In Selling, and Campaigning, Always be Last

Some CPAs and consultants face a multiple selection process when courting a client.  Smart professionals don't get involved in these situations as they can be time consuming and costly.

Many of our peers get sucked in, however, to situations they cannot sell as they can't diagnose this trap ahead of time.

I remember a manager from a Big 5 accounting firm approaching me at a session of “The I-Hate-Selling Course” I was conducting at his office. “If I just would have known this 6 months ago, I wouldn't have wasted 200 hours of time trying to close XYZ University (one of the top schools in the country). I didn't have a chance, but I didn't know it."

However, if the selling opportunity is legitimate and it is a client you really want, you may have to suffer through a multiple choice process.

In that case, there is a certain position that will enhance your chance of winning: last.

If you want some good sales training rent "Other People's Money." The great Gregory Peck is the last heir of a company going back over a hundred years.  Located in a small town, the shareholders are citizens and former employees.  A New York shark (Danny DeVito) comes along and offers to buy the company's assets.   In the process the company will be put out of business.

Peck and DeVito face off in front of the gathered 150 or so shareholders to plead their case.  Peck goes first and talks about the company history, how generations had worked at the factory, and how it had helped the town.  Taking the shark's offer would hurt the town and end this great tradition! Many in the audience cried and yelled support.

Sleazy Danny DeVito comes on after (last). Think about it: whatever he says is going to write over what Peck said like a file overwriting another file as humans can only think of one thing at a time.  This obnoxious twerp starts talking about all the money that would be gushing from the shareholders' pockets should they take his offer.  How they will get to take the vacation they always wanted, pay off their debts, put their kids through school and get a new car.  You could see the greed take over the crowd.

A vote is taken, and DeVito wins going away.

This is a great lesson on the power of going last: whoever is last is most present in the buyer's mind (a power position).

Pay attention to politics to see marketing wins and losses on a daily basis. Recently, both parties had their quadrennial conventions.  One reason for these shindigs is to excite, persuade and inform the voters.  It is a huge sales event.

The Repos went first and put on a good show.  The buzz lasted about two days as the Dems followed the coming week.  Coming last, they dominated the news for the next two weeks, and the conversation shifted to their bash.  They were last.

This may explain why the Romney campaign is keeping its cards close this late in the presidential campaign.  Understand foremost that in the Romney campaign are some of the most successful businessmen (1%'ers) planning on making the really big sale, not just a bunch of pols trying to out-jockey the opponent.

As with any huge sales opportunity, they don't want to show their hand, explain their ideas in detail too early.  Too far out from the actual purchase date (voting), the competition will have that much more time to beat up their plans.

The Romney team knows that buyers/voters have short attention spans and whatever they say will be foremost in their minds when it comes time to pull that lever just like when DeVito beat Peck.

We will see if this strategy works or not.  The Romney team is betting all their chips on the last hand.

Allan S. Boress, CPA, FCPA is the author of 12 published books on marketing, selling and managing the business development process for CPAs.  The “I-Hate-Selling” CDs and Study Guide are available at www.ihateselling.com

This blog

by Allan Boress, CPA - Based on over 25 years being a practitioner and consultant to the profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

More from this blog

Bloggers crew

Steve Knowles has spent 25 years in business and practice in the UK, but he also worked in the states and the years haven't dulled his way of seeing an alternative view to everyone else, and every day is a new adventure.

38761

Joel M. Ungar, CPA is a lifelong resident of the Detroit area and a graduate of The University of Michigan. He is a principal with Silberstein Ungar, PLLC, a Top 15 auditor of SEC public reporting companies.

69871

Allan Boress, CPA, with over 25 years as a practitioner and consultant to the accounting profession. Mr. Boress is the author of 12 published books in 6 different languages, including a best-seller, The "I-Hate-Selling" Book.

43535

Larry Perry, CPA, CPA Firm Support Services, LLC, is the author of accounting and auditing manuals, author and presenter of live staff training seminars, and author of webcast and self-study CPE programs. He blogs about small audits, reviews, and compilations.

