Observation 1: Most Accountants hate selling
Observation 2: Most Accountants are great listeners
Let’s face it, few of us enjoy ‘selling’ in the conventional sense of the word, it feels uncomfortable, you sense that the guard goes up when you begin discussing products and services that are over and above what your prospective client – or indeed existing client – feels they need from you.
In many cases, it can be easy to assume that existing clients are happy with what they have, they don’t need any of your additional services and so, to avoid coming across as ‘sell, sell, sell’ whenever you meet them, you stick to the purpose of the meeting – perhaps to go through draft accounts.
There are a few problems here though.
- Your clients are possibly missing out on products and services that you could offer to them because neither of you know they need them.
- I’ve seen this lead to a loss of client when they’ve talked to another accountant and that accountant has mentioned those additional services. The client moved away because they didn’t think their Accountant delivered services that they could.
- Conversely, rambling on about all of your products and services to every client is going to put them off and they won’t make a connection to what they need and what you’re offering.
Few Accountants are natural at ‘selling’ but thankfully most are great listeners and this is the more important trait. People don’t want to be sold to.
Regularly conversing with clients, asking them about their business, their lives, what’s consuming their time, what would they love to wash their hands of; by asking these questions and taking a genuine interest you build relationships up and trust.
If something has been mentioned in that conversation that you believe you can help with, then put it to them that you could help with that. Be it debt collecting, bookkeeping or having an external sounding board or virtual FD in their board meetings.
Making a connection to what they need and want to what you could offer and then discussing that isn’t salesy, it’s helpful. Likewise, it may be that you know other people, other clients or associates that could help them out too.
An AVN member sent me an email at the time of writing this post which I’ve included in this article. Note the highlighted area below.
I just wanted to say how much I appreciated doing the webinar with you, the brilliant video you sent me almost immediately after we’d finished, and the gift you sent me the very next day. To be honest, that all pretty much made my week and left me feeling truly valued (the contents of the hamper were pretty much demolished by myself, my team and some of our best clients within a couple of days). I have some before pictures which I will put on the Facebook group at some point.
I owe a lot to you and the team at AVN for giving a massive boost to both myself and the business. Once our latest two quotes for £5k a piece convert (which both have confirmed they will), our GRF will now be up by over 30% since we joined AVN (and our profits up by much more), However, more than that, it’s shocking that when I see clients I’m picking up far more that they want to be looked after and are willing to pay appropriately for that privilege. For example, just today I met with a client who we were originally charging roughly £1,000 pa for a set of accounts, a VAT return, and a personal tax return. As his main stress point was MTD coming and him and his wife spending more time bickering at weekends we already knew that he was likely to want us to take over his bookkeeping. What I didn’t realise that he would stick on the 4 star service after anchoring on the 5 star service. This ended up with his fees increasing to just over £5,000 pa which is insane.
I will be at the Masterclass with (at least) the two new team members.
Speak soon and a huge thank you once again!
Phil Tarbun FCA CTA MAAT ATT