Friday, November 20, 2020

CPAs and Selling – Not Always a Perfect Match


In one of the classic scenes of the 70s sitcom “Happy Days,” Richie Cunningham is on a dating dry spell and his self-confidence is hovering at an all-time low. He enlists his pal and womanizer Fonzie for help to jump-start his love life but to no avail. When Fonzie instructs him to approach a pretty girl in a booth at the local greasy spoon, he responds with an opening line of “You don’t want to go out with me do you?”

Some folks are simply not salespeople – whether selling themselves or services. Throughout my career I have met more than a few of what I would call “platinum-level” salespeople. During a  brief job tenure at a health club chain many years ago, the head of sales was a sultry, turquoise-eyed redhead named Joan, who literally could market a lifetime membership to the folks starring in the reality show “my 600-pound life.”

With a husky voice reminiscent of a prime Lauren Bacall and the body of a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, she had most drooling male members signing on the dotted line within minutes. And truth be told, she was equally effective with potential female members as well. It was no surprise she easily led the company in sales year after year.

Ditto for a salesman at a local car dealership. While my wife and I waited “on deck” to be waited on, I watched as he not only closed a deal in minutes but got a young couple to agree to every conceivable upgrade that model could offer. The dealership manager later confided to us that the man sold 267 vehicles the prior year, which comes out to 1 sale every 1.4 days.

Sadly, salesmanship is not a skill that most CPAs possess.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

I must be moving up in the world – only nobody told me!


I have this habit that I execute on Monday mornings. I clean out my junk mail folder on Outlook which is, for some reason, strangely empty on Friday afternoon and yet by Monday morning at 7 am, is stockpiled with offers and pitches for products, edgy publication subscriptions and health aid testimonials that for decorum let’s just say they claim that once ingested, will make Casanova seem like a middle school wallflower.

But lately the spam mails have been going upscale.

Where I once received regular solicitations from my local Volkswagen and Kia dealers, last weekend I received an invitation to come down to a Mercedes dealer and check out their new and used 550 series. Since that model’s MSRP is roughly $95,000, some marketer somewhere must have inadvertently added another zero to our adjusted gross income.

Truth be told it was sort of flattering, nonetheless. But it gets better.

Apparently, someone in auto cyberspace thinks that our financial profile fits the dream customer and thus I received another luxury car offer – this one from one of the premier vehicles currently manufactured. The Bentley.

Now I have been in a Bentley exactly once in my lifetime and I can readily attest to its justifying an average price tag of $200,000 and up. From a hand-stitched leather interior, mahogany dashboard, 12-cylinder high performance engine and top-of-the-line Breitling clock, a routine tune-up and oil change would most likely run comfortably in four figures. And trust me, you cannot insure it with a Geico policy.

Well as much as I would have liked to preserve those emails for posterity, I had little choice but to delete them into the circular file of cyberspace.

But wait, there’s more!

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Don’t Play the Waiting Game!

Last week I was privileged to teach a class on succession for one of the major software vendors to the accounting profession. The session like most everything in the era of COVID-19 was held virtually – a major disappointment because the annual three-day confab was initially scheduled to be held in Florida – which would have been a welcome respite to what is heretofore been a bit of a frosty fall in the Northeast.

You don’t need to enroll in a CPE class to know that we are living in unprecedented times – the coronavirus has impacted every facet of daily life and its eventual effect on the economy may yet far exceed that of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

As is customary the webinar provided a Q&A box for attendees who were certainly not hesitant to pepper me with questions – particularly those related to succession planning amidst the pandemic.

But perhaps the question that really drew my attention was when one participant wanted to know if they should be doing anything differently regarding succession in the face of the national crises. Should we be putting it off?

I thought about that for a moment and in an oversimplification, I quickly answered “no.”

And basically, that was my response.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Say Scram to the Spam!

Last week marked a robocall milestone at Chez Carlino.

Over the course of a workday – this one beginning promptly at 8 a.m. and ending somewhere around 6 p.m., I received a total of 13 robocalls. Let me repeat that for emphasis: THIRTEEN! And sadly, they were equitably divided between my home and business lines.

Now I know as Election Day approaches most of you not surprisingly, have received calls from various political parties and candidates soliciting donations. And on this day, the Republican and Democratic National Committees accounted for six of those 13 calls.

The others were an eclectic mix of expiring car warranties, local business listing upgrades, one from a weight loss clinic in Philadelphia (which I took personal umbrage to) and the other from a chimney cleaning service.

Well that may be one I can use.

But there is hope for those who feel my pain. At least on the business side of things.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

No Medals for Trying


Friday, October 9, 2020

Client Service or Client Disservice?


It was the best of times it was the worst of times.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

That Dreaded C Word!


Legendary investor Warren Buffet once remarked that writing a check was the difference between making a commitment and participating in a conversation. Or, breaking it down in simpler terms, take a basic recipe of ham and eggs. One can surmise that the chicken participated, whereas the pig made a commitment.