In a recent IGNITE Session, I spoke with a client about how to increase revenues while adding much needed additional staff. The new hires are needed by the firm, but the concern was how this would effect the cost structure of the growing business. Their strategy was to pay these new employees more than any prior. The hope was they would deliver more, faster and be a part of the company’s growth. But most of the thinking here was that they would work faster and harder for the extra income. That’s not always enough. The solution here is actually quite simple. I advised the client that everyone around here should be selling!
Do all your employees aid in the sales process? Everyone from your administrative assistant, to bookkeepers, accountants, EAs, CPAs, staff and partners should be responsible for aiding in the sales process. Admin can manage the pipeline and email communications, field calls and direct prospects to setup consultation meetings and calls. They should be compensated accordingly. The production staff should each have a goal and some, a quota. You can compensate everyone in your organization for sales. Think Big…like a big 4 accounting firm (KPMG, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst and Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers.) Every newbie, manager and partner there sells. It’s the same in successful law firms. You become partner often because of your contribution to the firm and that contribution is usually measured in dollars, either by bringing in clients or doing amazing work that brings in new clients. Build compensation programs for those that achieve. Build upward growth paths for those that achieve the most. Be clear with your compensation plans and award those that follow the plan. Remind your staff that they, no matter where they are, can introduce new prospects to the firm and be rewarded accordingly. Also, make it clear that it’s expected of them. This is just how you operate. Hard work = cash money, a future and a retirement plan.
At schoolofbookkeeping.com, Seth and I work together on, well, just about everything. We both contribute content, support and sales. We are always seeking new scholars, partners and opportunities. We own the joint, so clearly we have the incentive to do so, without prodding. Your firm can do this too. While not everyone is going to own a piece of the company, they can hold stock options and be compensated for their commitment and contribution. They may not stay with you forever, but the better they are paid and the more they are part of the organization, the better result for all.
If you are considering adding additional employees and are concerned about how to pay them, hire them with a base salary and a commission and bonus plan. Provide them with a clear plan on how they can one day become a minority owner or partner of the company. Give them opportunity, hold them accountable and build your business like a big 4 accounting firm.