What are you selling as an accountant? This is a simple enough question, and knowing the right answer could make a profound difference to the success of your practice.
Let’s start with what you’re NOT selling. As I explained in a recent blog post, You’re not selling your time. And you’re not selling tax returns, accounts or any other ‘product’. At least, you will struggle to get the clients you want paying you the fess you want if you try to sell these things.
So what are you really selling?
Years ago I realised that what clients wanted was trust, confidence and peace of mind. They want solutions to their problems. They want someone competent and experienced to help them satisfy their legal obligations to file annual accounts and tax returns, to work out how much tax they need to pay, to help them arrange their affairs to pay the minimum amount of tax that will be legally acceptable and so on.
They want an accountant to do this work rather than for them to have to devote their own time to doing something they don’t enjoy or don’t want to learn how to do.
Beyond this, some people want regular advice from an accountant evidently able to provide guidance by reference to previous comparable experiences; or someone able to apply their knowledge, skills and experience to help the client achieve their objectives. These may be to save money, time and effort or to help them avoid making critical mistakes, increase their profits, maximise their post tax sale proceeds – or any of a long list of other ideals.
I’ll repeat my question. What are you selling as an accountant?
If you’re like most accountants your website focuses on the basics. It promotes (and thus tries to sell) the same boring old compliance work as every other accountant. This may be what some clients want. But by focusing here you’re not making it easy for anyone to see why they should choose you over any other accountant.
You all seem to be selling the same things. And, as with anyone selling any interchangeable products, you need to make it easier to choose you rather than someone else. If you don’t stand out in some positive way you shouldn’t be surprised that people look for the lowest price option. That’s what we do when we buy things that we could get anywhere.
Fail to stand out positively and even when you win clients you may find they do not value you or your services. Why not?
Clients will never value their accountant if they and you think that all you are doing is selling a product or service that could be obtained from any other accountant.
Whilst the output of your service might be much the same as that available from other accountants, that is not the end of the matter. Your website and promotional messages could focus on something other than the basic compliance services provided by every accountant.
And, when you first engage with a prospective clients, if you ask them the right questions you can uncover what really matters to them. What is it that is driving them to seek a new accountant?
Only when you know WHAT they want from you and WHY they want it, can you ‘sell’ the benefits of your services. That’s what you are selling. How your services can provide clients with what they seek, what they need and why they should engage you rather than any other accountant. So, put your modesty aside and accept that you also need to be able to sell the BENEFITS of using YOU.
The most challenging part of this is recognising that to win more of the clients you want, you do need to get better at the ‘selling’ side of things. A ‘me too’ website and a focus on the same old boring compliance services as other accountants, isn’t going to help much, if at all.
If you would like some ideas and suggestions as to how you might stand out more effectively so that you can sell yourself and your services more effectively, feel free to get in touch. Let’s have a chat >>>