you. But this is a collaborative approach, so I want to hear what resonates with you, I want to hear what you think is missing the mark, and let’s build a solution together.”
Even if it ends up not being one of those three packages, but a fourth one—great! Having the three packages helped them get to that fourth one. So that’s the purpose of that deep dive calls when you really start to dive into those components.
Step number seven, let’s say you have that deep dive call in step six, you put packages in front of them, you have conversations around those packages, of course they’re priced appropriately. Let’s say they choose one, and it comes time to deliver that service. Step seven—at face value, you can think, ”How is ‘delivering a service’ part of the business development process?”
Here’s why it is: How you position the delivery of a service that has already been sold will best tee you up for additional services in the future. For example, if you go out, and let’s say, do a strategic planning service—I’ll just keep using that as an example, because it’s an easy one to understand. “Hey, we’re there to accomplish a strategic plan to develop a strategic plan. I’m not here to sell you anything. That’s not what I’m trying to do here. But we’re not going to be able to solve all your process issues, we’re not going to be able to solve all your technology issues in this engagement. But what we are going to do is being able to create a one page strategic plan for your organization.”
See how I just teed that up at the beginning? So you have to think about, how does the delivery of this service actually tee up future work? That can happen on the front end of the delivery, as we start the project together; that can happen in the middle; that can happen at the end. You have to strategically think about, how does the delivery of this service actually tee up future work.
This is the biggest opportunity. We say generally speaking, 60% of the opportunity is within your current client base—within the ones that you’re currently already delivering services to. That’s where the majority of your opportunity lies.
Right, I can see that!
Now, step eight. This is so important, and such a big missed opportunity for professional services organizations especially—that is, “providing the ongoing coaching and accountability.” Something we hear, whether it’s from an accounting firm or law firm or any other professional services type organization is, “Hey, these higher level consulting services that we’re looking to develop are less recurring, they’re more one stop shops, they’re more, one off projects.” The reason they’re saying that is because they have not built in ongoing coaching and accountability.
The best way—and if you only take one thing out of this whole podcast, take this one away—the best way to turn high-level consulting services into becoming year-after-year recurring services, is building in coaching and accountability. How can you build in coaching and accountability to a service you have, that looks like—what does it look like to have conversations every month? Or every three months? Or how can you coach them along in their success? How can you hold them accountable to the goals that they’re trying to accomplish?
That’s why it’s so important, in that discovery call, to uncover those and to have those conversations. You need to be committed to their success. Don’t let the this be optional.
I was working with a firm last week, and they say, “Yeah, we offer coaching and accountability to all of our clients, but only some of them use it.” And I go, “How many use it?” He says one out of like, 200 clients, and I’m like, “Why? That’s the most valuable thing you’re creating! And that is the that is the thing that’s so dismissive to the client.”
So you have to require it. What would it look like to require it? “Hey, in order for us to work with you, we need you to commit as well to this ongoing coaching and accountability.” That connects you and keeps you plugged in, throughout the year, and turns high-level consulting work into recurring work.
So give me an example of “coaching accountability.” Is it “Here, we just set up this new program for you, and now we’re going to follow up—we’re going to talk each month about how it’s going. Are you having issues? Are you staying the path?” That’s the accountability part as well, but I mean, I’m simplifying it—but down that path?
Yeah, that’s exactly it. Because as they make progress, based off the work you’re doing with them, they will run into new roadblocks. They’ll discover new dangers, new opportunities, new strengths that they have. So staying in tune with that—it’s also holding them accountable. It’s not just coaching.
It’s: “Randy, you said, when we when we were working together three months ago, you said you were going to accomplish XYZ. Where are you on that? Why haven’t you done that? What roadblocks are you hitting? How can I help you get through that?” So it’s the coaching and the accountability piece.
So do you build KPIs into that, that they need to meet? Is that part of it?
Yes, especially from the accountability piece, you build in some goals that you develop with them to have due dates that are measurable. Then you actually care about those goals for that client. How are you accomplishing those goals? There’s a term that is thrown around and has been thrown around for years in our profession, and that’s the “trusted advisor.” Everyone has their their techniques and opinions on what it means to be a trusted advisor.
I would submit to you that a trusted advisor is someone that can coach and hold individuals accountable. It’s not being the most technical expert in your field—it’s not technical expertise. It’s the coaching and the accountability and how you hold people to their goals and help them achieve them.
Maybe I’m cutting you off too early, but that was a great, high level, introduction to this eight step program. Obviously, I’m guessing this is an eight hour program that you educate with? Is it longer than that when you’re going through all these with a firm?
Yeah, when I’m working with an organization on this, we would typically take at least one day with a specific service, or a specific segment or niche in mind, and actually walk through what this process looks like. I mentioned that sound principles are the best practices in each step that we just don’t have time to really dive into, but there’s a lot of strategies around, let’s say, step number four of having those discovery calls. There’s a lot of strategy.
So we actually spend a whole day together, breaking it down and saying exactly, “What does that process look like? How do you go through these eight steps?” And then we end with a lot of clarity. And Randy, I practice what I preach. If I do work with an organization on going through these eight steps, you better believe they’re going to be held accountable and coached on a regular basis in accordance to that.
Well, I know you do have a call later today with with my partner, Andy. So I don’t know if that’s part of the accountability.
Exactly! It is!
Yeah, he told me that that was coming this afternoon. And you guys are doing that weekly right now, right?
Yeah, it seems to be every other week, is what we’re doing. But that’s because we’re in a kind of granular coaching and accountability phase right now. We’re just accomplishing some really big objectives, but that’s what you have to be committed to—to your clients—to be able to help them actually achieve what they want to achieve.
