Episode #060 Kick Start Your Business Growth Strategy With A Sales Strategy Part 1: Creating Your Sales Strategy With Angie Martin

Bookkeeping Marketing to show Business Owners how you help them

Did you know that having strong alignment between your sales and marketing strategies will help you bring in high quality clients?

Many bookkeepers don’t fully realise how powerful a sales and marketing strategy can be, let alone know how to create one. So, this week Amy Hooke has invited The Savvy Bookkeeper’s very own Client Relationship Manager, Angie Martin, to help you sell your value.

During this episode Angie and Amy will talk through all what a sales strategy is and why it’s so important to have one for your bookkeeping business.

Get ready listeners, the curtain is about the be drawn back. You're about to learn how passionate the team at The Savvy Bookkeeper are about growing your business!

Key Takeaway: “Bookkeeping Marketing is much more than a Sales pitch. It will help you to focus on how you help your clients deal with problems, so they finally understand how you are essential to their business success”

Podcast Info

Episode: #060

Series: General

Host: Amy Hooke

Guest speaker: Angie Martin

Topic: Grow Your Business

Useful links
Read transcript

Amy Hooke (00:01):
I'm good. Hey everyone. It's Amy Hooke here and I'm just here with Angie Martin who is our client relationship manager. And just in order to serve you guys, we've decided to keep out episodes a little bit shorter and because we got into such an exciting topic talking about sales strategies, we've decided to split it into two episodes. So you're about to listen to this first part of the episode where we talk about sales strategy, the importance of having a sales strategy and the importance of the follow up process. And then in the second episode we'll be talking about the importance of being found online and also the difference between sales and marketing so that you can understand that. So anyway, enjoy these two episodes and yes, that's it. Enjoy it. Good morning everybody. Thank you for joining me. And today we have a very special guest. We have Angie Martin joining us. Thanks for joining me today, Angie.

Angie Martin (01:02):
Thanks for having me. I'm excited to do this.

Amy Hooke (01:04):
Me too. So just to tell you a little bit about Angie. So Angie created her first business when she was 12 years old which is pretty cool. And so she's been working to support startups since then. And so working small to medium sized businesses for about 15 years. And so Angie, you're also a highly trained and well-regarded business and brand development or sorry, brand management and business development person and you've also got experience in digital marketing and sales generation, so yep. And then you've also got a little side project called peer or sorry, your passion project that you call peer collections which is women's clothing for the shapely woman I would say. And fashion range for. Yeah. So and then also we've got, Oh yeah, obviously then you work for us. You work for Savvy. So you joined us in October and you've been working with us as a client relationship manager. So probably a lot of our listeners have actually spoken to you on the phone. Yes.

Angie Martin (02:20):
I reckon a few people will recognise my voice quite a bit since I have a very interesting Canadian accent now.
Amy Hooke (02:28):
Yes, that's right. Exactly. cool. Thank you for joining me on. Yeah, very much looking forward to our chat today. So today we're going to be talking about sales, which is something that you are excellent at. Definitely got an expertise there and a bit of a gift. So do you wanna just yeah, just kick off and just share a little bit about yourself.

Angie Martin (02:52):
Good. Yes. So everyone always asks me, the first question is when I talk to people on the phone is where are because I always think the, Oh no, this is someone calling from a random place just because of my accent. So I moved from Canada to Australia over eight years ago now which is pretty crazy to think of. But absolutely love it here. And have really been focused in building up startup businesses since moving here and working with sales and really you know, helping businesses to learn the importance of sales and you know, that doesn't matter what you do, it's every company in the end needs to have a sales strategy of some kind. And I I think it's kind of exciting that we're going to face this podcast around that.

Amy Hooke (03:44):
Definitely, definitely, cause we obviously we're talking about whether to talk about cause your expertise in digital marketing as well is also probably something of interest to our listeners. But I think that and not wanting to stereotype anybody because I don't like to put bookkeepers in a box, but I do know that as bookkeepers we tend to not, sales is not necessarily our favourite. So I think it's going to be very helpful today. So yeah, I guess I'll start off by asking you, just to go through and explain to our listeners what actually is a sales strategy.

