“Lightning in a bottle” is how one firm owner described the power of People Advisory, which transformed his payroll service from a check-the-boxes compliance exercise into a comprehensive new category of advisory service.

A key part of that transformation? Communicating the power of People Advisory to his client base.  

Persuasive communication is built on something marketing experts call a messaging framework. It’s an internal document—not for clients to see in its raw form—containing a set of statements and facts describing why clients should work with you. 

Eventually, clients will see elements of the messaging framework, such as it’s structure and ideas. These will appear in things like bullet points on your website and the language of your emails. 

Read on to find out how to craft a powerful messaging framework.

People Advisory? Tell Me More.

People Advisory is a consultative service in which accountants pair their financial expertise with people operations to guide clients on building a great place to work. 

By putting people at the heart of your advice, you can help your clients and their teams with advice on payroll, benefits, and people operations that they need now.

Build a Messaging Framework

Develop your messaging framework using the following three steps.

  1. Define your value proposition. Your value proposition articulates the primary clientele for your services and explains why these clients should choose you instead of the competition.
  1. Gather your proof points. These are the reasons why clients should believe your value proposition, and often reference the services you offer. For example, if your value proposition involves improving employee retention, you could include proof points about analyzing engagement and morale.
  1. Explain your products and pricing. This tells clients how they can pay for your services and what they get at each price point.

Let’s dive deeper into each step.

Step 1: Define Your Value Proposition

Your firm’s People Advisory value proposition is the highest level description of how your service benefits your clientele. It’s an internal statement that informs the ideas and concepts you’ll include in your marketing materials, from talking points to website copy.

A robust value proposition should do four key things: 

  • Define your audience

Who is your clientele? Where are they located? What are their motivations?

  • State the general benefit

What does People Advisory help your clients do? What’s the most precise way of describing the business impact of your firm’s People Advisory Services?

  • Separate yourself from the competition

How does People Advisory make you different from other accountants and bookkeepers?

  • State the specific benefits

What are the main benefits that People Advisory provides clients? Think of these in terms of problems you’re helping to solve.

Take a look at this example…

Step 2: Gather Your Proof Points

Once your value proposition is in place, gather and organize all the reasons why clients should believe your value proposition is true.

Imagine you’re approaching a client about signing up for a recurring People Advisory Package. They’ll probably want to know exactly what services are included, and what business value they each have. That’s where your proof points come in. You can use proof points as bullet points in a phone conversation, as supporting evidence in a blog post, or on your website.

Organize proof points by theme, based on the specific benefits you articulated in your value proposition. 

Here’s an example based on the value proposition above…

Step 3: Explain Your Products and Pricing

Once you’ve defined the benefits and proof points of your People Advisory practice, it’s time to explain how clients can access and pay for them. This means articulating the concept of People Advisory and People Advisory Packages.

An extract from some messaging…

When you’ve reached this point, you’re ready to start sharing your messaging with clients.

People Advisors in Practice

Find out how your peers got the word out to clients and communicated the value of their new services.

Kenji Kuramoto, Acuity

Kenji’s team identified his target audience as clients facing retention and turnover issues. These are clients who are all growing fast but churning through a lot of people. Acuity’s messaging focused on these pain points, and through this, clients understood the value of People Advisory immediately.

Josh Lance, Lance CPA Group

Josh found communicating the value of his People Advisory Services very straightforward.

Clients generally responded with, “That’s exactly what I need, and I don’t have a problem paying for it.”

Nikole Mackenzie, Momentum Accounting

“The Gusto platform is so easy; some clients don’t want to hand over running payroll. If they have a simple workforce, for example, 5 salaried employees, we need to work out what the value prop is for them. Low hanging fruit are those where payroll is painful, because of rapid growth, high turnover or hourly employees”.

Michael Ly, Reconciled

Michael’s team asks a few key questions to uncover client pain points around their people. He uses these insights to understand the problems his People Advisory practice helps clients solve, so he can articulate the general and specific benefits of People Advisory in his value proposition. 

The Time Is Now

In a time of heightened awareness around physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing, small business employers need the help of a People Advisor to create a modern workplace that attracts and retains high performing talent. Through reimagining your payroll practice you have the opportunity to meet the needs of clients head-on while also realizing important opportunities for your own team and firm.

Gusto’s People Advisory Accelerator Program provides the training and tools needed for firm leaders to develop People Advisory packages, and to staff, price, and sell them so that you can drive recurring revenue at your firm. In addition to teaching best practices, the program provides 25+ turnkey tools and templates so that you can implement what you’re learning, immediately. You’ll even earn 4 CPE credits in the process. 

You and your team can build your foundation on people operations best practices through becoming People Advisor Certified and earn 5 CPE credits. Learning the fundamentals of payroll, benefits, and people operations provides the knowledge and confidence to deliver a consistently high-value service.

By launching your People Advisory practice you’ll join a community of 2,000+ Certified People Advisors who are a part of the positive change the accounting profession and economy needs now.

Jaclyn Anku Jaclyn is the Partner Education Manager at Gusto. She started her career as a small business consultant and is passionate about teaching small business owners financial literacy and arming them with great advice. Before joining Gusto, she led business education for accountants and bookkeepers at Xero. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Oakland, CA.
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