Small Market, Big Results
Jeff and I had some difficulty connecting for this interview, so Jeff ended up typing up his responses to my questions. Jeff has been an NCI student since early in 2003, when he first attended our Plan 1 Practice Development Seminar. Back then, he expressed interest in upgrading to the Plan 2 program. He recently did so and has been getting great results in a small, rural market. Jeff has also attended the NCI Advanced Processing Seminar, which he discusses below and also attended the NCI Advanced Training Conference held in Hilton Head, SC, in 2008.
How long had you been in business when you decided to undertake the NCI program?
I am a veteran of NCI, so to speak. I attended the Plan I Practice Development Seminar back in 2002 and toyed with the marketing program on and off for years before I decided to implement the Plan II in November of 2011.
What were the deciding factors in your choice to undertake the NCI program?
Back in 2002, the use of the internet and other marketing options were not as prevalent as today. I remember seeing some advertising in the Journal of Accountancy on the NCI marketing program. I enjoyed the training I received at the NCI Plan I seminar. More recently, I felt the NCI program is a good base foundation for marketing in 2011 and onward. I always found myself returning to NCI; their leadership and professionalism has not changed since 2002. It is the rock-solid foundation of my marketing program.
Approximately how much growth have you added since the implementation of the NCI program?
We have secured approximately 35 accounts within the first year, which equates to approximately $9,500 in monthly recurring revenues, or approximately $113,000 a year in new recurring revenue.
What was your biggest concern before signing up for the program?
My biggest concern with us being confined to a smaller market was whether it would be successful? I also had concerns over the cash flow required for the program.
What has been your biggest challenge in running the program?
My two main challenges have been keeping a full prospect list for my appointment-setting effort due to market constraints and, also, having personnel prepared for processing this kind of growth.
What advice would you give to someone considering this program?
You must have the right expectations. This is a program that works and takes resources to get off the ground. All of the various NCI programs are the same system and they all work. The Plan 2 program that I invested in places the critical aspect of hiring and training the right sales representative in NCI’s hands, as opposed to trying to handle that yourself.
What advice would you offer to someone currently running the program or just starting in the program?
Give the program a chance to work. Remember, if serviced properly, these clients will be with you three to five years at a minimum. So, when things get tight, remember the long-term goals of why you are securing a client and the future payoffs, along with the current ones.
What is the largest client signed up in terms of the client’s approximate annual revenues?
One of the largest clients we have secured has been an electrician with gross revenues of several million a year.
What is the largest client in terms of monthly accounting fees that you’ve obtained to date through the marketing program?
Our two largest clients to date are one for $875 a month and one for $950 a month.
What is the largest amount of backwork you collected from a single client?
The largest amount of backwork so far was from a profitable corporation that has not filed corporate returns for 10 years nor kept accounting records during that time. The owner simply stated he was too busy making money to handle the accounting and tax work. We were to take a large load off of him. We requested an initial backwork payment of at least $3,000, with more to come.
Are you surprised by the growth you have been able to achieve during a very difficult recession?
I am not surprised as this is why I chose NCI. I knew the recession would affect many people and I wanted to have something to fight back with. Many other firms are trying to hold onto the business they have. We are actively growing because of the growth the program is generating.
Regarding attending the NCI Advanced Processing Seminar:
What was it that compelled you to attend that seminar?
I knew that the growth would come from the marketing program. This type of processing is not typical of many CPA firms. You must be able to process the work to be profitable and to deliver the services in a timely manner. A seasoned NCI CPA firm that can validate first-hand doing this type of work and how to process it efficiently (referring to Duane Gravely, who developed the NCI processing program) was a very compelling reason to attend.
What did you gain by attending?
I gained the viewpoint and starting point for processing this type of work.
What was your biggest challenge with processing before attending?
Having the typical CPA firm mentality towards this work and processing. This has to be done with the right people following the right processes.
Please sum up your feelings on Duane Gravley and his marketing program.
I have modified some things since attending back in 2003. However, it is a good foundation for handling this type of work and giving you the confidence that is can be managed.
Jeff, I would just like to thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to fill out these responses. I look forward to touching base in the future to conduct a live interview and update our readers on your ongoing success!
Chris Clark is the oldest son of New Clients Inc. founder and CEO Bruce Clark. He has worked as a Senior Account Executive at NCI for the past four years. During that time he has presented at the Practice Development Seminar on Internet and E-mail marketing and he also plays the prospective client during the seminar role play sessions. Chris also edits and contributes to the NCI newsletter, New Client News.