I work with many leading accountants around the world, and whenever I start a conversation with one for the first time, it’s always very standoffish. It’s like they’ve been bitten before, they’ve learnt their lesson and they don’t want it to happen again to them…. which is fair enough and understandable.
Now as I’ve got to work with more and more, I’ve come to understand why this happens with accountants and why they naturally attract people and businesses who want a piece out of them.
But more importantly than that, I’ve discovered the two debilitating problems that it causes, that prevents accountants from really driving their firm forwards, generating the income they deserve and breaking free from having a ‘job’ and starting to enjoy a thriving ‘business’.
The First Bite
So you learnt how to become an accountant, but you probably never spent any significant time learning how to attract the right members of staff, how to implement robust systems into your firm, or how to sell your services using the Consultative Selling method.
And so what happens is that you’re thrust into this world where you’ve got to learn how to transition into becoming a business owners fast, or you die.
But because every business needs an accountant, you naturally get clients and therefore make money. So you’re ‘successful’ by default, but it doesn’t feel like that.
And so everyone pops out of the woodwork with a solution to help you with this or some coaching around that, and because you need help, and because you’re very trusting, you buy it.
Then 12 months down the line, you realize that the thing you bought, that you’re now tied into, never actually delivered the promise you were sold on and a big chunk of your cash has been eaten.
And you’re right back at the start. No wiser. No further forward. Just with less cash.
But it’s not just cash that gets bitten out of you.
The Second Bite
Now because every business in the country needs an accountant, collectively, accountants know every business and every business owner in the country.
And every financial adviser, insurance broker, recruitment agency and business networking group know this.
And so they want to access YOUR network.
So they all start taking bites out of something that’s far more destructive for you as a business owner, which is your time. Your time is far more precious than money because it’s finite and running out.
That coffee this afternoon, that meeting for lunch, that breakfast networking event once a week, all eat up your time and probably don’t deliver the level of benefit that you’re able to bring to the party.
So you’re desperately trying to run a successful business and realize you need help.
The people who say they can help you, don’t, and end up costing you money by selling and upselling you things that deliver no tangible results.
And the other set of people who say “let’s have a coffee” and “let’s partner up” steal what time you have left, that you could be investing into growing YOUR business, not THEIRS, if you only knew the right things to do.
BUT…… despite these being big enough problems in themselves, they actually cause two greater, more fatal problems for your firm.
The Fatal Bites
The first major problem all of this causes is that your heckles are up… permanently.
I had an accountant say these exact words to me this week:
“If I want to buy, I will buy, but if you pester me for the sale I won’t buy, out of principle. And. Don’t try and upsell me.”
At this point, I hadn’t even spoken to him or told him how I could help him or what I had. This was his instinctive response to anyone talking to him; his wounded dog growl.
But you know what… I don’t blame him. It’s a fair enough response.
So your defense is up which protects you, BUT… it also prevents the right help from coming in. So you close yourself off to the very thing that can help you to genuinely move your business forwards.
And there’s another HUGE problem that it causes.
You decide that you don’t want to come across to clients, like other businesses have come across to you… because you didn’t like it.
So you DON’T like to sell to your clients.
You DON’T like the thought of upselling your services (even though they may need them).
You DON’T like to increase your fees.
And so what’s happened is that you’ve projected your view of selling onto your clients.
And what this means is that you are unable to maximize the potential lifetime value of each client, because you don’t want to be seen as “too salesy”.
This in turn means that your clients aren’t getting the value they really need from you and therefore don’t value what you do.
This leads into a downward spiral of you getting frustrated with your clients, them getting frustrated with you, you not charging enough for your services, them wanting to barter you down on price, you not being able to invest in the right systems or people that could get you out of this situation.
So you are dragged back into the business to work in it.
So you lose more time, are unable to grow and the whole thing spirals down even further.
This is not why you became an accountant.
You became an accountant to give incredible value to your clients; so that you could help THEM to grow their business and to become more profitable.
You want to work for clients who value you, not only intellectually, but with their cash too.
And you want a business that works without you, so you can ultimately have the life that you want. Right?
So I’m going to ask two things. Firstly that you trust me in what I’m about to share with you, and secondly, that you take action towards making a change in your firm.
Sell To Serve
Consultative selling is where you discover what somebody’s weakness is, and where you tell them how you can strengthen it.
And the way you strengthen it is by selling the services that they genuinely need right now, for a price that allows you to deliver the highest level of service.
Because ultimately, to sell, is to serve.
And you are not being fair to your clients if you are not selling them the services they need in the quantities and quality that they need them.
This is the reason I left my previous accountant. He wanted to upsell me into £250/month worth of services that I couldn’t see the value in. And so I moved over to My Accountancy Place and started paying them around £600/month for a set of services that I could.
They discovered my weaknesses and they strengthened them.
They learnt what was keeping me awake at night and helped me to sleep better.
And they were selfless enough to help me to see the value in what they could provide.
How I Can Help You
The best way I can help you is to point out that around 20% of your clients right now, need more from you, and you’re not providing them with it. Whether this is through not wanting to sell to them or not wanting to waste their time by talking to them, either way, there’s more that they desperately need from you.
So here’s three simple steps you can take.
- Identify who that top 20% of clients are, who pay you the most and who you love working with..
- Pick up the phone and explain that you believe that there are some ways which we can really help you, and which I’ve not actually told you about, which some of our other clients are benefitting from. So when’s a good time to come and see you.
- Then just go and see them with no fixed agenda or anything that you need to sell to them and just learn. Ask questions. Discover their goals. Find out what’s preventing them from reaching them. Learn what’s keeping them awake at night. Then quite simply, explain how you can solve those problems and what that would look like from a financial point of view.
It’s that easy.
With no sale, no value can exchange. Not from you to them, or from them to you.
Selling is to serve.
There’s a great quote by Warren Buffet which is…
“It’s risky to trust people. But it’s far riskier not to.”
If you feel that you trust me and would like to discover more about how to sell, then you can download the first three chapters of my book – “Selling To Serve”.