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CPA Firm Prospecting
Selling to prospects is not always something that comes easy to service professionals. This is especially true if you work in the accounting profession. To say every CPA is not comfortable with selling is a broad statement that is simply not true. However, more often that not there are those in the profession who would prefer to avoid it all together.
If you are one of those people who is good at or enjoys selling then you know that the sales process is not easy. There are as many sales styles and situations as there are prospect types. Below we have listed five tactics that have been used successfully when dealing with specific prospect types.
1. Skeptics.These are prospects that have a hard time accepting what you are saying you/your Firm can deliver. Often times the sale runs into a brick wall because the prospect is dismissing everything being said about your firm, delivery time frame or service levels. The key is to come prepared with facts and information that validate your claims.
2. Comparers. Some prospects will refuse to make a decision until they’ve shopped around. In the economic climate we are currently facing this is more true than ever. In fact, you may be at the table because the CFO or Controller is shopping around. The key is to provide the opportunity to let prospects shop around. However, make sure your value proposition and reasons for using your firm are clearly defined and repeated several times. The best conclusions are ones that prospects come to on their own!
3. Now-or-Never Prospects.These prospects want an audit, tax return or bookkeeping services immediately. If you don’t work on their timeframe and let them be in control, they often feel the deal isn’t worth it. The key is to express interest in obtaining their business, but at the same time let them know the firm has processes and procedures to ensure they receive the highest level of service and care.
4. Disappointed Prospects. Prospects who’ve had bad experiences with another accounting or CPA firm when it came to tax return preparation, audit scheduling or business valuations. If they are looking to make a change you can bet they are already disappointed.The key is to clearly lay out why they will not have this experience with your firm. In professional services the key is to explain how the experience with your firm will be different and more beneficial.
5. Confused Prospects. Prospects who aren’t sure which services they need (outside of standards compliance work) be hesitant to reach out for additional services. This is true even if the services you are offering will clearly benefit them or their business. The key here is to educate the prospect about the services you offer. The reality is that most business owners understand the basics, but may not “see” the benefit of an additional service. Your job is to educate your prospect and then plant the seeds with them that creates the demand. It sounds more difficult than it really is!
The reality is that there is no perfect approach for every sales situation. However, the more you understand prospects and their perspective the easier it will be to create a sales message that speaks to their needs.
Adopted from Business Briefs