Selling Against the Competition, A Memo to CPAs by Sen. Barack Obama
By Allan Boress, CPA - As I proceed to the nomination for the Office of President of the United States, I would like to share with you how I have overcome the odds, and $120 million raised by Senator Clinton’s campaign, to win this hallowed position.
My win at this juncture is not that much different than the dilemma faced by CPA firms in the first round of a multiple selection process.
Many times, in the selection of a CPA firm, a large or valued client will interview more than one firm and pit them against each other in a two round affair. What we have just witnessed this primary season would be akin to Round One of the process, the narrowing down of candidates to the final competition (Round Two).
I believe the analogy of my campaign to Mrs. Clinton’s, and against all other comers in Round One is true, and there is much to be learned.
As in your business, and in mine, what the candidates say in Round One is going to be pretty much the same, a variation of we’re really good at what we do, we care about our constituents (clients), we have the brightest and the best working for us, and we will make our country better than it is (the “change” thing I’ve been talking about).
The first Round is really based on chemistry with the buyer, as the real differences won’t come out until the final round (the general election). My race against Hillary has been based on winning the voters over with personal chemistry, which is 50 – 80% of making any sale. You would have to admit that in this department I win hands down. It’s the chemistry component that explains my success to proceed to the nomination and Round Two, as it does most often with CPA firms.
However, the final round is more serious. Here, specific ideas and solutions must come into play as the decision the buyer must make is very important indeed. This is where you have to draw the distinction between yourself and the competitor, so the buyer (voter) can make an easier choice. Again, if the buyer can’t tell the difference, the buyer will vote on chemistry – or in your case – lowest fees.
That’s my challenge coming into the fall election, and thankfully I have many months to figure that part of it out. We will plan and strategize how to best appeal to the buyer and make the voting decision as easy as possible (for us). The same thing has to occur in Round Two of a major selection process for a CPA firm: you must listen to the buyer extremely well, and package your ideas in such a way that they can see themselves implementing them and succeeding doing so.
This is not an easy task, and the most successful selling firms are not necessarily the most capable, a possible problem I will have to overcome to win in November.
See you at the polls in November! Vote for me,
Barack H. Obama
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.