|Accounting service presentation explained. These are the essential elements needed to sign on new year-round clients for a CPA firm efficiently and at a very low cost and with quick ROI.|
Effective elements of CPA sales activity
Accounting service presentation & sales explained
|These are the parts required in a successful CPA or accounting firm presentation & sales. Luck has little to do with effective accounting service sales actions. Once you HAVE an effective sales system, you will get expected results!|
The parts of effective CPA marketing system bringing a new accounting clients monthly
To really make use of your true potential with your practice, you need to know exactly which parts are included in a successful CPA marketing system.
Success in marketing and sales is not dependent on luck unless you allow it to be. The need for LUCK is proportionate to the lack of a proven marketing system with the knowledge of what makes it work.
Sure - you cannot control ANYTHING LIVING totally. But just as surely you CAN control your sales more than you currently do.
In marketing accounting services, there are a huge amount of data, opinions, theories and information. It is all very confusing - and that's what makes it so seemingly impossible to get predictable, desired results.
Some CPAs have solved this with a self-created certainty that there is no effective way to marketing accounting services without huge investments and a R.O.I of several years. That being out of the reach of smaller practices, the decision is to do nothing about it - simply because there is no SOLUTION to the problem.
The vital, the important, and the indifferent
To understand marketing, you need to analyze all that information that's out there on the subject.
Much of it will be found to be based on nothing more than untried ideas and opinions. Most of that data is not really applicable or important to the solution.
And some it is important - and a few factors even VITAL to creating a workable solution to marketing accounting services.
There are about a hundred separate actions that need to be included in your marketing & sales system, and each has to be in a more or less correct sequence... and done in a specific way.
Assumption is usually found to be the mother of all failures. When various sales or marketing plans do not produce the expected results, somewhere along the line you will find something ASSUMED instead of being based on actual facts and proven succeful actions.
This is so much the truth that once you HAVE a system based on key factors then that system WILL produce clients of the expected kind and with predictability.
Keep in mind that just because you've never heard of such a system doesn't prove anything. It's easy to understand why those that have a successful CPA service marketing system aren't exactly eager to tell their competitors about it.
In sales, there are two main areas or vectors influencing the results. These are the QUALITY of sales actions and the QUANTITY of them. While this may be totally obvious at a glance, it is still worth looking into a bit more closely.
CPA Sales System Quality Factors
Quality as such in sales simply means "correct things done skillfully at a correct time and in correct sequence." Now, that wasn't too helpful, was it? Okay, let's look closer. The "correct things" to do in a sales system would include:
CORRECT APPROACH IN ADVERTISING AND PROSPECTING ACTIONS so you GET prospects and that the prospects you get are interested in the unique service you have created for them. It may seem obvious but this is where mistakes are often made.
Whichever way you advertise or promote the MESSAGE and the SERVICE have to be lined up so that they work with the way your sales is set up. You will also have to concentrate on the BENEFITS your service gives to your clients instead of telling them what kind of parts are included in the service. Instead of saying "this many hours or only $100 per hour," explain the benefits your prospect gets by using your services.
CORRECT RECEPTION OF PROSPECTS so that once the contact is made, you do the right things. This is where a lot of prospects are lost. The usual thing is to have nothing to say, no system to handle the prospect so the prospect controls the contact, asks a few questions (how much does it cost, usually) and then ends the conversation with a vague promise to call back.
You need to know what to do - it all has to be planned in advance so that you can take positive control over the conversation and lead the prospect further into the right direction. NO sales pitches here - no prices or specifics - they will just make your prospect withdraw and you'll probably never hear of him or her again.
The correct way to receive the prospects is to have a carefully planned system - preferably an interview of sorts, something well prepared, rehearsed, and written down - to use so that you can take charge of the conversation immediately and keep the control.
YOU should be the one asking the questions, not the prospect. If you ask questions in a pleasant manner and have a reasonable excuse to do so, you will control the conversation.
CORRECT STABILIZATION OF THE PROSPECT is a very important extension to receiving the prospect. At first contact, most prospects tend to be "jumpy" and you need to have a workable system to stabilize the contact so that the prospect calms down and feels comfortable.
If you don't have a stabilization phase of your sales handling, you will lose prospects after the first tens of seconds - or within the first few minutes - of the conversation... they will just pull back and "perhaps call later."
