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The Radical Approach to Bundling Services

Via LinkedIn : How do you take that tax planning, that small business exper­tise or whatever insight it is that you own and package it so it’s similar to a product? That’s what the next generation of firms has figured out how to do.

I started doing this pre-cloud. I had to figure out a way to keep my customers engaged with me all year without doing book­keeping because I didn’t want to do bookkeeping. I productized my year-round tax services.

I also took every piece of work I could take outside of tax season and separated it from the tax return. We do the work outside of tax season and charge for it as a separately stated item. Today, so many firms are still doing accounting cleanup work that can be done outside of tax season in tax season and they’re not charging for it separately. I’ve heard firm leaders say, “Oh, that’s part of doing a tax return.” No, it’s not. Getting accurate books before you do a tax return should be priced and completed outside of tax season. It shouldn’t clog up your firm in March.

So again, it comes back to what we’re selling.

  • Are we selling a tax return or a financial statement?
  • Are we selling small business or niche expertise?
  • Are we selling management support and confi­dence or
  • are we selling knowledge or time?

I would argue to say that we’re selling a combination of all. The value doesn’t come in the tangible aka the tax return or financial statement or the tangible time. It comes in all the intangibles.

From a sales process, how are we able to change what we’re selling and highlight the intangibles as opposed to selling a tangible? It’s tricky and it’s where many CPAs get it wrong. They talk about the tangibles, the “This is what I’m selling you,” instead of focusing on the intangibles. From my perspective, it’s the intangible that creates the value and should receive a higher price.

Building A Bundle

How do you create a package of your services? You should have three packages. Purchasers always pick the one in the middle. It’s not rocket science. Just go with it. Don’t overthink it.

Our firm has an insightful package, the intuitive package, and the visionary package. Customer service is included.

So let’s say you know what it’s going to take from a tax, accounting cleanup, bookkeeping and payroll perspective. You’re going to add a fourth perspective of customer service because there’s added value in there and you need to price for it. Don’t leave it out!

The last piece or “add-on” when you’re bundling your package is the Pita Factor (Pain in the Ass) and that to me is the customer personality. There’s a general level of customer service that every package has to have and then I think there’s the customer personality profile that’s, you know, the pain in the ass customer. People will say, “Well, how do you know?” and I’m like “You know.” Come on. You know.

All of our contracts have 90 days for either side to get out. Within those 90 days, you should be able to figure out if it’s going to work. You should be able to assess if they require more handholding or if you completely blew your scope assessment. It’s also important to note that we price our ongoing packages and setup packages separately. We do this because we consider them two separate engagements.

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