TSBK - Episode 82 - Sharon Francisco.png
Listen on iTunes
Listen on Spotify
listen on Google Podcasts
Listen on Stitcher

Lack of confidence.

Some bookkeepers don't believe they are good enough to close a deal or get a sale.

According to Sharon Francisco, who used the Pure Bookkeeping System to increase the success of her bookkeeping business and is making her return appearance on our show, you need to find strategies that will give you confidence and take the pressure off of you so you can make the focus all about your clients. 

Having a 90-day plan and building a relationship with customers are key to gaining their trust and will make things easier for you.

Be patient.

If you want to grow your business, you have to understand it doesn't happen overnight.

It takes time.

During this interview, you'll also discover...

  • The importance of creating your own style

  • Why focusing on having a plan will increase the demand for your service

  • Why eliminating negative and unhealthy stress can put you in a great position

To read Sharon's blog post, How To Sell Without Being Salesy, visit here.  

To check out Sharon's checklist, go to this link

To see her LinkedIn page, explore here.

To check out her previous Successful Bookkeeper podcast episode, listen now


EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION

Michael Palmer: 01:23 Welcome back to The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. I'm your host, Michael Palmer, and today's show is going to be a great one. It is always a delight when today's guest visit the show. She's from Brisbane, Australia and has over 25 years of experience with small business specializing in both business development and supporting business owners to achieve their goals. Recently she spent four years building a systems-driven bookkeeping business from two bookkeepers to 12 using the pure bookkeeping system. Sharon Francisco, welcome back to the podcast.

Sharon Francisco: 02:02 Thank you, Michael. What a lovely introduction.

MP: 02:04 Well, it's always for lovely guests like you. So welcome back and we've got some awesome things to chat about today. But uh, before we jump into it, for those that have not heard the previous episode where you joined us, tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey to being Sharon Francisco today.

SF: 02:28 Okay, well, Gosh, right. I'll start. I, you know what, it always makes me smile, Michael, when I talk to about, you know, anything to do with bookkeeping and accounting because that seems to have been my world for the last six years. And I'm certainly, you know, the whole journey of the last 25 years is helping business owners grow businesses. And I think, you know, I put my money where my mouth was and, and, and stepped in as a partner with my sister in laws, bookkeeping business to help her grow out. And look, it makes me smile because I'm the most unlikely person to be hanging out with. And accountants say, I'm just not a numbers person. I, I've always shied away from numbers, not particularly comfortable, but hanging around people that are good with numbers. Like accountants say, yeah, look, I went into partnerships just to help my sister more build the business.

SF: 03:15 And um, it was just her and a part-time bookkeeper. Yeah. Look, at the time I had a rough idea what I was going to do. I sort of, you know, I, my, my philosophy around building businesses is just, you know, massive action. I think there's, there's some sort of, um, research that suggest that 80% of marketing doesn't work. So, you know, you've got to find that 20. So I just launched myself, you know, at the business and I guess with the pure bookkeeping system, that was really helpful as far as having a system to be able to use to do that. So, so I guess when I first went in there, I didn't have a massive sort of game plan. I saw. Yeah, I saw the pure bookkeeping books on the shelf and as tenure what they were and got in contact with Deb and said, hey look, this is what my plans are. What do you suggest? And Deb just said, just, just, you know, implement the system, follow the system. And definitely that's what I did definitely with the HR. So the human resources side to recruit the bookkeepers and then, you know, at the sales and marketing, definitely, I just, I literally just followed the system to build a business. So, yeah,

MP: 04:23 I just love this story and uh, thanks for sharing it again. But it, you know, the, the magic and power of building a system driven business is your story just really highlights that is that when things are, are built to be repeatable by anybody, it unlocked so many things that, you know, people often say, oh, you know, I don't want a business where I, you know, I feel like a robot and I have to do the same thing every single day. And it's the complete opposite of that. It's like the things that don't need attention, the things that shouldn't be repeated by anybody, just get done the way they're supposed to get done. And that leaves so much more room for creativity and for doing things in a way that's even better, supporting customers in a better way. And so it really allows a business to flourish and blossom, which I just love.

