Winning accountancy clients is often seen as hard by accountants. This is because too often we think we need to sell to win clients for our accountancy firm. Actually, the very best salespeople don’t sell. What they actually do is help people buy. It may sound like a subtle difference, but when you help people buy it becomes so much easier to win accountancy clients – particularly the bigger and better type of clients.
This blog post is a transcription of part of my webinar with Practice Ignition on scaling your practice. It looks into what the buying journey is, and how you can use this knowledge to help with winning accountancy clients.
Winning accountancy clients: It’s all about understanding their buying journey
Every new client of yours is going to go through some defined specific next steps. It doesn’t matter whether you sell widgets, or whether you sell services, people go through these next steps, and this work came out of the work done by the people behind spin-selling. They were doing a project for Xerox 30-40 years ago. They discovered they were asked to find out what it is that made the best salespeople effective. They read all the books around it at the time, of which there weren’t exactly many, they then went on every single sales course, every programme they could find across the world; there wasn’t many at the time. Then they interviewed the top salespeople.
The first thing they did was to get rid of 50 percent because 50 percent didn’t know what they did. They then got rid of another 50 percent, because they didn’t say what they did. They then got rid of another 50 percent, because even though they said they did what they did, it didn’t help to win the client. They were left with a tiny bit, they discovered these top salespeople, what they did was to help people buy. They were helping people through their buying journey.
Status Quo – Everything is fine in my world.
Problems and needs – There’s something not quite right, and in this space, I’m researching, I’m trying to find out whether I need to worry about it.
Define outcome – I know what I want, which is often I want a new accountant who will help me do ‘x’, but I might not know how I’m going to get there.
Develop selection criteria – Who is going to be the right accountant for me? What do I really need?
Explore solution/supplier options – I’m going to go out and talk to some accountants. I’m going to find out what they think is the best way.
I’m going to Assess solution/supplier options.
I’m going to make a Decision to buy.
You’re going to need different activities for each part of the buying journey, because when someone is in status quo, they’re not going to want to know you! They don’t want to talk.
When somebody is developing the selection criteria, they’re going to be looking at your website, seeing who’s credible, looking and investigating.
Too often, people don’t do their marketing throughout the whole of the buying journey. They very often just look at people who are wanting to explore solutions/supplier options who are ready to buy now. And, unfortunately if you do that you’re going to miss out on so many people who have been researching online, have been reading content, and it’s often the bigger and the better clients who you are going to miss out on if you’re not marketing, and building that trust earlier-on in their buying journey.
Winning accountancy clients effortlessly is not about selling, its all about helping Prospects and Leads buy from you. This means understanding their buying journey and tailoring your marketing and sales activities to it.