3 ways to increase the perceived value of your services

Mar 12, 2024 | Business Strategy

I hope you would agree that clients choose you as their accountant because they believe that your services will be of more value to them than those of a cheaper accountant. Or else they stay with you because you are cheap.

To win more clients and to keep your existing clients you can either

  • reduce your fees so that they match or are below the client’s perception of the value of your services; or
  • increase their perceived value of your services such that your fees are not an issue.

Of these two options, which is preferable?

I would suggest that increasing the perceived value of your services is better for you than lowering your fees and settling for lower profits.

In this blog post I will share with you 3 key strategies that not only elevate the perceived value of your services but also cultivate stronger client relationships and enhance your bottom line.

1 – Take Price off the table

This is easier said than done of course. Except in extreme situations perhaps.

Take diamonds for example. They are a luxury purchase but everyone knows the famous DeBeers’ slogan: “A diamond is forever.” (It even inspired a James Bond novel and film!)

If you think about it though the idea that diamonds are forever is a very neat way of affirming that diamonds are expensive – but worth it.

All of the sudden what might have seemed expensive is now a lifetime investment, and a product that lasts a lifetime has a very high value, because the relative cost becomes less and less every year we still have it.

Without changing the product or the price, De Beers were able to influence buyer behaviour simply by conveying a different attitude towards their products.

In a similar way accountants who charge higher fees do not focus on the cost of basic compliance work but on the value of their year-round service

2 – Anchor your fees

Few clients really understand what it is you do for them behind closed doors. They don’t understand your work processes and activities beyond realising that it’s something that can’t or don’t want to try to do for themselves.

They rarely know (or care) whether a task takes 2 minutes or two hours.

This is one reason why, in the absence of a decent explanation or at least a high level of trust, they simply want to pay the lowest possible fees.

I have often talked about the 3 types of clients you might seek to win:

  1. The first is not happy with their current accountant – they want someone better/cheaper
  2. The second has never had a business or an accountant before. they don’t know what they like, want or need.
  3. The third has been struggling along since they started up to satisfy all their legal obligations to HMRC and to Companies House. They have suffered fines and penalties.

That third type of client should be the easiest to win over. Your annual fees may well be less than the fines and penalties they have paid previously. Your service is bound to deliver good value in comparison.

The idea of ‘price anchoring’ involves referencing higher sums of money in context so that your fees seem reasonable in comparison. How could you do this?

Einstein famously said “It’s all relative”, and it’s true for pricing too – we just need something to make it relative to.

3 – Convey scarcity or urgency

One of my 1-2-1 mentoring clients operates in a specialist sector. Her clients value her expertise and routinely introduce colleagues as prospective clients.

They all recognise the value of being looked after by a specialist accountant.

Each year she has to turn clients away. She runs a waiting list. And many prospects wait.

(She is also recruiting and training staff to increase her capacity)

Once a year her clients have to complete and file an additional (non-tax) form ahead of the filing deadline for the form. It’s a pain.

In previous years this accountant has simply reminded her clients to deal with the form and has fielded calls from those who asked for her help.

This year, at my suggestion, she offered a ‘done for you’ service for an additional fee. And she noted her limited capacity.

A clear majority of her clients valued her service such that they have engaged her to do this additional work for the additional fee. (She has already determined that the fee will be higher next year!)

Plenty of people perceive the implied value of the services provided by busy specialists, in all fields.

If you had a serious medical condition, wouldn’t you rather be seen by a popular and well regarded consultant, than by someone who has loads of spare time because they aren’t popular or busy?

How about adding some scarcity to the conversation when you introduce a new service (such as quarterly management reviews)? For example: You’re only able to provide this service to 5 more clients at this stage?

Conclusion
If you aspire to increase the perceived value of your services and the fees you charge for them, you need to do something differently.

By reframing your services to highlight their inherent worth rather than engaging in a race to the bottom on fees, you will not only protect your profitability but also foster stronger client relationships built on trust and appreciation.

Anchoring your fees against the backdrop of the true value you provide and creating a sense of scarcity or urgency can elevate your services in the eyes of clients, positioning you as an indispensable trusted adviser rather than as a traditional service provider.

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