Strategy in Action: The Moment of Truth

Bill Sipes, CPA, and principal share-holder in Sipes & Associates, http://www.sipescpa.com, Business Advisers and Appraisers, heads a muti-faceted Financial Services firm in Jackson, TN. Bill got caught up in the whiplash at the end of the 2001-03 recession. He missed his Sept. 30, 2003 annual revenue goal by a long way. Based on what has happened so far this fiscal year, projections indicate he very likely will surpass this year’s goal. What happened that made such a difference?

Bill decided to create (and implement) a new strategy.

Until a couple of years ago, his services included Write-up, Reporting and Taxes for businesses and some individuals. He also had become certified as a Business Appraiser and Valuation Expert and this contributed a good portion of the revenue. Last year the revenue from Appraisal and Valuation dropped significantly.

In 2001 he had introduced point-of-sale software, which was doing well until last year. No one was making new technology investments. Finally, he had just introduced Insurance and Financial Planning when things started to drop off. He had to cut back on staff hours to keep his cash flow in check.

But Bill was determined to stage a quick come-back. This year’s strategy included the following decisions:

1) Focus on cross-selling existing clients
2) Reward existing clients with attractive incentives for new business referrals
3) Spend a limited amount to attract new clients through the most profitable division.
4) Concentrate on attracting potential multiple service clients
5) Purge clients costing more in resources than they were generating in revenue.
6) Bring his staff of four into the sales process.

Eight months into his fiscal year Bill reports that business is great.

He points to one of his strategies as being a major factor in the turn-around: the staff’s involvement in the sales process.

He has an open book policy with staff and keeps them aware of what’s working, what’s not, promotions that are being done and results of sales efforts. His mission is to “take care of his clients”. He says, “the moment of truth comes when any staff member communicates with a client or prospect”. Staff receive frequent reminders to live this mission every day and to report back to the group on what they learn.

Bill holds weekly staff meetings, sends regular e-mail encouragement, shares good news and offers support to all staff. He also rewards staff individually for bringing in a new client. The entire staff gets a prepaid extended weekend holiday at Disneyworld for their entire family when the annual revenue goals are met. It’s lookin’ good for this year.

By putting his strategy into action, Bill has been able to increase the average revenue per client, has generated a good number of new clients in his chosen division and is seeing some good cross-selling going on. He’s seen a big surge in revenues and the pipeline seems to be easy to fill. Looks like he’s got a winning strategy.

Way to go Bill!