MP: 05:13 And, and your, your story is just such an excellent one coming from a non, not being a bookkeeper but coming into a business and saying, look, my task is to grow this business. Let's do it now. You know, we've talked about that in the last episode. People can, uh, our listener, you're listening right now. You can go back, don't, don't stop yet, but listen to this episode. Then go back and listen to Sharon's episode and listen about how she did that and, and you'll get some great, great insights into how to take massive action in your business. I think that's a massive takeaway from that episode. But in this episode, really wanted to tackle sales because sales for you, when you got started, it was a bit daunting. You mentioned that in the last episode, how, you know, it was, it was like, how do you, how do you go do this? And I know many of our listeners struggle with this and in your experience with bookkeepers, how hard is it for them to connect with people? And why do you think that is?

SF: 06:10 Yeah, I actually think that I kind of channel bookkeepers a little bit as far as that fear around, around silos because I guess my natural skillset is, yeah, business development. I've been doing it all my life and helping businesses grow, but I think I can really identify with bookkeepers around the fear with that or not wanting to get myself out there or appear too salesy because I guess I didn't feel comfortable around, you know, accountants and bookkeepers and, and that whole world. So I guess it's good for, for bookkeepers to know that even though, you know, my skill set is in sales and marketing, I didn't feel comfortable, you know, going out and meeting accountants and I think that's why I developed a strategy to make it work and obviously following Deb system, you know, helped but in my head to feel, to feel confident. I actually, um, I tried to make it all about them so I'd come up with like ideas of take the focus of me in meetings.

SF: 07:13 So if I went to sign up a new client or an account meeting or a networking function, I just have little strategies to, to try and make it all about them rather than me to make the fear, I guess dissipate a little bit when I was in the meeting. So I guess one of my little tricks we tell, I've used all my life really in different industries, but I always have like two or three questions up my sleeve to try. And I mean the first thing was to try and take the focus off me, but also I guess what happens when you ask questions of an accountant or a potential client or at a networking function, you actually, that actually is the beginning of the interaction and the connection and what happens. I think once you start that, that's where the synergy starts to happen.

SF: 07:57 They start building trust. They get to know you as a person, but without those, yeah, just two or three and all you, I guess a lie I did beforehand was have a think about what those simple two or three questions would be. And I think one of the most powerful questions I would ask an accountant and certainly, you know, signing up new clients and at networking functions, but the main ones that I was scared over the accountants. So, um, the main question I'd ask is what's your biggest frustration at the moment with the bookkeeping that you're experiencing? So if they had in bookkeepers or they had one or two contract bookkeepers, I would want to get right into a conversation around what their biggest frustration was. And it's a really good question because people love to talk about their frustrations and what's not happening the way that they'd like it. So that sort of opens up a beautiful conversation where that then starts to flow. And if you've got two or three questions behind that, that just makes it a lot easier to, I guess, build that relationship with the accountants.

SF: 09:02 You know, it is, it's, it's really, it speaks to a, you're preparing yourself, setting yourself up to be able to overcome any kind of barriers that you feel that you have, which puts you in a better position to have a great experience with them. And so it's what I loved about your blog posts that you wrote recently, which was called how to sell without being salesy. I just absolutely love that title. How to sell without being salesy. And I want to read. I want to read the beginning of that and we're going to make this available to you, listener. On this episode, you'll, you'll have a link to get to that blog post and as well, you'll get a link to a checklist so that you can actually, every time you go out into a situation where you may not feel comfortable, where there may be selling cars, when you're trying to get people to refer you business, like if you're building relationships with a referral partner, you're selling.

SF: 09:59 When you're talking to a prospect, you're selling. When you're talking to a current customer, you're selling, guess what? You're always selling. You're always selling. It doesn't matter where you are, it doesn't matter who you're with, you're selling something, an idea. You're trying to move things forward for yourself in a certain way. So I'm going to read the beginning of this, and I think it's a really powerful blog post, and I think it'll give all of all of you a chance to just take a deep breath and go, ah, this doesn't have to be that difficult. So here it is. Most people absolutely hate the thought of sales or trying to sell someone their product or service. We'd like our reputation, hard work and non salesy approach to speak for themselves to grow our business. The truth is you can build a business with just those three approaches but not very big and not very fast usually. So here are my tips to make conversation about your business result in a sale and for it to feel natural and not pushy.