How you start the conversation, which key sentences to use to stabilize the prospect and how to handle this is also discussed more in detail elsewhere on these pages.
CORRECT STEPS TO QUALIFY PROSPECTS should be included in your system at least to a degree right at the beginning of contact. You will want to know if the person you're talking to is the decision-maker, what size of client the prospect could be, what his or her line of business is - and so on.
You may also have some preferences concerning what kind of businesses you primarily want most. The trick is to find out these things while apparently discussing what the prospect would need from you.
This phase done right will save you a lot of time and work - you find out the unqualified ones here instead of hearing it once you've gone all the way with the prospect. (No point selling to someone that cannot make the decision to buy or does not have the money to do so, is there?)
SYSTEM TO GET PROSPECTS TO REALIZE THINGS ON THEIR OWN: A workable way to give realizations & information to the prospect is the major part of the successful way to sell accounting services.
You need to handle the prospect in a way that ensures he or she realizes things on his/her own without you having to tell it to the prospect. In other words, the information needs to be given in a way that results in the PROSPECT forming this information through his or her own thinking process.
This may seem confusing at first, but all it basically means is that it is a lot better to get the prospect, on his or her own, to realize how good you are rather than having to tell him/her these facts.
If the prospect, on his own, arrives at the conclusion that you are the BEST... then, it is very much TRUE to him... and anyone trying to infer you are NOT the best would be suspected. It sure beats the prospect suspecting YOU, doesn't it?
If you try to get your prospect to believe this fact (that you are the best) by TELLING it to him, it will not work. Anyone engaging in self-praise is usually disbelieved or viewed cynically.
The prospect will not trust information coming from you in the sales phase... but he WILL trust information coming from himself.
You want to get the prospect to formulate favorable opinions about YOU... and this is something you cannot make happen by using superlatives about yourself. There is a very definite system that you must use to get the prospect to formulate the wanted information through his own thinking process.
We tend to suspect data given by someone else so if you can get the prospect to MAKE that data... it is going to be more true to him or her.
Here's an example: Let's say you want your prospect to know and BELIEVE that you always return his calls within a few hours. Now per survey, the VAST majority of business owners and executives are really negative about the fact that CPAs are slow to return their calls and sometimes don't return them at all.
So you understand that if you just CLAIM you do return calls fast, the prospect will not be likely to believe you because his own experience about CPAs is contrary to what you just claimed. This data - that CPAs are slow to return calls - is something he formulated after experiencing it a few times.
If you just say you are different, it won't cut it. In fact, claiming something that is contrary to common belief of your target group will more than likely create the opposite effect to what you intended; it will often be seen as "proof" that you actually do that very thing you claim not to do.
(It's like if a used car salesman would go on and on about how honest he is and how he NEVER cheats people... The more he would assert this, the more suspicious you would become!)
So if you were to ask the prospect for instance, "How valuable or important would you consider that a CPA would return the clients calls within the hour whenever humanly possible?" the prospect would realize that you are aware of this problem (CPAs not returning calls) and feel it is not right towards clients.
You would also give the prospect a very good chance to figure out on his own that you are different from the rest and that you DO return calls. Further, you would have at least half a chance the prospect would form an understanding that you also are busy (the "whenever humanly possible" bit) so he or she would possibly have more tolerance later when you might NOT return some call fast.
All of this would be disguised under the "How valuable or important..." prefix that in fact gives your prospect the feeling he and his opinions are important.
Asking things this way, you will of course also find out which things are most important for each individual prospect. (However, it is a limited technique, so don't get a lot of these "how valuable" -type of questions lined up.)
If YOU just outright TELL the prospect that you always return the calls, etc. you would have asserted your OWN importance and value... and more than likely the prospect would suspect what you say or - the worst case scenario - turn it completely around and take it as "proof" of you NOT returning calls.
Can you see how they would thinking in such manner?
Okay. Onto the next quality factor in your sales system:
CORRECT GRADIENT TO HANDLE, PREPARE AND TAKE PROSPECTS ALL THE WAY TO A MEETING: Having a way to get prospects all the way to the sales meeting is what will make your sales system smooth. You should at all costs avoid steep steps in your approach.
