Chapter 4 could be the most exciting yet daunting chapter in the book for accountants. Here we talk about sales appointments and how to go from opening the sale to closing it down. If you're just joining us, we're going front-to-back celebrating the audio release of our best-selling book, Double Your Accounting Firm. To refresh, here are the first three chapters: Chapter 1: Increasing Workflow Efficiency and Staff CapacityChapter 2: Solving the Pricing Problems in Your FirmChapter 3: Driving Growth in Your Firm For most accountants, they'd rather leave selling to someone else. For some, they may even look down on those who sell. Well, here's the truth...you wouldn't have a firm if someone wasn't out there selling. And you're about to see how you don't need to be 'salesy' to close a deal. In this audiobook chapter, you will discover:
- How to find out what a prospect really wants so you can give it to them
- How to not be "salesy" when it comes to appointments with prospects
- 3 quick tips to close the sale faster
- You can't teach a kid to ride a bike at a seminar (book)
- How to handle objections and close the sale (interview)
How to Approach Sales Appointments to Increase Your Chances of Closing it:If you dream of the day that clients simply show up to your firm, it's not coming. Sure, you might have a few referrals trickle in, but at some point, those rivers run dry. Not to mention, referrals don't allow you to pursue the clients you want. You don't need to be a 'salesy' type to succeed. Great people who can close the deal aren't used car salespeople. You may see that on TV, but the truth is, those who can identify a pain and solve it will close sales again and again. At first, you will make mistakes in your sales appointments, but you get better with practice. That's why I'll make it easy for you today. Because I'll give you the roadmap to the sale. What you'll find is that great salespeople are more into advising than selling. They listen like a doctor, dissect, and solve the issue. So, your first step is to change your mindset. Think of yourself not as selling something, but of advising. If you're a partner, you should already be working on bringing in new clients. If that's not your forte, you should have at least a hand in it. With that, let's get into the steps to a successful sales appointment.
Building Rapport with Your Prospect:Every meeting typically begins with building rapport with each other. That doesn't mean you have to pretend to like what the prospect likes. Just ask some basic questions to show interest in their life.
- How are things in your industry?
- Did you watch the game last night?
- Did you get caught in that storm the other night?
Outline What Will Happen in the Meeting:No one likes surprises especially a prospect. In fact, most people would like to be led. It takes the pressure off themselves. You want to walk the prospect through everything that will be covered. You might say: "Before we get too deep, can we set the agenda so this meeting is valuable for you? Typically, I'll ask you some questions about your business. We can chat about your last 12 months, dig into how your business is doing as a whole. Then, if it makes sense to you, I can share what we do. At that point, you can tell me if you want to move forward. Does that sound good?" Setting the agenda keeps the prospect from controlling the conversation and just saying "what do you want to sell me?" or worse, "so, how much do you charge for your services?" Price should be kept until the end. By setting the agenda, you set the precedent for the prospect to say "yes" or "no" at the end of the conversation not "maybe."
Qualifying the Prospect:Now, you need to figure out why the prospect wants to talk to you. Dig into deep answers. Don't let the prospect off the hook. Ask questions like "Tell me about your last firm? Why weren't they a good fit?" Find their deepest motivations for talking to you. There's always a core reason. The point of this section is to qualify the prospect and see if it's worth it for both you and the prospect to continue the conversation. You're listening for hints that they would be a good client for you.
Find Their Pain Points:At this stage, you're asking questions and only asking questions. The last thing you want to do is try and solve their problems. NO! You want to probe for all their pain, the more pain they feel, the more open they will be to your solutions. Even if the prospect asks for your help, don't give in yet. Tell them you need to talk more. The more pain they say out loud the better. Every sale is emotional, not logical. To keep it emotional you must let them sit with their emotions. Their emotion is their pain. You want them to find a cure for their pain right now. The list of pain questions to ask are limitless:
- How are you currently solving the problems you mentioned?
- Are you comfortable running your business with this problem?
- Do you believe this is a severe problem?
- Is there anything about your situation you don't like?
- How long has this problem been going on?
Find Out What Their Goal is:While they sit there feeling vulnerable, now ask:
- What would you like to see different with your business?
- How would your personal life change?
- How would things be different in your business if you fixed this?
- What's your goal for growing this business in terms of revenue?
Ask Them How Much They Will Pay to Solve Their Problem:Asking about money can be a tough task. But it's a necessity so you don't shortchange yourself. Start with asking them what they would pay to solve their problem. If they quote a price too low, you might want to end the sales appointment there. Ask them if you should end the meeting. If they say no, reply "what if the solution requires a higher cash outlay?" Never assume anything is too expensive for a prospect. If they dance around the price, they most likely are price shopping waiting for you to tell your price. These prospects aren't typically serious. If they claim they don't have a budget, follow up with: "We have a variety of solutions. Some fall in the range of $2,000 - $5,000. Others fall in "$7,500 - $12,000, which do you fall in?" That will weed out their hesitation.
Get Them to Commit to Your Solution:After going through their budget, it's time to close. Ask them "Would you like me to tell you about what we do?" State your services and your firm's "why." Tailor your answer to their pain points. Next, you'll probably run into the "proposal wall." That's where prospects will ask for your best proposal and price. I recommend having a bundle of options they can choose from. The goal is to have packages that give them a few services to a full-blown package that tackles everything. This gives the prospect a variety to choose from.
Quick Tips to Close the Sale:
- POWER OF SILENCE: When you ask a question, ask it then go silent. Uncomfortable silence where the prospect breaks it helps a lot in keeping control and on the sales path.
- REVERSE OBJECTIONS: Never accept an objection. Turn it back into a question and a soft close. "I understand needing to think about it. Is there something we can clear up right now?" or "I understand wanting to speak to your spouse when specifically do you plan to talk with them?" Keep prospects on the hook until the end.
- LET GO: Every prospect cannot and will not close. Don't be strung along because you hope it will turn out okay. That's a waste of everyone's time.