Find a ProAdvisor: How to Deal with Remote Inquiries

One of the best decisions I ever made was becoming a QuickBooks ProAdvisor® in 2002. At the time, I was working for an IT firm as their QuickBooks® consultant. Once I became certified in the program, not only did I feel more proficient, but I also was able to list my services in the Find-a-ProAdvisor site. This listing got me lot of attention and tremendously grew my consulting business.

You can leverage your QuickBooks ProAdvisor account to get local inquiries from your Find-a- ProAdvisor listing. One issue that I discovered was that these prospects were from many different industries. We would get requests from construction clients, nonprofit clients, real estate clients and so forth. It’s impossible for one person to be GREAT in every niche out there. To overcome this, I created my own directory of experts.

This way, if I got a lead that for a nonprofit, I had a ProAdvisor that I could collaborate with on those projects. This collaboration allowed me to grow my team, and they worked remotely with the client. Today, with the technology advancements, most projects can be supported from anywhere. We use two remote tools. For unattended access, we use LogmeIn, and for one-on-one training with the client, we use Zoom

When it comes to setting up inventory, especially QuickBooks Point of Sale, we often find the client may require more handholding and request that their project is done on-site, rather than remotely. We also find that projects with inventory can be very complex, and the client needs to invest in the proper team of experts in order to provide the best outcome for the project. Included in our directory of advisors, we have a CPA firm that has 50 ProAdvisors on staff that is able to take on these larger projects.

There are several things that you should keep in mind when qualifying a prospect:

  1. Do they require on-site support? Be sure to be upfront with the prospect that this will incur more fees for travel and explain how much they can save if they use the remote support option. Lay out the options and let them choose.
  2. What is their time frame? Is it reasonable? You don’t have to accept every project that comes across your desk if their time frame is unreasonable; however, if you have a ProAdvisor on your team that has availability, give them the chance to bid on the project.
  3. What pain points are they trying to solve? Ask for details and get an understanding about potential deal breakers. Do your research before you give the answer! You can say, “That’s a great question, let me circle back on that with you.”
  4. Create a resource network to answer these questions to be more efficient. Find a Facebook or LinkedIn group of experts you can trust.
  5. How much is their budget? Rule of thumb is that the budget should be two-and-a-half to three times the software investment. If the software is a monthly subscription, annualize the cost to do this calculation.
  6. Discuss where they need a team to help them with setup/installation, or are they going to have you coach them through the process? Will they have one staff member to do the heavy lifting such as setting up the inventory items and having you follow up weekly. Get a handle on whether this project is something you and your team can manage or if it might be too large.
  7. Who is the decision maker? It can really waste a lot of time talking to the wrong person and not the decision maker. Insist that person is on every call or demo. If unavailable, try to reschedule.
  8. Are they in the correct product? Often, we get prospects that have already purchased the product, and are not in the right one. Is your prospect willing to return their product and get the correct one, even if it costs more money?
  9. Is this an industry you support? Do you have a network of ProAdvisors you can collaborate with for this project? Get them involved early in the conversations with your prospect. At times, you can expand your practice by working with another ProAdvisor focusing on your area of expertise.
  10. Consider offering a workflow evaluation and charge for this. The client can use this plan for their project, even if they don’t hire you.  It gives you something to provide the client as a takeaway, and you are showing them your expertise at the same time.

QuickBooks Online was designed to be the back end financial accounting program that integrates with many different apps. By adding these additional apps, it can become more industry specific and it opens the door for more remote support work than ever before. However, it’s also tapping into hundreds of industries you may not have supported before. We highly recommend building a group of go-to experts that are willing to take on projects that are not your specialty. This is where the magic happens – when you send a referral you are likely to get them in return. Be sure your connections know what you specialize in so that you can do more of what you love.

What you really want when you are finished with a project is a happy customer! No need to struggle taking on a client and not being prepared to support them. Grow your business through collaboration. We are better together.