MP: 10:56 Doesn't that sound awesome? And I totally agree with that, Sharon. Uh, what a way to open it up. So let's you know, why did you write this blog post?

SF: 11:06 Oh look, I, because I've spent I guess the last, the best part of the last six years really hanging out with accountants and bookkeepers. I, it's one of the things that I keep hearing from business owners wanting to grow their business and not just bookkeepers and accountants. But yeah, holistically, business owners hate the thought of being salesy. They don't like the feeling of like, okay, so now it's time to end the feeling that you have when you think that you have to go. And sell your product or service is horrible. So I wanted to, you know, I just came back to what, what I've done in my life I guess almost naturally. And because I've always, I don't know why, but I've always just come back to a business development type role or taught people about business. And I think the reason our written is is to try and capture what it is that makes us sales process not feel salesy and to to I guess highlight that everyone can do it.

MP: 12:07 It's just a matter. And I think, and I sort of go into it in the, in the blog a little bit, but creating your own style and being you no matter what that is. So you don't have to be, you know, sales dark superstar sort of thing yourselves superstar with that, it's actually just creating your own style and being, being you. But I think sometimes we don't know what our own style is. So that's tricky. So I guess, you know, three simple points in this blog that just help you, I guess, get your thinking right around what sales is and how you can make it feel really natural and nice to be able to just talk about you and your business and, and be really authentic about it. So that's why I did it. Beautiful. Let's, let's dig into, into this. How can our listener, so without being salesy?

SF: 12:58 Yeah, so I guess the first one, um, we just spoke about, and I touched on a little bit at the beginning of the call, that it is all about them. So if you're going into a meeting, making the conversation about, you know, the prospect, the accountant, the person that you're meeting at the network function. And if you go in, in that way, I think it just takes all the pressure off. You feel like, well, all I need to do is have two or three quick things up my sleeve to be able to ask, to open up the conversation. And I think that it's also really important with that. When you know it's all about them, they're just as scared as you generally. So, or they're just as anxious. That's what at the end of this blog post, I've put in a Youtube video to help, I mean it's a six-minute youtube video that explains how to connect with people.

SF: 13:43 I think people just struggle with connecting. I think the second one is really remove the pressure from yourself and, and the way I've done this and I've just, you know, I've just taken out all the little tricks that I've had in my little briefcase over the years of making me feel like when I actually do arrive to two cell and, and let's face it, when we're in small business, we need to sell to build our businesses. So, and it's just, it just feels achy when you talk about that. So I like to be able to almost trick myself into feeling like, you know what, I'm just going to have a chat. So removing the pressure and the way that I've done this, and I've highlighted it in the blog, is be organized. So for me to be organized, and this is how it'd be your going to feel organized, but for me to have a plan on what you're going to do is that is the biggest thing for me.

SF: 14:34 90 day plans work three months. I can see that I can make a difference in, in three months. So I'll write down and obviously, you know, I had dibs sales and marketing system, so I just took those, those strategies and go, I had a plan of like, okay, what am I going to do every week? So if it's for me, because I wasn't doing the bookkeeping, my plan was to do five accountants meetings a week and various other strategies that Deb suggested. But that was my main goal of what I wanted to achieve. So for the three months ahead of me, I knew that I had to get five accountants meetings a week. So that took the pressure off. Yeah. I'd go out tomorrow with an accountant's meeting and if he said, look, you know, we've got our own. Okay bears. No, we're not interested. Yeah, no problem.

SF: 15:19 Next, I just had that feeling of, you know what? I've got this plan that I'm, I'm executing. I know that 80% of it's probably not going to work. I'm just looking for the 20% so that removed the pressure for me. It wasn't like every account's meeting I needed to get them to refer to me or every prospect meeting I needed to get that sale. I had a three month plan that, you know what, if I don't get this next one or the next three, that's okay. I'm just getting those out of the way to find the one that's going to sign or the one that's going to refer. So I think that it's a simple numbers game and if you make it about the numbers and you make it about the plan and you just follow it, you take away the pressure. And that's massive.

