Thinking of expanding your service offerings? It doesn’t matter whether you want to start providing ‘advisory’ services, tax advice or any other services. The same rules apply. And if you fail to take these into account you will struggle to make a success of your new ‘offering’.
If you are going to expand your service offerings in the immediate future there are four essential skills you will need to develop as regards each new service:
Promoting – You will need to be good at promoting a number of things:
- the service itself, what you will be doing;
- why clients should engage with you (rather than anyone else);
- how they will benefit from what you are offering; and
- why they stay with you.
Whilst you may have done all this to a degree as regards your compliance services, bear in mind that these often sell themselves. Many people seek out an accountant because they need help to satisfy their legal obligations to file accounts and tax returns. You will need to adopt a different approach if you want to successfully promote non-compliance services.
Pitching – Once a prospect expresses an interest in your services, you will need to have a compelling, streamlined and speedy ability to summarise what you will be doing for them and the terms on which you will work. You are likely to lose out to others if your process is too slow. Think ‘Amazon vs retail shops’.
Pricing – Whether you are quoting for one-off advice or recurring advisory services you will need to be able to quickly set commercial fees that adequately reward you for your service and advice. This means developing the skill to be more confident and precise when quoting fees for new services that perhaps you used to be in the past when you might have been able to get away with quoting wide fee ranges and/or hourly rates.
Providing – Clearly you should not offer services unless you are adequately equipped and experienced to deliver them to an acceptable standard. You will discover that there’s a world of difference between a practice built on the provision of recurring compliance services and one that is focused on ad-hoc or niche advisory services. The sooner you start adapting the more stable will be your foundations as you move forwards.
If you are like most accountancy and law firms, your website includes reference to services that you do not often provide. You have included them in a list of ‘available’ services, but it’s rare for anyone to request them. And you rarely talk about them when you’re out networking.
In effect, you’re not promoting these additional services. So, inevitably, no one is asking you to provide them. Including them in a list on your website is rarely sufficient to effectively promote such services.
On the odd occasion someone does enquire about them you may not yet be adequately prepared to explain and to ‘pitch‘ these services so that prospective clients are sufficiently engaged.
Even if you manage that, are you able to price them quickly enough that prospects will sign up – and do you make the on-boarding process simple and quick?
Having sufficient experience, insights and technical knowledge to provide the service should be a ‘given’. It’s typically your starting point. But it’s rarely enough.
The better you plan for the 4 Ps, the more likely you will make a success of any new service offering you want to provide to your clients.