I have been practicing accounting in Owensboro, Kentucky for the past thirty years. I started out working for another partnership, before opening my own office in 1984. Then, about six years ago, I bought another practice, bringing my number of employees up to eight.
I followed it up with buying an additional practice in 2002, boosting the overall size by another fifty percent. With the extra stress and workload caused by the additional practice, I was overwhelmed with all the work, so after the 2003 tax season, I called Sterling for their assistance.
I took the basic lineup of management courses and the office has become a lot more efficient as a result. The next year I followed it up with the communication and sales workshop.
I decided to do the communication workshop to help me expand into a new line of business. After three decades, I was quite comfortable with selling prospects on basic accounting services. But I had added financial services to my practice and now I was out of my comfort zone. That prompted me to do the Communication Course.
My biggest win during the course was a drill where I learned to communicate while under stress without losing my poise. I got the greater confidence I was looking for and was able to expand my comfort zone into the financial services area. Now I am able to talk to clients about their financial services without fear of rejection or getting nervous. I am able to start those conversations in a non-threatening way.
Any time you improve your self-confidence in one area, it can’t help but overflow into other areas of life. This was no different. The skills I gained at the workshop go beyond just selling financial services. I also use what I learned in dealing with both employees and clients on a daily basis. I can keep a better line of communication open with them in order to better understand their needs. There are unsaid words at times, and now I can hone in on what they are really trying to say.
I have also found it useful in dealing with people outside the office. Recently, for example, I was out in public and saw someone berate the employee of that establishment. Instead of just ignoring it and “minding my own business” I went and calmly talked to the upset person and defused the charged situation. This is something I never would have done before I took the Communication Course.
Doing this workshop gives you the opportunity to practice your communication and sales skills in a controlled environment, rather than when you are already under the stress of trying to close a new client or handle an upset employee. The drills and the exercises you do then flow right over into the real world. Once you have had that experience you start developing confidence in what you are doing and how you are communicating. I recommend it highly.
Alan Braden, CPA