Andy hasn’t said this term with me specifically, but I would imagine, he views what I’m doing as a trusted advisor type role. Not because of what I did necessarily with the full day workshop, but because I’m committed to his success, and we have built that into the relationship—ongoing coaching and accountability.
it’s been great. I honestly told you this when we got an original call—I was a little skeptical, just because I’m old school. If you’ve got the biggest Yellow Page ad, you’re doing your marketing and your advertising out there!
No, not quite to that level! Not to sound like I’m a sales pitch for you, because I think this information is invaluable, and I think every firm can can benefit from it. But for us personally, for me personally, it was really eye-opening. I appreciate you sharing what what you shared today with everybody, and hopefully people won’t be afraid to reach out and try to get more information from you.
Before we segue into something else, anything you want to wrap up on that?
Yeah, I just want to reiterate: The eight step process is designed to be flexible, designed to be customized. While you heard some some kind of overview here, there may be some things within each step that you want to tweak, and adjust for you. But the best business development process you can have is one that uses a framework that uses a process, but has also been customized with you, your team, your services, your clients in mind.
Nice. That’s that’s a great wrap up. I appreciate that.
So as I teased at the beginning, there’s a nice calming effect listening to Jon speak—which I don’t know what it is about your voice—it just has that in there! But I found out earlier today he also has a calming effect, at least to me, as a cellist. You play the cello, right?
Yes, I do play the cello. You asked for a fun fact about myself—might be something more personal—and I do play the cello, and I have for years. And I mentioned to you my wife plays the violin, I play the cello. My two boys are starting to take violin lessons. They’re five and two. And they’re already doing violin lessons.
One thing we talked about, Randy, kind of related to that, and is one of the things I find to be most interesting about the cello, is just the fact that I often feel like a newbie—you’re always learning something new, you’re always practicing a technique, you’re always coming up against a new obstacle or a new challenge as you learn a Bach piece or something of that sort.
We as professionals, and I think we would probably both consider ourselves, Randy, high functioning professionals—people that are able to accomplish what they want to accomplish, and stick to goals, and things of that sort—it’s always good to feel like a newbie at something and to actually be a newbie at something. I think that keeps you sharp, I think that keeps you disciplined, and kind of focused on lifelong learning. So that’s one of the reasons I play the cello.
Well, I told you in our pregame discussion, I’m going to have to get a video of one of these “in the home concerts” at some point. I actually like listening to string instruments and they have a calming effect for me as well.
That was a fun fact, and you said—you haven’t been a lifelong cellist. It’s very recent, right?
Yeah, it is more recent. I think I started playing about eight years ago, and then when my first son was born, it got put on the back burner, so I didn’t play for a few years. I picked it back up, actually, last year, and have really made it a daily practice, and something I am really enjoying and committing to. So it’s not like I was playing a cello at age five or anything.
So it’s the newbie thing, like you’re saying. I guess Honestly, I do that too. This podcast is one of those. I never expected to be doing a podcast. We’ve been doing it for a year now. I think I probably should look at the date we released the first podcast, but I think we’re really close to a year in to that.
And believe me, I’m learning constantly. I think I started out of the gate pretty well, I think I hit a little wall for a few shows, and I think we’re coming back strong! Now with the Jon Hubbard show for sure!
I really, really, really appreciate you being on today. Before we close out the show—how can people get ahold of you? Website, email, social media, whatever you want to share?
Absolutely. Boomer Consultants’ website is boomer.com. Pretty simple web address there. If you want to learn more about us, you can find me on LinkedIn, as well. I try and do a good job of always posting information related to what you heard in this episode, but even other marketing and business development related topics. I post videos as well. So look me up on LinkedIn. I’m also pretty active on Twitter, and you can find me on both of those platforms.
That’s great! And I can vouch for your LinkedIn postings—they’re always informative, so I appreciate that.
Well, thanks again for being here today. I said it already, but I really do appreciate it.
Jon Hubbard on LinkedIn
Boomer Consulting – Jon Hubbard
About the Guest
Jon Hubbard, MBA, serves as a Director at Boomer Consulting, helping accounting firm leaders find success in the areas of leadership, talent and growth. In his role, he serves as a facilitator for the Boomer P3 Leadership Academy, Boomer Talent Circle and Boomer Marketing & BD Circle. He also consults with firms on client service, marketing and business development.
Jon speaks at various industry conferences, user conferences, state societies, and associations. He’s a StoryBrand Certified Guide and Certified Kolbe Consultant.
Jon holds a bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri and a Masters in Business Administration from Southeast Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.
Meet the Host
Randy Crabtree, CPA
Randy Crabtree, co-founder and partner of Tri-Merit Specialty Tax Professionals, is a widely followed author, lecturer and podcast host for the accounting profession.
Since 2019, he has hosted the bi-weekly “The Unique CPA,” podcast, which ranks among the world’s 5% most popular programs (Source: Listen Score). You can find articles from Randy in Accounting Today’s Voices column, the AICPA Tax Adviser (Tax-saving opportunities for the housing and construction industries) and he is a regular presenter at conferences and virtual training events hosted by CPAmerica, Prime Global, Leading Edge Alliance (LEA), Allinial Global and several state CPA societies. Crabtree also provides continuing professional education to top 100 CPA firms across the country.
Schaumberg, Illinois-based Tri-Merit is a niche professional services firm that specializes in helping CPAs and their clients benefit from R&D tax credits, cost segregation, the energy efficient commercial buildings deduction (179D), the energy efficient home credit (45L) and the employee retention credit (ERC).
Prior to joining Tri-Merit, Crabtree was managing partner of a CPA firm in the greater Chicago area. He has more than 30 years of public accounting and tax consulting experience in a wide variety of industries, and has worked closely with top executives to help them optimize their tax planning strategies.