Angie Martin (04:22):
So kind of putting it in the most basic sense a sales strategy. It's really just a plan on how you're going to sell your products, your services to increase your profits and keep your business basically going. I think a lot of bookkeepers don't really understand the importance of sales because you know, you've never had to really go out and get them. A lot of people always said that they fell into bookkeeping and that, you know, their clients come to them. But you know, it's so good to actually know and develop your sales pitch, which you don't have to think of it as a pitch. It's more of what you actually do and why you're amazing. So you know, it's telling about, you know, this, it's your selling points of why people should work with you as a bookkeeper. And that's basically all the strategy, the sales strategy is. There's two different ways you can do a sales strategy. So inbound is basically just calls coming in to you, so clients potentially coming to you and saying that they need your services, which is the ultimate goal. But most of the time it's out bound. And that's when I think a lot of people dread and really just trying to ignore that sales strategy because it makes you get out of your comfort zone. And really, you know, talk to strangers about why you're amazing. And I think for Bookkeepers that's really hard!

Amy Hooke (05:55):
Yeah, yeah, that's right. I was thinking as soon as you said talk to strangers, I was like, Oh my gosh. Like I know obviously I'm here on a podcast and I've been doing this for about 12 months and most people might think that I love talking to strangers cause I talked to hundreds of them every Friday. But it's a little bit different when you're behind, you're, you know, you get to be behind your computer and, and that kind of thing. So I think it's yeah, I love this topic. And and I think, I guess I'm just thinking when you're talking about the outbound sales, I think the image that automatically pops into my mind is, you know, you're just about to sit down to have dinner and the phone rings and then there's someone from overseas and they're trying to sell you like a telephone plan or something like that. And then you know, you politely or not so politely have to get yourself out of the phone call. And I just think of that cringy kind of feeling when a salesperson calls you and it makes you feel like, ah, like how do I get out of this?

Angie Martin (06:59):
A lot of people think of it that way and I think that's why a lot of people tend to not go there, just ignore it. Just, you know, keep with the strategy that the clients will come to them. Just because you know, there's been such horrible experiences of outbound calls I think from the last 30 years, 30 40 years, it's been done really poorly. When you do it properly and you really care about your clients, you're not just calling to get another to add another number to your database. I think it makes big difference.

Amy Hooke (07:36):
Yeah. I love it. And yeah, so, can you talk a little bit about why bookkeepers actually need to create or prioritise creating a pitch? Cause obviously, Oh, it's funny, it's funny, the lingo, like I did an episode a while ago about these where I talked about the like the marketing lingo and terminology. It's like, as soon as you hear the words, it kind of makes you go like, I don't know. You Cringe! So the pitch do you want to just talk a little bit about like what the pitch and well, yeah, why it's important

Angie Martin (08:10):
For the purpose of this. Let's change the pitch to what you do because basically all the is, is writing down in really deciphering what your selling points are for your bookkeeping ability.

Amy Hooke (08:25):
It's like what you do, who you do it for and why you do it.

Angie Martin (08:28):
Exactly, exactly. It's a really easy way of, you know, just communicating why you're amazing and the potential client should work with you basically. So my top three reasons, basically for why bookkeepers need to really prioritise having this and having just a sales strategy is that it allows you to actually address your customer's needs at every stage of working with them. By having a sales strategy, you actually can figure out what their needs are, what they're: in the “lingo of sales” ~ It's “what their pain points are”, what they're having issues with, why they need a bookkeeper in the first place. And a lot of people when you ask, they can't actually answer that to say why you should be going with them. So first off, it allows you to have that ability to anytime, anywhere you can outright say, this is how I can help you to do this for you.

Angie Martin (09:34):
So it also helps you increase your amount. This is another term ROI, which is return on investment. And that basically is something that's so important for bookkeepers. You need to make sure you're having your cashflow. You need to make sure that you having return on all the efforts that you're doing. And also it makes it so that you have the right people that you're hiring by having a better understanding of what you actually do, what services you can actually supply your customers and what you actually do to help fill their needs for bookkeeping makes it so that you can actually hire the right people that can continue that work. So that in the end you can be the bookkeeper who has a business but doesn't mean to work in it, which is always an issue. So it's just really good to have those three things that it helps you grow your business and it just helps you know your business in the end. And that's, I think the biggest thing that you know, bookkeepers need to be able to be confident to communicate to people.