MP: 16:05 I think so too. You know, it's kinda similar to what we talked about in the first bit was B, having a plan, being prepared, putting things at ease at when you relieve the pressure, then all sorts of things become available. There's new, your brain can work on new problems, not, you know, worried about what's happening and everything. It has a gestation period, right? So it's not like, you know, you plant a seed and tomorrow you've got apples growing in your backyard off a tree. There's years and years and years that take that seed to go through and all sorts of steps and it, all sorts of things that need to happen. It's so different in business. If you want more sales, if you want to grow a business, all of your future visions for your business begin with little seeds that you apply certain things to like watering, watering might be there for, in the case of selling is doing the planning and then you need to go out and take those different actions.

MP: 17:02 But if, if you start today, well down the track, you're going to like sales are just going to happen instead of worrying about it or being stressed about getting sales in the future. So even if you don't need clients right now, which I do hear that often people say, chief, you know I've got enough clients, I'm already busy. Well if that's the case, you don't want any more growth, well congratulations you have arrived. But if you want to grow, you want to add staff, you want to have a business that goes beyond just yourself. You can't sort of say, you know, put everything on hold and stop taking clients. Otherwise your business just sorta plateaus. So I think it's, it's to focus in what I would put say is focusing on doing these steps and increasing demand for your service so that you can be selective as to the type of clients you get. Only take the very best clients and refer the, the rest on to other people that perhaps are in your own networking cycle or bookkeepers that you know that are really great. So really great thinking around removing the pressure, you know, anytime we can remove the pressure, we put ourselves in a great position. So what's next?

SF: 18:20 Yeah. And also just to add onto that Michael, it's, that's really the key by um, removing the pressure, giving yourself time you do.

MP: 18:30 And I think that's the absolute key, what you just said, where you then get to choose the clients you want and obviously you take the time prior to starting to build your business or taking that step to growing it is figuring out who your ideal client is. So when you're out there meeting people, you know, okay, so this person for us was, you know, our ideal client was minimum of 15 hours a month of bookkeeping, 15 to 25 was our ideal. So when you're out doing your presentations, you, you've got a beacon of okay, this is what I'm looking for. And then you get to be choosy because you've got this plan and that again, that removes the pressure. You feel empowered almost to go out and look for this person or these this particular client or referring accountant and that that is just gold. If you've got that set up already, it just makes it beautiful and, and a business that you love working with.

SF: 19:20 Yeah, like I, I think I want to stress upon it. I mean anything in life that causes negative stress, unhealthy stress, like there are positive stress and good stresses of course, but anything that causes negative stress, like clients that you don't like working with or they work in a business that you're not really in con, it's not congruent with who you are. Anything like that is like putting a rock in your backpack and if you're carrying around this backpack and you throw a whole bunch of rocks in it, you're going to find that by lunchtime you're drained. And so if you get rid of those people or things that are in your life that are not positive, creating positive stress but creating negative stress on you, you're going to notice when you remove those by five o'clock, you can feel like, wow, I don't feel like I've worked a day.

MP: 20:12 And I noticed that. I mean, so many people I've spoken to after we've helped them get rid of, you know, deadwood clients and clients that just are not nice people to deal with and uh, are high maintenance and all that good stuff. They just, it's not, they're actually working harder, but they feel like they're working less. I mean, they're, they're getting to the end of the week and, and not being drained. So this is a really key thing and I, I want everyone to be thinking about this is fill up your business with people, people that you love working with that itself. If you just did that would make a massive difference for you, your life and Jay, the person that goes away from work at the end of the day, home to their family is going to have so much more energy to actually then spend it on the whole point, which is your family, your loved ones, the things that you like to do, your friends, your, your network. You can go into that world with a lot more energy. So there's a lot to this benefits, fringe benefits to getting great clients. And one of the secrets to getting great clients is to be the one that's in control about who you're picking and choosing. Love it.

