Aug. 16-Sept. 12, 2010 | accounting today 29
Maximizing your wallet share
Make the most of your current clients
By LEE H. EIsEnstaEdt
That’s what maximizing wallet share is all
about. “Wallet share” refers to your share of a
client’s total spend on all of the services you
offer. It reflects your ability to penetrate more
deeply into and win more business from existing clients. And it’s an area that deserves
much more attention — and resources —
than most accounting firms give it.
Why, then, do we hear daily from firms
whose wallet shares are less than 50 percent?
Why do firms tell us so frequently that less
than 10 percent of their clients buy multiple
services from them — even when they know
their clients like and trust them and would
prefer to do business with them? There are
many possible reasons. For example:
You don’t offer the services that the cli-
Your clients aren’t aware that you offer
the services they’re purchasing from your
We all know that it can cost up to 10 times more to secure a
new client than to keep an existing one. Even once you secure
the new client, it can take years to realize a profit from them.
It only makes sense, therefore, to focus on building more busi-
ness with existing clients.
ents long before your competitors are even
aware they exist.
You know how to serve them. You already understand your clients’ corporate
cultures, their service expectations, the land-mines to be avoided, and what they value and
respect the most. With this knowledge, you
can jump ahead of your competitors.
You clearly have a lot working in your favor
with your existing clients. Here are three ways
to leverage those advantages and increase
your wallet share:
Increase your face time. The single most
effective way to grow your share of wallet is
to ask your most important clients to spend
an hour with you, at no charge to them. The
focus of this meeting will be the client; simply
ask them how their business is going. You’ll
be surprised what they’ll tell you. Our experience is that most companies are incredibly
proud of what they’re doing and are very
willing to talk to you about it. You will most
likely come away from these meetings with
many opportunities for additional work. Just
remember — focus on listening. Do not sell.
Develop and implement client service
plans. Another way to increase wallet share
is to develop client service plans for your top
five or 10 clients in each of your most strategic functions, or practices. Assemble teams
composed of people from different functions
(e.g., audit, tax and technology) and at different levels (e.g., partner, manager, etc.) so the
plan represents a broad view of the client.
Also, include someone on the team from a
practice area or industry unrelated to the client, so that you challenge the status quo and
take nothing for granted.
Quid pro quo. A third way to improve
wallet share is to focus on motivating your
own employees. Carve out a portion of your
incentive compensation for cross-selling and
up-selling to existing clients. Set some clearly
defined stretch goals, attach to them the opportunity to earn a meaningful incentive payment, and then get out of the way.
Summing it up, do not overlook opportunities that exist with current clients to increase
your wallet share and grow your revenues
and profits. Not only will you realize results
faster than you would by trying to attract new
clients, you’ll also see better client retention, more quality referrals, lower marketing
spending and more effective business development campaigns. AT
Gettry Marcus merges in Kremer
Details: Dennis B. Kremer is merging
his practice into Gettry Marcus Stern &
Lehrer, a CPA firm based in New York.
The merger is expected to strengthen the
litigation support and forensic accounting
practice of GMSL. GMSL has more than
70 professionals and 16 partners. Kremer
will operate out of the firm’s White Plains,
N. Y., office. Terms were not disclosed.
Deloitte merges in Canada’s Horne
Details: Deloitte plans to strengthen its
Southwestern Ontario practice by adding
35 staff through a proposed merger with
Horne LLP of Burlington, Ont. (not to be
confused with the Mississippi-based Top
100 Firm of the same name). Colleagues
in both firms have been working on the
transition. The merger was expected to
be completed late in July.
Your clients are splitting their spending
among several service providers to keep everyone honest and to avoid relying too much
on any one firm.
Of these, the second is the most common:
Your clients simply do not know about the
breadth and depth of your expertise. There’s
no excuse for that.
Mining the opportunities that exist within
your current client base should be moved up
on your list of priorities. These activities have
a high return on invested time because:
You have the relationships. Your current clients already know, like and trust you.
You’ve gained their trust and demonstrated
your expertise; you’re no longer seen as a
salesperson, but as a valued advisor with a
proven track record. More important, you
know the people who influence and make the
decisions about your services. It can take your
competition months or years to establish and
develop these high-quality connections.
You have access to information about
the client. You have inside knowledge about
your clients’ strategic and operating imperatives. You understand their strengths and
weaknesses. You’re in the enviable position
of being able to proactively propose solutions
to the unmet and emerging needs of your cli-
Carr Riggs merges in Cooper Graci
Details: CPA firm Cooper Graci & Co.
has merged with Carr, Riggs & Ingram
LLC, expanding CRI’s footprint into Texas
for a total of seven states. Cooper Graci’s
two locations in Austin and Georgetown
will now operate under the CRI name,
and their team will join CRI’s 550 partners
and staff. CRI has additional expansion
plans slated for 2010.
Lee Eisenstaedt is the founder and managing director of L. Harris & Associates LLC
( www.lharrisloyalty.com) and works with
leaders of accounting firms who want to increase their share of wallet with their exist-ingclients.Re ach him at lee@lharrisloyalty.
com or (262) 412-4710.
Doeren Mayhew merges in TR Moore
Details: Michigan accounting firm
Doeren Mayhew is expanding to Houston
by merging with TR Moore and Co. The
Troy-based firm is one of the largest in
its home state, but wanted to expand
to Texas and acquire more clients in the
Doeren Mayhew already services oil
and gas companies in Michigan, but
Moore has a much more substantial energy practice in Houston. They will retain
the TR Moore name in Houston for about
16 months, until September 2011.
Doeren has approximately 200 employees, while Moore has 45. Doeren currently earns nearly $40 million in annual
revenue and Moore nearly $8 million.