Amy Hooke (10:46):
Yeah exactly! And yeah, you would, when you were sharing that, it just made me think about like I really believe that when you're creating this you know, this pitch, this like deep understanding of what it is you actually do and this ability to clearly articulate it. Cause I think for a lot of bookkeepers that I work with, it's not that they don't know what they do and who they do it for and why it's that they don't feel that they know how to articulate it clearly. And in a way that sounds attractive to business owners. And I think, you know, we have gone through a season where bookkeepers have felt very devalued and they feel that business owners think that bookkeeping is just data entry. And so there's kind of been a, I think there's been an involuntary or there's been an re like a re positioning of bookkeepers happening, which is not because of us, it's because of the change of the environment. It's because of what's happening with the, you know, the software company's messaging is very strong along the lines of “how easy” bookkeeping because of their software. And yet on the flip side of that, we're finding that

Amy Hooke (12:00):
They so called easy software promoting is actually leading to a lot of rescue jobs, a lot of messy data files, a lot of very upset business owners who, and I think they get upset with the bookkeeper when they find out that they have to pay somebody to redo the work potentially. You know, it can be five times as much as they paid for it in the beginning. And so I think that, you know, this is actually created the need for bookkeepers to actually be able to explain what they do.

Angie Martin (12:31):
Well. I think a lot with bookkeeping is that, and I say this to our clients all the time, is most of your business clients don't actually know what bookkeeping is and they don't care. I hate to say it, they don't care. They just want you to make the books amazing and get it all sorted so they don't have to think about it. Yes, that's pretty much one of the biggest things is that you need to educate your clients on what you do so they do have that more of respect and more of a: “My bookkeeper is amazing. You should work with them” which is the ultimate way of having a sale that carries on more sales and that can be easily organised through telling people what you do, making sure you have that sales strategy and most importantly your business plan because once you can put basically into two sentences what you do for companies and how you can help them, they can then better understand what you actually do every day because to them all they think you do is enter in numbers all day and “Can't everyone do that?!” – So it's good to have the sales strategy to actually educate them and you know, explain why you're amazing.

Amy Hooke (13:51):
And once you know that, once you're really clear about that, it doesn't just help you with potential new clients. It also helps you to reposition yourself with your existing clients. And it also helps you to make sure that you engage the right employees as well. Because one of the things that I find is that as much as bookkeepers say that they keep getting these bad clients, these like high maintenance, low value clients that are very demanding but not really giving much in return. They're finding the same with employees the same, you know, there's no good staff out there and that kind of thing. It's like, well, like what? Like what are you even looking for? And then it becomes a problem to be able to articulate that. And so a little while ago I put together a Master Class for actually creating where we'd go through step by step and create the pitch together.

Amy Hooke (14:42):
And when I was running that little, when I was running that Master Class, what I noticed was that when, when I asked people to, and it happens in all my sessions as well, when I ask a bookkeeper to name the top three problems that they solve for their problems, they always list the solutions. Always, always, always. Yeah. No they don't. They don't always list the solutions. My apologies. They always list the services that they offer, which I found quite interesting. So I say, what are the top five or top three problems that your clients have? No, sorry, what are the top five problems that you solve? And they'll say BAS Lodgement bookkeeping, payroll. And so there is a real, I find there's a real block there. Like I think 90, I would say 99% of bookkeepers that I've worked with, hundreds of bookkeepers have, have, have actually gotten that response to that question.

Angie Martin (15:33):
I completely agree with that. Even just with the conversations I've had over the last couple of months with our clients. I think that's really accurate. And that's because, you know, bookkeepers like you, the whole system is going through step by step in fixing the problems to get to that end solution. Yeah. But you have to go in, think of it from your client's point of view because it's the client's that are wanting to go with you because of what they're going through, not what you offer, what they are going through. And when you actually can clearly articulate that to potential clients, it is so good and they feel so much more confident and comfortable to work with you just even if you change the lingo that you're saying like we're doing right now to make it so they understand.

Amy Hooke (16:26):
Yeah, like don't keep talking. (I interviewed Kate Toon last week and she said something about yeah, you know,) don't talk to me about the, you know, cash ledger versus this thing or whatever. I don't know what you're talking about. And I was thinking,

Angie Martin (16:41):
I just don't want to, that's why they pay someone else to do that.

