Over the past 20 or so years I have often heard from some accounting team members, “I am an accountant, not a salesperson”. Maybe we haven’t need to concentrate on sales given we all have clients that return to us every year to get basically the same things done. Maybe the Government has been our sales department driving a complex taxation system that requires us to participate in the process of preparing financial statements and taxation returns.
Business advisory is very different. Creating a want-based service (advisory) is very different from a needs-based service (compliance). Perhaps selling is the wrong word to use. Maybe it should be taking the client on a journey to building a better more profitable, cash flow strong and return generating business. Naturally, this takes practice however, remember repetition breeds learning!
Here are my top 10 business advisory service selling tips that may help you to get started:
- Know how to explain simply to clients the products and services your firm offers. Understand both the features and benefits of each product and service from the client’s perspective.
- Develop your staff’s soft skills in particular basic selling skills. Give them the skills to ask the right questions, handle objections and introduce and present new ideas to clients.
- Promote products and services based on benefits – not features or functions. Remember the key selling acronym – FFB. You can interest a client with a feature, further support that interest with a function, however ultimately clients buy on benefits.
- Use some time at staff meetings to share experiences about promoting products and services to clients. These are great opportunities to learn new techniques and review performance for handling these situations.
- Have staff members role-play a client meeting where a new product or service is to be discussed. Role-plays build confidence and help team members prepare for objections and reactions.
- Ensure staff are thoroughly trained in all new products and services, as they are introduced. Keeping staff knowledge current is paramount to successful implementation and ongoing management of business advisory service offerings.
- Develop one-page summaries of each product or service noting key features or technical details. Do not use these with clients, however, build knowledge and confidence by reviewing before meetings.
- Immediately address a client objection. An objection to a product or service, or its features, suggests the client has some level of interest.
- Have well-structured procedures and systems in place if a client decides to buy. Staff should know exactly what to do if a client decides to go ahead. Getting buy in and failing to deliver is not acceptable.
- Include referral targets in staff key performance indicators and monitor progress to budgets regularly. Reward those who succeed, and performance manage those who need additional support.
To start your journey why not reach out to me and we can start the process with a Business Advisory Assessment teleconference. A 45 minute complimentary, no obligation look into the future of your firm. Just drop an email to [email protected] to confirm a suitable time.