SF: 21:27 Yeah. And to by default you're, you're framing up with people exactly what you're looking for. So accountants meetings and become, you know, it rolls off your tongue exactly what you're looking for. So then it frames up with them. Okay, oh well, you know, whatever business, you know, whatever you're doing, you can, they think, okay, that's the sort of client that Sharon was looking for. I'll refer this one to her because she, she is looking for this, she's specializing in whatever industry. So you're, when you're really clear about what it is that you want, you actually project that across to other people. So then you're sowing the seed with them or what you're after. So then by default that happens. If you tell that to five accounts a week, your business starts getting filled up with the sort of clients you're after because you've expressed that and it's, it is magic out happens. It's just a decision and it's confidence too. It's confidence in what you want to build and that, that confidence comes from, you know, just getting, removing the pressure and making a plan.

MP: 22:24 Yeah. And I love that. And I just did another point. It's kind of funny how we've gone way off. It's selling, it's up. We're talking about the benefits of selling now, but there are some good, some good thoughts here. And being able to say no to the wrong client is such a powerful milestone and any business owners really in anybody's life is to be able to say yes, no who you're going to say yes to and know who you're going to say no to the minute you say no, even though saying yes to that particular person might be more money, could even be a lot of money, but to say no. It's reinforcing of what, where you're going in your life and that is a moment that I guarantee if you anybody that's either had it or is about to have it. If you look at your life after where you've powerfully said no to what's not right for your life, a whole bunch of yes is going to come in front of you and it's going to light up the progress.

MP: 23:24 I actually just, I have a very close friend who is just in the last, let's call it six months, started a construction business and he recently said no to a really large job, but he really investigate. He knew, he knows exactly. He's done the work and knows exactly what kind of clients he wants to work with. And he looked at that job and he said, okay, this is going to a lot of money, but there's all these things that are going to actually could blow up and make this a terrible idea for me to take this on. And he said, no. And I, you know what, I can just see he is, he is it positioning himself to do really, really well, build a really, really great business because he's clear, he's clear about it, and he's actually sticking to the plan and doing it.

SF: 24:05 Yeah. And, and what happens, and I think you can, it's, so, it's such a confronting thing, Michael, but when you actually, when you're really honest with yourself, you look yourself in the mirror and say, okay, what is, what does my business really look like? And if it's, you know, you've got high debt as you've got clouds that you don't want to work with, all of the things that you really don't want. It's, it's not just one thing that you've done. It's the small decisions you've made along the way that don't feel like they're that big of a deal. So for your friend, it's like, you know what, it's not that big of a deal. It's good money. And then the next one and the next. So that those small little decisions add up to where you are actually right now with everything, with what your bank account looks like with what your business looked like, with what sort of clients you've got with what. So what a book, what's it of bookkeepers that you've got working for you? All of that is, is the result of this small little decisions you've let go through the gate all along the way to get to where you are. And that's what's so tricky about it because it just feels annoying that those little decisions can have such a big impact on your life. Right?

MP: 25:17 It is amazing. And I'm just sitting here thinking about that for so many people and as well for my, for myself in my own life and looking at it and, and uh, it just recently looking back in the last six months, just made a conscious decision to remove a bunch of stuff from my life and create focus around one specific thing and say no to all these other things. And it's like, you know, it was almost like I woke up out of this fog as like, what was I doing? I look back now, it was like, what was I doing? What was I doing with all those other things that were just not creating or moving me towards the kind of life and doing the things that I want to be doing and living out into my purpose. I was like, wow, I just, it's almost crazy for me to look back now and go, wow, that whoever that was back there had some fog in their brain so it really, really can open things up.

SF: 26:13 And so, but what it took was for me to say and have the time to take step back and go, okay, what's working and what's not working? And then, you know, not that I came up with the answer, but it's determined at that time is like I'm going to be patient enough that the answer will come to me, that the answer will be there, but I know it's not right and I know it's not going in the direction I want and I'm not going have it go that way anymore. I'm going to find a way to have it go another way. And that really was six months ago. It took a couple of months to, actually, we're talking like eight, nine months ago. It took a couple of months to actually shift, but boom, something happened and it was like, okay, this feels better. This is a better direction for me.

SF: 27:02 And, and then it just started rollout and as like, yeah, I don't know exactly where I'm going, I, but I know I'm on the right track, but I feel lost. But it's not a bad loss. It's a good loss. And then it just kept road signs and things started popping up and, and uh, it led me in a, in a, in a place that, yeah, I cleared a lot of stuff out of the way so that I had B I was putting more position to do the things that were, were better until where I am today is I feel like I have like 1000 times more energy. I feel like every day I, I if I looked at okay if the last five days, the last 20 days, whatever it is, if I'm looking back it's like, you know what the last five days in like every day.