In other words, the sales process has to be like a very EVEN and smooth flow that takes the prospect all the way to the closing. It has to act like a ramp going upwards in a even, not-too-steep angle that is easy and smooth to walk.
If you have any holes to fall into or steps to climb or other interests tempting the prospect away from the plotted course, you will lose too many prospects... meaning they drop out before you even get them to a point where it would be at least POSSIBLE to get a sale.
This is a very important point too often overlooked: Once you have pre-qualified the prospect, do all in your power to get him to the point where it is possible to get a sale.
This point is when you meet with you prospect and give him some kind of a quote - something he can say YES to.
See most sales systems that are available just don't realize this. The value of a prospect becomes real only once you get the relationship developed into a meeting where you finally have an opportunity to get a sale.
It is very important to have a system that acts like a conveyer belt or escalator, advancing the prospects in a correct gradient towards that meeting.
Without a good success rate getting prospects into a sales meeting the whole system just becomes an exercise in futility - it's a hobby with no worthwhile purpose or reward. Meeting the prospect is what it's all about - that's when you get your first opportunity to get him signed on as a client.
Most sales systems either don't have this "conveyer belt" at all or it is not smooth enough or it doesn't have all the essential parts in it.
Getting an unprepared prospect into a meeting will not result in a lot of sales... it is too steep a gradient for the prospect, it is too soon and sudden for him to be able to trust you enough to sign on. The prospect will just be too suspicious or scared... and it won't work.
This "conveyer belt" or ramp has to be planned so that there are enough little steps, little decisions, and more and more rapport so those prospects will NOT get scared and jump off.
Handled correctly, they will be reasonably prepared to sign on once you meet them. It involves a whole lot of small factors to create that.
The rule is that you should at all cost avoid times when you in any way bring forth your own importance and you should avoid TELLING how things are (or what is important) but instead say something that allows the PROSPECT TO REALIZE it and form the actual data.
Let the prospect have sudden insights and realizations... it feels good, it will make the prospect feel smart... and it will also (quite rightly so) make the prospect enjoy being consulted by you. The MORE times you do this, the more times you allow the prospect feel serviced and important, the higher the quality of your sales work is.
A WORD OF WARNING: While your best bet to sell your services is to act as an accounting professional servicing a client, remember that it is a PROSPECT (not a client) you are talking with. NEVER get carried away with it so that you would actually start to consult the prospect as if he were a client.
If you do, you will LOSE THE PROSPECT. With an actual CLIENT, you will have to tell the person when he is doing something wrong. This you NEVER say to a prospect. IF YOU SAY THAT TO A PROSPECT IT WILL TURN HIM OFF IMMEDIATELY.
Always avoid telling your prospect what he or she should think about something. It is a lot better to get the prospect to make up his or her mind about it. Avoid also giving personal opinions about ANYTHING.
Never disagree with your prospect; if he or she says something you don't agree with, say you understand or that you can see why he/she would feel that way.
Never put your competition down because if you agree to downgrade another accounting professional you will actually lower the value of yourself, too, in the eyes of your prospect.
The quality factor means also that you get your prospect talking - and you LISTEN.
It is YOU the prospect looks at and it's your behavior and personality the prospect will make his decision on. The more you TALK the less favorable the impression on the prospect.
The more you get your prospect talking and you LISTEN, the better he will like you. We all enjoy hearing ourselves talk -- most tend to talk too much and listen too little. With a prospect, it is imperative to get HIM talking and then you listen. THE MORE THE PROSPECT TALKS, THE BETTER A CPA HE THINKS YOU ARE!
Sounds crazy, doesn't it? However, that's the way it works. Try it and you will see.
CPA Sales System Quantity Factors
Sales are a numbers game also. There are human frailties that often make us forget that numbers have a lot to do with how successful your sales system is.
Luck or chance is an element that exists but you cannot rely on luck to get you sales - it is just too chancy an element.
A lot of things can muddle up sales but one thing that will always make sales produce MORE is to have ENOUGH of those things that are needed BEFORE a sale can occur. We'll explain:
If you want to get 2-3 new year round clients every month and want to be relatively CERTAIN you do get them, you need to get at least 5 prospects to come to meet you in your office.
To get those 5 sales meetings you better set six appointments so that in case one doesn't show up you still get the needed 5.
To get six meeting set up you probably need to get about 7-9 prospects contacting you every month.
