Never Make Another Sales Pitch Againby
Gaining new clients and keeping current ones are both crucial parts of your job as an accountant. However, most accounting professionals don't officially learn any sales skills, and many dislike making a pitch and having to close the deal. Loren Fogelman offers a way around having to "sell" yourself in order to enroll new clients.
Two critical business functions are frequently misunderstood: marketing and sales. Accountants often pair them together. Their roles, however, are quite different.
Accountants fall into one of four categories:
- Marketing and sales seem mysterious and confusing.
- Your marketing efforts work, but you don’t enjoy the sales part.
- You easily enroll new clients during consultations, but you don’t like marketing.
- You enjoy a steady flow of potential clients and confidently sell your services.
Your firm’s growth comes to a standstill when you don’t know how to enroll new clients. If you’re like most accountants, your education didn’t teach you sales skills. As a result, you stumble along as you learn by trial and error.
That was true for me, too. Early in my business, I gained a priceless insight about sales. I admit it was a very painful and expensive lesson.
This happened during one of my first consultations. The meeting started off strong. I asked all the right questions and grew excited about working closely with a new client.
The Dreaded Close
But, as the conversation transitioned to the close something within me switched. Rather than focus 100 percent of my attention on him, I started to think about my needs. Unfortunately, the connection gained during the first part of the conversation was quickly severed by those intrusive thoughts.
Those thoughts went along the lines of:
- I could use the additional income from signing on a new client.
- Now I can pay some upcoming expenses.
As my thoughts shifted from him to me, this affected my non-verbal cues. My body language subtly shifted. Unfortunately, I lacked the skills to stop myself.
All the rapport building developed early in the conversation quickly evaporated. Was it a change in posture, a break in eye contact or did my speech somehow change? I’m not sure. But, he sensed the disconnect too.
My heart sank as we closed the conversation. As a novice, I didn’t know how to regain the connection. After the meeting ended, I vowed to figure this out. I never wanted to repeat THAT scenario.
I didn’t realize this is a classic “closing the sale” problem. Maybe you experienced this as well. Your focus shifts inward – thinking about the additional cash flow from a new client.
Anytime you start to think about yourself, you unknowingly kill your own sale.
The Priceless Insight
My most valuable insights often follow a failure. In fact, gems are hidden within most mistakes. I uncovered insights to transform my failure into an opportunity.
Lessons learned from my sales failure:
- Maintain the connection with a potential client from start to finish.
- As a trusted advisor, help that person make a decision.
- Detach from the “yes” or “no” decision of a potential client.
- Intentionally focus on the client’s best interest throughout the consultation.
You raise the bar when you prioritize the other person.
It’s a win-win. Your clients don’t want to be sold into working with you. And, you don’t want to be salesy. With this approach, you no longer need to sell your services.
Forget the Sales Pitch
Transform your consultations into a value conversation. It’s the perfect approach for accountants who don’t enjoy the sales part. Not only do you stop selling, your potential clients enjoy an engaging conversation.
During the value conversation, you ask great questions. Pay close attention to their answers. What they share reveals their needs, wants and desires.
Asking great questions focuses on your potential client. As a result, you gain their trust. They now perceive you as an advisor, rather than a technician.
Here’s the best part. When you ask great questions, your ideal clients naturally respond with, “Well, how does this work?”
Ask Great Questions
By now, you may be wondering what questions to ask.
Since you’re busy, I put the entire value conversation questions together for you in a FREE resource.
1. What is your monthly financial goal for 12 months from now?
Note: Pay attention to this answer. If they focus on all that is wrong, they are problem-focused instead of future-focused.
2. How much income do you currently generate each month?
3. So, if YOU do the math, what you want to make in 12 months compared to what you make now, how far away are you from your goal?
Note: Have them do the math to state the gap instead of you doing it for them. This starts to enroll them into working with you.
4. To put it differently, you’re actually losing $$$ every month by not making the changes necessary to get to where you want to be? Is that right?
5. Let’s do the math for 10 months. That’s $$$ that could have been in your bank account.
Not fixing this is costing you this additional income.
6. Why do you FEEL – in your opinion – you don’t have this now? What’s getting in the way?
Note: Emphasize FEEL, not THINK, because people buy on emotions. Keep asking if there’s anything else. Get the full list.
7. What do you FEEL will happen if you don’t fix this challenge?
8. What will your business be like in 12 months if nothing happens?
9. What’s your biggest "aha!" from this conversation so far?
10. What would be possible if you no longer had this challenge?
11. On a scale of 1 to 10, how motivated are you to make lasting changes and reach your 12 month goal?
12. So why that number instead of a lower number?
Note: This question causes them to convince themselves of all the reasons to move forward right now.
13. Would you like me to share with you how making a lasting change could look with one of our advisory and accounting packages?
Note: DO NOT GIVE FREE ADVICE. Instead ask them if they want to know more about the packages. If they hesitate, then explore further because they don’t fully see the value.
14. How can you tell if our work together is a success?
Note: Focus on getting the KPIs and metrics.
Do you believe you can get results faster with accurate financials, systems and advisory meetings?
15. Will you make this a priority and do whatever it takes to achieve success?
Note: If they don’t believe this will work for them, they can’t get results faster with my help or not willing to do whatever it takes, then they are not an ideal client.
16. Based on what you shared, you want XYZ. Here’s the cost of not doing this $$$$. You said you want these benefits XYZ. If you believe this will help you achieve that are you ready? Let’s get started now.
If we can do XYZ, is that something of interest to you?
Practice the Value Conversation
Set aside time to practice this first. As with anything new, you improve with repetition. As a trusted advisor, you ask great questions and your ideal clients naturally ask “how does this work?”
You never need to pitch, or sell, your services again. With this script, you replace the dreaded sales conversation with a value conversation. If you’re ready to work with clients who respect your expertise and happy to pay your fees, then this is for you.