Amy Hooke (16:45):
But it's hard to find the lingo. It's like, because all bookkeepers do like, I know people would say we just do data entry. We don't just don't do data entry. All we do is reconcile stuff. That's what bookkeepers do. We reconcile, reconcile, we're reconciling these, we're reconciling that. And I sometimes I hate that word because it's so annoying cause I know that business owners don't know or don't care what it means, but it's like, well what other word can you use? Like maybe you can…

Angie Martin (17:09):
…I think a really good way of saying what you know, the reconciliation is, is going through and matching up where your expenses are going, where your cash is going, where it's coming in so that at the end you can get an understanding of what's happening in your business. Because until that matching up happens, they have no idea. And that's what you do for your businesses and for your clients. You create that picture.

Amy Hooke (17:40):
Eaxctly. Yup. Okay. That's good. Well yeah, so it sounds to me like a sales strategy is definitely worthwhile for somebody who is, you know, actively, especially for people who are generating leads. Because if you're used to people just coming to you for a referral from an accountant, you might not have to say all the same things or you might not need to do much compared to if people calling you from your website, for example. These are people who do not know you at all and you're having to build that relationship with them right from the start. So yeah, obviously there's people that are wanting to kind of grow their business, but what about for people who just maybe want an extra couple of clients but they're not really wanting to grow big? Like is a sales strategy is still important for somebody at that size?

Angie Martin (18:24):
Absolutely. Absolutely. Because even if you don't want to grow, you still want to keep the clients that you have. And part of a sales strategy is actually following up with the clients that you already have to make sure that you are meeting their needs.

Amy Hooke (18:40):
Yup. Yup. Most people don't think about sales, but don't think about sales to being to their existing clients at all. It's ongoing.

Angie Martin (18:49):
Yup. Yeah, it's ongoing. You're always in. It's not even, you can change the word out of sales. It's, you know, when I call and catch up with someone with Savvy, we're legitimately calling to catch up to make sure that we are needing everyone's needs. You know, as the entire industry of bookkeeping evolves, so do every other industry and every other business. So that means we evolve. So you have to make sure that you're still helping your existing clients because what if your client has grown dramatically and they now need to employ people and they really have no idea how to, you won't actually know that until you ask them.

Amy Hooke (19:33):
And we're always complaining that, Oh, clients just, they keep making all these decisions and they don't tell me. They just surprise me after they've already done it. And it's like, okay, yeah, you know, are we actually setting aside time and being proactive about calling them before they make decisions and actually seeing how things are going and finding out, you know, like if there's any decisions coming up that might, they might need some help with

Angie Martin (19:56):
That is not, that is not, I hate to say this, but that is not your client's responsibility. That is your responsibility as a bookkeeper to follow up?

Amy Hooke (20:06):
I love how honest you are.

Angie Martin (20:09):
Well, you know, I love being honest. I much prefer it because we're here like my whole….

Amy Hooke (20:15):
You have such a great way about it as well. It's so encouraging but yet truthful and it's… we need it.

Angie Martin (20:21):
Yeah, we like, you know, I work with startups, I work with small businesses because I love seeing them grow into something amazing and that's what Savvy does and in the end that's what a lot of bookkeepers do because without having good bookkeepers doing these followups Australian startups and small businesses can't succeed. So when it gets to the point that everyone realises you know… Follow up with your clients, make sure you are there to support them and then they will be there to support you.

Amy Hooke (20:48):
Gosh, I'm feeling like there's just like this, there's things ticking over in my mind and it's almost like, I feel like as bookkeepers, we, when needing, there's an actual really important reconciliation that we're needing to do and that is reconciling the fact that business owners don't care about bookkeeping…. yet. We are the ones like we are actually have such a, like we have such a great ability to be able to help them with perfectly positioned to be able to help them. So I think what happens is that we take it so personally that a business owner doesn't care about bookkeeping because we were trying so hard to get them to love what we love that we kind of missing it. And so it's, there's sort of like a mismatch in where communication is being said, not landing. And yeah,

Angie Martin (21:45):
It's the same thing. Like I'll have a friend who is absolutely 100% passionate about what they do and I just find it so incredibly boring. If someone was trying to push me being like, yeah, that's amazing. Are really like, you know, I respect that they do. I think what they do is amazing, but I don't really want to learn any of their lingo or I don't really want to know what they do every day. And to be fair, a lot of business owners are too busy running their own businesses to learn what their bookkeepers do. It's not that they don't care about their bookkeeper, it's that they are so focused on running their own business that they don't have time.