To get those 7-9 new prospects every month, you need to mail out a certain number of sales letters every week - depending on the response rate of your letters. A good response rate to sales letters is 1-2%.
You simply have to calculate backwards from how many new clients you want monthly to find out how much of which you need to get before getting those new clients will be possible (even probable).
Additionally, you need to take into account that not all prospects are qualified, not all of them will get truly interested... and so on.
You also have to count in a comfortable margin of failure for yourself - no one can succeed in sales a hundred percent for any meaningful period of time. Sure, on a good week you can close ALL the prospects you meet with... but do realize it is impossible to uphold forever.
When selling accounting services, it is by FAR more important to have ENOUGH PROSPECTS TO MEET WITH than it is to put attention on how many of them you close.
If you have the correct QUALITY in your sales approach (as discussed earlier in this article) you WILL get sales... if you just have enough prospects to practice on.
Putting a lot of attention and pressure on CLOSING every prospect will only result in getting nervous and anxious about it... which in return will show and actually LOWER your success ratio.
The principle involved is a simple one. The prospect wants those benefits you advertised. Since he contacted you, the prospect has come to realize your service is better than what he gets currently. After all, you got him talking, you knew just the right things to ask... and so on.
By explaining his circumstances in (excruciating) detail - you listening - the prospect has come to like and trust you. When you meet with him and present a solution that gives him the benefits he most wants, informing him you do have capacity to take him on if he so wishes... what do you think he will do?
It is almost like taking a camel to a watering hole. If he is thirsty, he will drink.
Mind you, prospects are not camels but much more complicated beings. There is no way to be certain about a prospect before he or she has actually signed on as a new client.
The most promising of prospects can turn out to be impossible to close... and the most impossible of prospects can ASK to sign on. NEVER expect anything from a prospect. Never put any pressure on yourself to actually CLOSE a certain prospect.
However, to get the numbers working in your favor, you DO need to exert self-discipline on yourself to get ENOUGH prospects each month and to get ENOUGH of them to a meeting. You do your best quality sales actions you possibly can. From thereon it will be the "camel scene" - you see if this camel is thirsty.
To use the old cliche; you can lead the camel to water but you cannot make him drink.
That's the way it is with your prospects, too. However, the law of probability tells us that if you lead ENOUGH camels to a watering hole EVERY WEEK you will see more camels drinking than not drinking!
That is the point of the numbers game. All you have to do to ensure you will get sales is to get enough prospects all the way to the "watering hole" and some of them will "drink." It is the natural law of sales and marketing.
You will notice that a lot of people will put attention on having a PERFECT sales system. They want their ads to be such that EVERYONE LIKES THEM. They want their sales pitch to be approved by every prospect.
They want their marketing to be absolutely the best on Earth. And once they find ONE or TWO people that criticize any part of this system... they will abandon it and try to develop a new one. Sooner than later this results in giving up altogether -- they just do NOTHING about sales any more. It has proven to be "impossible."
However, the thing that's impossible is to PLEASE EVERYONE. It is impossible to develop a PERFECT SYSTEM - or to create ANYTHING THAT EVERYONE WOULD LIKE OR APPROVE OF. It is also quite pointless to even attempt it, from a business point of view, that is.
This has NOTHING to do with creating a system that produces acceptable results. Once you have that -- something that is proven to bring SOME results -- it comes down to the numbers game. You just use this something OFTEN ENOUGH and you can control the results of your sales actions TO A HIGHER DEGREE THAN BEFORE.
Any system will work better than NO system.
Any number of prospects has more potential to produce new clients than not having a single prospect.
Granted, the better your sales system is, the easier (and less expensive) it is to get good prospects and the higher the success rate on each phase will be. We have actually seen accounting professionals get 12 prospects a month quite easily, get 10 of these to a meeting... singning an amazing 70% onto his services.
This with the ready, easy-to-use system that has been developed by our team of experts for accounting practices based on our extensive research and testing.
This system includes all the data and tools - the whole sales system that has produced over 5,000 prospect to countless Practices. This system is in use in over 45 states in US and 90 countries around the world... for a reason!
If you want more information about this, CLICK HERE to read about Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course.
|Which are the effective elements in a CPA service presentation and sales system - which parts are essential if you want RESULTS with certainty?|
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