SF: 27:43 Like I'm finding that for me, I'm finding that I, I'd love to have three more days in this week, but that for me is almost like a measurement of wow, that's kinda cool. Like I'm afraid of the weekend, right? Cause I want to do more stuff and I've got lots of cool things that we're working on and so it really is powerful and amazing. I think it comes right back to you listener. Right? Is that what this whole podcast is really about? Is about you having the life that you want and the business that you want and, and to be inspired every day and to feel like, you know, what you're living, the life that you were meant to live and doing the things that you were meant to do. And it might not all be rosy because guess what? Mine, my life's not. And I know yours isn't Sharon. There's barriers and roadblocks and ups and downs and everything. But overall it's like, you know what, we're on a journey that it's sprayed, excited about.

MP: 28:39 Yeah. And I think the key thing with what you're saying there is the measure is if it's working for you or not. And that's getting really honest, honest with yourself. So ease what my business look like now working for me. And if it's not, you know, it's just, it's being brave enough to change it and those little steps along the way. And that's, I guess that's one of the last point on that on the blog that I've got is if you've got time, I think the biggest mistake that people think is that they've just got a, you know, they've got to get in and they've got to make it happen now. But you've actually got time. I guess the biggest thing that a lot of people worry about is when they go into a sales meeting, Dave, we bring it right?

SF: 29:18 Yeah. That's great. Back because we could go, this might be like six-part episode, so let's bring it back to actually not being, you know, selling without being salesy. So yeah, it's good.

MP: 29:28 Thank you. Sure.

SF: 29:30 Yeah. I just, I just feel I put it all ties in, right? I think all this ties into the bigger picture stuff because this is, these are the little beans. These are the little things that make the Di yeah. You're making on, um, that actually result in, you know, that life that's perhaps not all business. That's perhaps not what you wanted to be. So these are the little rocks that you've got to move to make sure you get to what you want. So, yeah, so look, I think the big thing with sales is that we're specially have, we're not, we're not comfortable with her. It's not our skills that, you know, if we're happy doing bookkeeping behind a computer to get out in front of somebody is a big thing. It's not, not an easy thing to do to sit in front of an accountant or a prospective client to say, this is who I am.

SF: 30:11 This is how great I am. And, you know, with my experience working with bookkeepers for six years, who gave his hate to say how amazing they are. So, um, and they are, I, I wish that I had half a bookkeeper's brain to be able to, to process the way they do, but I don't. So, um, so I think that what we do when we go into meetings, we do usually two things. We usually get straight to the sales pitch because we just want to get it over and done with look and feel. I mean, so much pain here. Let's just get straight to it. This is my prices, this is what I offer. This is all the, all the detailed stuff that obviously is not a great way to do it. And the other way is obviously, probably the more popular one is just to avoid the sales conversation altogether.

SF: 30:55 And you know, if you could just go and have a nice chat with someone and talk about you know, their business and make it so it feels, you know, just nice without asking for the sale at the end or without having a process, you're not going to get sales to the rate that you should. I believe. Um, and I did, I've devised this way to make, may feel better when I'm in sales meetings to make that whole process, not feel like, you know, the burning thing of what am I going to do, the sales, where am I, when am I going to talk about, you know, closing the close that people talk about and it says, what am I going to do that? So I just removed all that and um, basically figured out what my style is. And what I think is really cool is, you know, your Spiel, your listener style doesn't have to be my style and vice versa. So it's actually coming up with something that works for you. And what's good about this is it you can experiment with it. You don't have to have it right to get out and do it.

MP: 31:53 Yeah.

SF: 31:59 I know for me, and I'll just, what I'll do, Michael, is just run off a few things that I've done to make me feel absolutely fantastic when I'm walking to that meeting. So for me, I know I have a real need to feel prepared. So I know it was a pure bookkeeping system. There's a whole process of engagement letters and um, all the documentation you need to, to sign up a client. I would have at least six of those in my briefcase at any given time. So no matter where I was or what I was doing, I could just reach in and I had all that ready to go. If I was going to a prospective client, I'd have some of the paperwork partly filled out, you know, I'm always a sales person. You expect the style. So I have it all partly filled out with their name and such.