80469
Sandra Wiley, COO and Shareholder, is ranked by Accounting Today as one of the 100 Most Influential People in Accounting as a result of her prominent role as an industry expert on HR and training as well as influence as a management and planning consultant. She is also a founding member of The CPA Consultant's Alliance. Sandra is a certified Kolbe™ trainer who advises firms on building balanced teams, managing employee conflict and hiring staff.
17433

Maria Calabrese, CIR, Human Resources manager for Fazio, Mannuzza, Roche, Tankel, LaPilusa, LLC in Cranford, New Jersey, Maria's topics revolve around the world of: Mentoring, Performance management, and The "Y Generation," a.k.a. "The whY generation".

50532

William Brighenti is a CPA, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified [Business] Valuation Analyst, operating an accounting, tax, and QuickBooks consulting firm in Hartford, Connecticut, Accountants CPA Hartford.

74413

Ken Garen, CPA, is the co-founder and President of Universal Business Computing Company (www.ubcc.com), a software development firm of high-volume, high-productivity accounting and payroll technology.

22352

Eva Rosenberg, MBA, EA, is the publisher of TaxMama.com, and author of the weekly syndicated Ask TaxMama column. She provides answers to tax questions from taxpayers and tax professionals worldwide.

58567

Amy Vetter, CPA, CITP is the CPA Programs Leader for Intacct Corporation responsible for leading the CPA/BPO Partners nationally.

31454
Brian Strahle is the owner of LEVERAGE SALT, LLC where he provides state and local tax technical services to accounting firms, law firms and tax research organizations across the United States. He also writes a weekly column in Tax Analysts State tax Notes entitled, "The SALT Effect." For more info, visit his website: www.leveragestateandlocaltax.com
94818
Scott H. Cytron, ABC, is president of Cytron and Company, known for helping companies and organizations improve their bottom line through a hybrid of strategic public relations, communications, marketing programs and top-notch client service. An accredited consultant, Scott works with companies, organizations and individuals in professional services (accounting, finance, medical, legal, engineering), high-tech and B2B/B2C product/service sales.
22383

Rita Keller is a nationally known CPA firm management consultant, speaker, author, mentor and blogger. She has over 30 years hands-on experience in CPA firm management, marketing, technology and administrative operations.

47203
Stacy Kildal is the mom of two fantastic kids, an Advanced Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, Certified Enterprise Solutions ProAdvisor, Sleeter Group Certified Consultant, a nationally recognized member of the Intuit Trainer and Writer Network, and co-host of RadioFree QuickBooks.
24248
Michael Alter's blog specializes in providing practical advice to those who seek greater profitability and practice management tactics that enhance deeper client relationships.
28198

Sally Glick, CMO, Principal, Marketer of the Year in 2003 and AAM Hall of Famer in 2007, leads a lively discussion of the constantly expanding roles of marketing and the professional marketers that drive this initiative in accounting firms of all sizes.

91044

The IMA Young Professionals Blog features the insights of IMA’s Young Professionals Committee. Committee members share advice and experiences on careers, continuing education, work/life balance, and other issues affecting young accounting and finance professionals.

29655

FEI Financial Reporting Blog provides highlights from SEC, PCAOB, FASB, IASB, and other regulatory news, including reporting under Sarbanes-Oxley Sect 404. It is written by Edith Orenstein, Director of Technical Policy Analysis at FEI.

101847

Sue Anderson has 30 years of experience in continuing education for accountants. Currently she is the program director for online CPE provider CPE Link.

54587

Jim Fahey is COO of Apple Growth Partners, a regional CPA firm in Ohio. His focus is on the effective and efficient use of technology within the firm by all team members.

35955
Caleb Newquist is the Editor-in-Chief of Sift Media US, overseeing content for both AccountingWEB and Going Concern.
61841

Leita Hart-Fanta, CPA, CGFM, and CGAP is the author of "The Yellow Book Interpreted" and owner of Yellowbook-CPE.com a website devoted to training for governmental auditors.

87155

AccountingWEB is more than just a U.S. team of journalists and financial and technology experts - we have an international side, too! Members of our British team who publish AccountingWEB.co.uk share their ideas, insights, and perspectives from across the pond.

48254