Unlike compliance services, your client does not need to buy advisory services. It is an optional spend. So how do you get them to want to buy? With good quality sales skills! This article, based on an extract from The Accountants Millionaires’ Club, outlines an effective sales method that you can use to sell your expensive advisory services to your clients.
Your job is to motivate your client to buy
It’s not enough just telling your client that you offer advisory services.
In fact, you’ll find yourself met with the typical responses for add-on services such as:
- It’s not a priority for us right now.
- We don’t have the budget or cash flow for this.
- We think we can probably do this in-house.
To avoid this dismissal of your services, you need to sell your services in a way that your client feels like they have to buy them. Put simply, you need to create the need for them and to highlight your services as the solution.
The 3 steps to selling your advisory services
Identify their To-be state
The first thing you need to focus on is establishing the client’s To-be state. This is the state that they want to be in in the future, rather than the As-is state that they are currently in.
Questions that you can ask to identify this are:
- What is your business trying to achieve? How will that benefit you personally?
- What will become easier or better when you have achieved your business’s goals?
- How will your life be better or easier when your business gets there?
- What was your vision for yourself when you set up your own business?
- If your business achieves its goal, how will that impact your partner and family?
- What will doubling the capital value of your business on exit mean for your pension pot and future retirement?
- What’s the motivation behind trying to achieve ...?
By finding out about their goals and aspirations and what is really important for them to achieve and why you then have a clear idea about their To-be state and how your services can help them get there.
Increase the distance between their As-is and the To-be state
Once you’ve helped them identify their To-be state, you will then need to increase the distance between where they are now in their As-is state and where they want to be in their To-be state.
Why? Because you want to highlight how far they are from their To-be state.
How do you do this? By bringing them back to their harsh reality that is their As-is state.
Going from talking about their goals, aspirations and their perfect situation right back to their not so perfect current situation is a great way of bringing your client back down to Earth with a large bump.
Questions that you can ask to achieve this desired effect are ones that challenge your client such as:
- Tell me about your profits and losses.
- Do you really have enough profit to take the income you want out of the business?
- What have you tried and failed with?
- What are the weak links in your current organisation?
- What will happen if you can’t overcome …?
- What is the impact if you do nothing or delay with ...?
The important thing to remember here is that you want to increase this distance between states as much as possible. Ask the hard questions and challenge your client as it is essential that they are not in denial about their current situation.
Only when you increase this distance and make the client feel disheartened about their As-is state can you stand the best chance of them wanting to buy your firm’s services.
Propose your firm and your services as the solution to their problems
When your client is feeling crestfallen about their As-is state, now is the time to propose your advisory services as the solution to their problems.
The best way to do this is to turn your service features into benefits.
When clients buy, they want to know the value of their purchase, so your job is to sell, not only what your firm can do but how this will benefit the client.
If you don’t know how to turn your features into benefits for your client, this table outlines a few common features that you can use.
To do this well, you first need to find out what is important to your client . What do they really want and need? Once you know, you can then tailor your features and benefits to help move them to commit to buying more from your firm.
Questions to find out what is important to your client include:
- What are the Top 3 criteria on which you select your accountant?
- If we work with you, what is the main result you want to achieve?
- What initially attracted you to us, rather than our competitors?
- What was it that your current accountant was doing that has prompted you to seek another accountant?
If you can highlight your client’s desires and propose your firm as the solution to achieve this result, you can sell your expensive advisory services to your clients.