Amy Hooke (22:31):
The feeling though, I think what happens, I remember my early days in business, you feel like it hurts your pride. It makes you feel like, it's almost like a rejection of, I think the biggest rejection for a bookkeeper is to reject their intellectual knowledge that they've worked so hard to acquire. And so, but it's like if you could actually understand the clients don't care about the bookkeeping process, they just want, they want the end result and it's different for each business owner. You know, different ones want different things.

Angie Martin (23:07):
And I think that's where having a sales strategy is actually such a good way to educate your clients and really work with your clients to make them more interested on everything that is bookkeeping. Because once they see that the more their bookkeeping is getting attention, the more that they'll succeed. And the more interested that there'll be an wanting to come to you and get your opinion on this or in their next investment toward, you know, have they had a good month or a bad month, what do I do? If it's been a bad month, they'll, the more communication is open and the less that, you know, I think this is one of the biggest things, especially when it's your own business, is that you can't take things personally. No. And when it's your own business, it's your own baby. It's so hard. But you can't take a business owner being too busy to talk to you about something that just isn't quite working when they don't understand what you're talking about in the first place. You can't take it personally because in the end if you take all of it personally, you're going to get drowned. Yeah. You know, that's, you know, in my years of working in sales and working in just talking to people, cause most of my day, that's all I do is I've had some atrocious phone calls where people have been so rude to me that in the beginning it used to really phase me and I used to hang up the phone or leave an appointment. It's happened a couple times face to face.

Amy Hooke (24:44):
Oh my Gosh!

Angie Martin (24:48):
I've left an appointment and just broke down crying and I let it get to me. And then I got to the point where you can't, you can't take it personally. You can't, you know, if you do, you'll never grow!

Amy Hooke (25:04):
Oh my God, I've just had a memory of when I first started my bookkeeping business and I was so excited. Like I'd just bought the Pure Bookkeeping System and I'd set up, all my stuff to, to take to the meeting and I had all my little folders and stuff like that. And I turned up to this guy's office and him and his wife seem really friendly and they're running it like a training business together. And I sat down and I went through my little presentation and I had everything in a like a little folder and things like that. And I just felt like so confident I had these kind of like, you know, this pitch lined out with these little like slides or whatever. And I got to the end of the meeting and then they will obviously very friendly. And then he said, I've got some questions.

Amy Hooke (25:46):
and took me into his office to sort of have a look at some MYOB and then I started to feel like he was like asking a bit too much for like, it was going on too long and I was feeling like, Aw, I'm sorta feel like I'm working for this guy already and I'm not getting paid. He hasn't engaged me. And so I said, you know, I better go soon or whatever. And then just as was about to leave, he said, Oh, I just wanted to give you some feedback. And I'm like, Oh, okay. He said yes so umm yeah. And he basically just for about five minutes, he just told me about how my, he said that my presentation was like business 101 and Oh my Gosh. I was like, I was trying not to start crying. He's like, and he said that he felt, I don't know, I gave me like all this, he said, do you mind if I give you some feedback or whatever?

Amy Hooke (26:36):
And I remember, I reckon I cried nearly the whole way home. I was like a 40 minute drive and I was crying and when I got back I drafted up this email to him and I'm so glad that I didn't send it. I'm just thinking back to that. And I remember just writing it all down and I thought like, he's not going to care. And I, and I didn't actually send it, but I just remember like that feeling of being like, it was like a personal rejection. It's like, like he wasn't rejecting me, he was rejecting my slides. Like, do you know what I mean?

