[IMGCAP(1)]Recently, I was preparing a dry rub for some pork spare ribs that I was going to smoke. The rub (Rendezvous Rib Rub) contains about a dozen different herbs and spices, so I headed to the store to stock up. When I got home I thought all I needed to do was measure the herbs and spices, combine them, coat the ribs, and put them in the refrigerator. Unfortunately, I was wrong. This recipe called for me to crush coriander, allspice, mustard and celery seeds.

No big deal, right? Wrong. My first attempt at “crushing” involved a small plate and a meat mallet. Guess what happened? The seed fragments sprayed out everywhere. My second attempt involved the same meat mallet and a small bowl. The seed fragments sprayed me in the face. My third attempt involved putting the seeds in a small plastic bag and after a few pounds of the mallet, the bag broke, and then, to add insult to my injuries, the head fell off the meat mallet. I was rather frustrated at this point.  

My fourth attempt involved another trip to the store to buy more spices (as my stock was depleted and sprayed all over the kitchen and counter), AND a mortar and pestle. I should have had this tool from the beginning—I knew it all along but thought maybe I could get by without it. And, realistically, I probably could have, but the process was frustrating, messy and inefficient.

How does this relate to your firm? I would be willing to bet that you have asked more of your people to participate in the marketing and sales process. However, without some basic training in marketing and sales, you may be putting them through something similar to what I described above. Without the right tools, ANY project is more frustrating and less effective that it needs to be. And, the last thing we want to do is create unneeded frustration when people are just beginning the marketing process.

The good news is that it’s easy to get your people some basic training in marketing and sales skills, and here are the skills I would recommend:

1.    Client relationship development, building trust and cross-selling
Unlock the potential in your current client base, and ensure that your people know what is expected of them in terms of building relationships and growing client revenue.

2.    Referral source networks, and building a strong network
Make sure your people know how to build and leverage a strong referral source network.

3.    Elevator speeches, effective networking, and LinkedIn
Arm your people with tips that can help them overcome their fear of networking, and teach them how to leverage LinkedIn to accelerate development of their network.

4.    Demystifying the sales and client pursuit process
Never lose a deal again just because you mismanaged the sales process. 

So, avoid the frustrating, messy and inefficient process of trying to tackle a job without the right tools. It makes as much sense in marketing and selling your firm as it does in your very own kitchen! Please feel free to contact me offline for rib rub recipes and sample training slides that would be a great start to your training program.

Art Kuesel is the president of Kuesel Consulting, which helps CPA firms perfect their growth strategies and actions to drive revenue in the door. Reach him at art@kueselconsulting.com or (312) 208-8774.