The success of your firm depends on your ability to sell. Learn how to remove mental blocks and unlock your sales potential.
From the market perspective, an accounting firm is the same as any other business. You have a service that you need to sell to as many clients as possible. No matter how good the quality of your services, they won’t support your firm’s growth if you can’t sell.
The issue is this misconception that selling accounting services is too tough. Most accountants don’t consider themselves salespeople, believing that selling requires a whole other set of skills.
I’m here to tell you otherwise.
Thinking that you can’t sell is just a limiting belief that you can change. Soon as you do that, you can achieve far greater results.
Just look at my client Nate. Nate was able to take a $22,000/year client up to $60,000! He simply showed the client what they were missing and upsold his firm’s services.
Who wouldn’t want to triple up every client if they could?
The good news is that it’s easier than you might think. And it all starts with removing your limiting beliefs.
To make a great start, here are the top beliefs that you need to change:
1. I’m No Good at Sales
Seeing a master salesperson in action might make you think that they have something that you don’t. People still believe that salespeople are born as such.
But they’re not.
Sales requires a set of skills that you can require.
Sure, it helps to have a natural advantage. Some people can be very convincing and they’re not shy to bring up whatever they have for sale. But you can totally practice whatever doesn’t come easy or natural to you.
For the most part, selling is all about your confidence and the way you approach the prospects. There isn’t a secret formula to this. Work on your verbal and non-verbal communication, dress for the part, and keep expanding your knowledge. This is a great starting point to becoming a top salesperson.
Of course, it’s going to take more than this. You’ll have to invest the time and effort into getting good at it. You may already have a sneaky feeling that it will pay off handsomely.
My client Mackey, for one, recently closed a CFO contract worth $93,000 a year. She also added another $12,500 in one-time revenue. Those were only the early results of improving his sales skills.
2. I’ll Annoy My Clients If I Ask for Referrals
Referrals are very important to your business. Think of them as prospects who are already interested in working with you. Instead of having to warm them up like a fresh lead, you just have to nudge them in the right direction.
With referrals, it’s much easier to close deals and expand your client base. And yet, many accountants hesitate to ask for referrals.
Because they’re afraid that doing so may make them appear desperate or pushy.
Like all other sales blockages, this is just a wrong perspective. You need to shift your mindset and look at referrals as what they really are – new prospects that you can help.
This is where it pays off to remember an important rule that applies to sales in general:
You’re not selling a service but solving a problem. Why not give someone else a chance to grow their business with your help?
Get into this frame of mind and you’ll see that asking for referrals benefits everyone involved.
3. Prospects Will Just Ignore Me If I Try to Approach Them
One of the biggest fears that many salespeople have is that they’re not ‘worthy’ of talking to the decision-makers. They believe that it takes a CEO to talk to another CEO.
This fear is even more prominent among accountants. Many of them believe, mistakenly, that they don’t have the necessary skill or credibility to pitch to top-level businesspeople.
What you actually need is a major shift in perception.
Decision-makers and the so-called top brass always have respect for a confident and knowledgeable person, irrespective of the title. And if that person can help grow their business, these executives will be even more interested to hear them out.
It all comes back to your approach. If you present yourself as shy and insecure, your self-fulfilling prophecy will come true and you’ll likely get ignored. But if you step into the room as the expert that you are and show that you can help the prospect, they’re going to be all ears. And if they’re not, think of it as their loss. You don’t want to work with such people anyway.
4. I Can’t Convert People If They’re Satisfied with an Existing Provider
You might think that you can’t close a deal with a prospect who doesn’t work with any accountant, let alone a prospect that already has a provider. You might think that they already have everything that they need and there’s nothing you can do about it.
However, the concept of satisfaction is highly relative. Just because someone has an accountant doesn’t mean that the accounting firm is meeting all of their needs. How do you even know if the prospect is truly satisfied?
It’s possible to convert a prospect who’s working with someone else. You’ve just got to understand the prospect’s business and needs.
To begin with, the prospect might be missing out on many of your services that their accountant doesn’t offer. You need to find out about these services and show that you can do it better.
Of course, you should use an informative approach when figuring out what the prospect needs. Instead of pitching right away, start with a casual conversation about their business goals. As the conversation moves along, you’ll be able to identify some holes that your firm can fill.
After that, it’s time to show the prospect how you can support their growth. Nobody’s going to say ‘no’ to achieving better results.
5. Selling Makes Me Feel Like I’m Desperate
This is easily the most common sales obstruction. And the problem gets worse if you’re new to selling. You might think that the act of pitching is akin to begging the prospect to work with you.
There’s only one reason why you might feel this way – you see the prospect as the prize. When in fact it’s them who need you more than you need them.
Accounting is both a business necessity and a success factor. Botched accounting can result in the company getting in trouble with the authorities. Moreover, the company might miss growth opportunities if they don’t have a good command of their financial metrics. Besides, it’s not like businesses can just put their accounting needs in anyone’s hands.
You, on the other hand, have a massive pool of companies that you can work with. It’s much harder for a company to find a good accountant than it is for you to find a client.
Do you see that you’re the one who holds the power? You need to approach every sales meeting from this position of power. You’ll never feel desperate when selling your services again
6. I Have to Take Every Deal That’s on the Table
This belief goes hand in hand with the previous. Accountants who feel desperate about selling will take on any client who’s willing to work with them. They might even consider themselves lucky to be in a position to sign up a client, any client.
I get that saying ‘no’ to a paying client may not make sense to you. But you’re going to have to trust me.
You can’t afford to be everything to everyone. Not the least because you can’t do everything equally well. Sometimes, not having a client is better than having.
One, some clients are not worth the effort that you put into them. Even if they pay you on time, they might cause so much trouble that you’re better off doing without their money.
Besides, trying to provide services that are outside of your expertise can be a recipe for disaster. You can count on a client to share their negative experiences with others. If you end up with a tattered reputation, all of these limiting beliefs will be coming back.
You’ve got to know when to say ‘no’. If you’re not comfortable with the terms, for example, you should try to find common ground first. If it’s impossible, simply move on and find someone for whom you can do your best work.
Perspective Is Everything
How many of these limiting beliefs did you recognize in yourself?
I hope that you now understand why they don’t serve you and how you can change them around.
Remember that it’s all about the way you see yourself, your firm, and sales in general. A few simple mindset shifts can make all the difference, so get yourself into the right frame of mind. You’re a much better salesperson than you thought.
Furthermore, you might want to check out the following:
P.S. Whenever you’re ready here are 3 ways I can help you increase your profits and reduce your time.
1) Download my latest book “The Wealthy Accountant” for free. It’a gort 166 pages of solid content on creating 1/500 firm. More than $1M profit while working less than 500 hours. You can download it here for free.
2) Connect with me on my blog or LinkedIn. We post something useful every week.
3). Work with me. Let me and my team coach you to be even better than you are. If you’re over $1M in revenue now and you don’t have too many Partners and you want to earn more than $1M profit per Partner while working less than 500 hours then let’s meet. Book an exploratory interview with me here.