Angie Martin (27:07):
And that happens and you know when it happens. All right, that happens. Learn from it and then move on or else you can never grow your business and you can never grow as a professional. You know, I think one of those things is, you know, I've had really bad meetings in the past and you know, before I worked at Savvy I worked in a heavily male dominated industry and I will never forget one, it was actually a like proper presentation and a guy said that I would look much better wearing what I was wearing in the kitchen. And he said it in front of everyone. And yeah, basically there was one other female and I knew quite a few of the other males. I was friends with them and not one of them said anything with how inappropriate that, (Amy: Oh my gosh. Embarrassing!) Yeah. And you know, I very calmly pivoted away from that. And then, you know, still stuck up for myself. But up the end I left and my partner, cause I don't drive, my partner came to pick me up, I got in the car and just broke down. Oh my gosh – what am I doing with these people?!

Amy Hooke (28:17):
That's right it makes you want to quit those moments!

Angie Martin (28:24):
Yes. And you know, but that wasn't my problem. That was his problem, (Amy: it's good when you can say that) You know, and it's one of those things that when you're trying to grow your business, you're going to have days that aren't great but yet your good days are going to outnumber your bad days and that's what you focus on.

Amy Hooke (28:42):
Exactly. Exactly. And I remember showing that same presentation to many other business owners and only one of them responded like that. But all of the others actually like some of them commented that; They actually loved it and so it makes you think, but it's, but I remember in the early days it would be that guy and his like…

Amy Hooke (29:01):
Feedback. That's what, that's what made me, that's The ONE I remembered! That's the one that I thought about for days

Angie Martin (29:10):
And that can drive you that can drive you like especially with bookkeepers when you know, I think, I think everyone on a weekly basis basically get someone who, not purposely but belittling what you guys do. Yes. They don't even know. I think it's really important to realise that business owners don't mean to do that in their head. That's what they're doing. But I think it's one of those things that take it, absorb it, let it learn from it so that don't get yourself in a situation like that anymore and then move forward and make it better. You know? Cause that's really what's running a business. If you keep focusing on any of the negatives, not even just talking about sales, you're never going to continue to move forward.

Amy Hooke (29:58):
That's right. Yeah, exactly. And like I feel like in my journey, I think the weirdest thing is that I feel like the more confident I get with my pitch for the bookkeeping business, the more… the less I feel that I run into people that I, that aren't… that are going to be like rude to me in the first place. And I almost feel like in the past, the way that I'd prepare my pitch, not realising that that's what I was doing is I was actually building up ways in my own mind of how I would defend myself when someone said something rude to me versus thinking, stepping outside of worrying about what people think of me and looking at, you know, like how can I get into the, into the shoes of the client and see from their perspective.

Angie Martin (30:44):
I think, I think that's a really valid point is that, you know, bookkeepers are in a service industry. You are here to provide a service for your clients. So you should be thinking about your clients. If someone's called you and been abrupt and didn't want to talk to you, maybe they're having a bad day. Maybe something's going on at home, maybe like there's so many things that you know, if you think about what you're going through each day specifically, if you have your own bookkeeping business, which many of what the listeners do, you have up and down days, your clients are just the same. So you need to remember that, you know, if you've gotten an abrupt email, don't instantly reply with another abrupt email. Write it, save it and then send it after editing it after a day.

Amy Hooke (31:39):
Yeah. Or don't send it, pick up the phone, pick up the phone and say, Hey, how you doing?

Angie Martin (31:45):
Like, cause you know, especially with emails, you actually can't get the tone that someone's saying it. So someone might be really sarcastic and say something in an email comes off as extremely rude. Yes. But that's not what they were meaning to do. So, you know, don't always be on the way of the aggressive or you know, you know, sticking up for yourself on a thing. Like, you know, sometimes just have a moment and go, well maybe I'm taking it wrong or maybe they actually meant it this way or maybe they're having a really bad day or you know, cause in the end you're there to support businesses and you know, usually the businesses who are, you know, not really wanting to listen to what you have to say are usually the ones who need the most help.

Amy Hooke (32:38):
Oh, I know.

Angie Martin (32:40):
Yeah. So it's one of those things that, you know, be the better business owner and make sure that you read up on things and talk to other business owners on the same, you know, doing bookkeeping. Cause, you know, it's something that everyone goes through and, you know, rise above it and create the strategies to avoid it. Learn what clients you don't want to work with. Yes, that's right. I know we have clients that only work with not for profit or only work with tradies or only work with corporate and there's reasons for that and that nothing wrong with that. Exactly. Yeah.