"You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink." Believe it or not, this old saying illustrates valuable marketing insight that you can apply to selling your accounting and tax services.
What Is Marketing?
Marketing is the process of making a client aware of your services. Taking advantage of your full range of marketing strategies will bring prospective clients to your water trough. You present them with the benefits they gain by the services you offer.
How Is Sales Different From Marketing?
Marketing brings potential clients to your door. Sales is the process of showing the benefits of using your services. Sales answers the "What’s in it for me?" question that you must answer to a client’s satisfaction before a sale can occur. In the horse analogy, it includes all the steps you need to take to convince the horse that it wants to take a drink.
Sales turns the curiosity your marketing efforts aroused about your service by into a desire for your products and services. Once that desire to buy outweighs the desire a client has to hang onto their money, a sale results in a natural, no-pressure way.
Prepare Your Mind to Sell
If you picture sales as a battle of two wills, each trying to convince the other, you are approaching it from the wrong direction. Understand and sell yourself on the value of your services. Picture in your mind’s eye how much more that your client will get done once you are doing their books for them. Picture the additional profitable work they can get done, how it will benefit them financially once they can focus their efforts on building their business. Think about how pleased they will be when you find opportunities to better their company’s bottom line with the reports that you do for them. Picture you giving them tax advise that more than pays your fee. Get excited about what you can do for your client and realize that you are revealing an opportunity to solve their problems and make them more profitable.
Now, with that mental image of how your services can benefit your potential clients, you are ready to sell. Until you have sold yourself on the benefits of your service, you are fighting an uphill battle trying to convince someone else. Know that you are of value to your clients! You can do things for them they cannot do as well themselves. You are presenting an opportunity for them to increase the profit of their business. You are giving them a chance to focus on the things they love to do.
Know Your Client’s Needs
Before you know how to present your message to your client, you need to know their primary reasons for investigating your service in the first place. There is a very easy way to extract this information from your prospective client: just ask them. Time and effort can be wasted attempting to cover every possible benefit that your service could provide. What you want to zero in on with laser accuracy is the primary benefit that the client perceives as a need.
If you sent out a mail campaign to small businesses and get responses, you know that something in the text of the campaign sparked interest sufficient to prompt an action of some sort. When you get a call from one of the businesses you have marketed to, you can be absolutely certain that something in the copy of the ad sparked their interest. If you highlighted more than one benefit your service can provide in the mailer, ask the potential client directly, "What points in the mailer most caught your interest?"
Get them talking. People want to be understood. Give them an audience and they will tell you a lot about their goals and desires.
Get Them Thirsty!
Once you know what most intrigued a prospective client enough to respond to your ad or to agree to a meeting, focus on that point primarily. You can list other benefits to improve your value proposition, to help them see the value of your work, but start with what they expressed initial interest in. If you can build your entire case with one, or at most, a few selling points, you simplify the decision to buy.
For example, a prospective client tells you that their main interest in you doing their books for you is to have more time away from the office with their family. In this example, you will make your goal to show the client how much time they will save by using your service.
Things you may want to mention are:
- Let them know that after the initial setup of their accounts, you can work almost totally independently of them, saving them lots of time.
- You will set them up with a "client organizer" to put their receipts and bank deposit slips in (something the Professional Bookkeeper™ course teaches how to set up). Explain that you will just drop by once a week to pick this up and they won’t have to explain to you what any of the paperwork is for because the organizer takes care of that. They come to realize that there won’t be a lot of time spent coordinating their business and you doing their books.
- Give them the option for you to mail their reports if it would be easier than setting a time for you to drop them off in person.
Reassuring statements to sprinkle into the conversation might be:
- "I know that you’re busy."
- "I can take care of this for you."
- "You won’t have to worry about this."
You may find that satisfying the primary need that a client expresses is enough to make the sale all by itself.
"Are We There Yet?" – Determining How Close a Buyer Is To a Purchase
If the client sounds at all hesitant to buy, determine which of these two things hold them back from the sale:
- "I don’t understand how you will solve my problem."
You may need to better illustrate the specifics of how your services will meet their needs. Give examples to illustrate the point. Above all, make it clear by talking in plain english, not in accounting jargon. You want to assure your prospective client that you will give them practical advise they can understand and put to work for the benefit of their company.
- "I am not (yet) convinced that your service is worth the money."
This is an opportunity to present additional benefits of using your service. It may take describing several benefits for the client to see how they would rather have your service than the money they will give up. When a client reaches the conclusion that they will get more value than they give up in dollars, there’s nothing left but determining when you will start. Don’t oversell by continuing to state benefits once a client is convinced that your services are worth it. Once you are working with a client, you will demonstrate other benefits in the day-to-day service you provide for them until they will not know how they did without your service.
Master Marketing Skills
In the course of a week, you run into potentially hundreds of small business owners that struggle to understand their books. They need the kind of service taught in the Professional Bookkeeper™ program. They just need someone to explain clearly to them what their benefits will be and that you can help them make sense of their business’ financials.
The Professional Bookkeeper™ program places its primary emphasis upon real-world small business accounting and bookkeeping, skills you can put to work right away. You will have an incredible edge in servicing your client’s business that is taught nowhere else. The Professional Bookkeeper program’s marketing module teaches you how to find paying clients easily. You will learn to service their accounts efficiently and keep your clients pleased with how your unique talents give them an understanding of their business that makes them more profitable.
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You have it in you to take control of your financial future. You can make your dreams become your future, and it is just not that difficult. So many have followed the path laid out by the Professional Bookkeeper™ program. Time has shown that it simply works. We have been helping our graduates build successful accounting services since 1979. We look forward to you becoming the Professional Bookkeeper™ program’s next success story.
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