SF: 32:43 So then when they are ready to go, I've got it ready to go for them to, you know, to fill out, just basically sign it. Um, so being prepared and always, always, always, always for me, if I'm late, I am rattled in a meeting. So I always arrived 10 minutes early. I've just, it's, it's in my veins to do that because I don't want to feel rattled for some people they arrived just on time and it works for them, but that doesn't work for me. I've had this thing all my life, but uh, certainly with building the bookkeeping business and my thought process is with being the best dressed person in the room. So if I'm going to a networking meeting or meeting with it accountant or prospect, a prospect client for my business, I like to feel just like fantastic. So I do generally to make it economical for me.

SF: 33:32 I'll go out and spend a lot of money on a good suit, a good corporate suit. And um, that's the one I wear to all the meetings unless, you know, I have two networking functions and one to pull out some other different outfit, but I like to be really well presented and you know, all the things that go with that, like nice perfume, nice suit and just looking really presentable. What I like to do is leave a meeting being remembered and being remembered about how great you are as a bookkeeper or your bookkeeping company, but also how you present yourself to the world. I just think for me that makes a massive difference. The other thing that I think is really cool is most people Google's a business or an accountant before they go into get a bit of an idea of what they, what they, um, what they're about.

SF: 34:20 I would always look for things that made me curious or inquisitive and I'd come up with two or three questions that most people wouldn't ask. So I don't know what an example would be saved and accounting fam had on there on their website. They're points of culture. I would read the points of culture and pick out one or two things. And, and within the conversation we've weave into the conversation, you know, I really enjoyed reading your points of culture. Did you do that as a team or was that just the directors that did that? So I've just tried to come up with something that I could refer to from their website or something that I was curious about and that's my curiosity. Not, not everyone would be curious about that, but I always think it's interesting when you see, you know, points of culture and mission statement or what have you on a website. Like who did that? How did you come and do it? Was it a team day that you did do to come up with those points? And I was really interested in this one. So it was, so I'd open up a conversation around things that I was curious about, which led it led to getting to know them more and for us feeling more comfortable with each other I guess. So that's it. I, that's, that's really my, um, my little tips for feeling like I've got time and I set up my own style.

MP: 35:38 I absolutely love checklists and I just find that they give you a roadmap to follow and it's, it just, it takes all the thinking out of it so you can just be prepared and, and go and do your very best. And so I love that you've given us really, really great things to do, specific things to do, tactical things to do. And I know that we have as well, I mentioned earlier on, uh, on this episode a link to go and download the your not too salesy checklist, which I think is such a cool title, uh, which I recommend that all listener right now go and download that, read the blog, download the checklist, start applying this into your business right away. As we mentioned all throughout this episode, this, this stuff is really powerful, can really make a big difference for your business and get you going to where you want to get to and get more of the clients.

MP: 36:35 They absolutely love perfect clients for your business and say no to the ones that are not a fit for you. And I know what's going to make a big difference for you sharing this has been just absolutely great and I love the conversation that we have when we meet and when we do these episodes. It's so interesting to get your perspective and I'm going to love to have you back again. Cool. Cool.

SF: 36:53 Thanks Michael has been really great. Thanks for your time.

MP: 36:56 My pleasure. And I know that you're on the successful bookkeeper group on Facebook and I think that's a fantastic way. If it lists or if you have questions you want to interact with Sharon, just get onto the successful bookkeeper and uh, reach out to Sharon and say, Hey Sharon, I got a question for you. If it's around anything to do with growing your business, scaling your business. I know Sharon, such a generous person, would love to help you and have a conversation about that. So Sharon, until next time, we'll, uh, we'll say goodbye to you.

SF: 37:25 Yeah, thanks bye. It's been great talking to you.

MP: 37:28 You Bet. That wraps another episode of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. To learn more about today's guest and to get access to all sorts of valuable free business-building resources, you can go to Thesuccessfulbookkeeper.com. Until next time, goodbye.