One thing I’ve noticed a lot over the years is how challenging it can be for accounting advisors (accountants and bookkeepers) to convince their clients to move to a new product or system. With Telpay, the conversation with the client generally involves switching from cheques to electronic payments (direct deposits). Every accountant and/or bookkeeper has experienced rejection from a client when they’ve tried to pitch them a new solution; even when it seemed like a ‘no brainer’.
We all know change is difficult but in business, change is essential. For your accounting business to prosper you are going to be continuously reviewing processes and technologies. Introducing new solutions to clients can be tricky, and for some, uncomfortable. Selling solutions to clients is a necessary part of the business.
To increase your chances of success here are a few tips shared by accounting professionals:
Your role is the ‘Trusted Advisor’. As a trusted advisor, any products or solutions you recommend should carry with it at least a modicum of weight. Business owners want to work with advisors they can trust, it’s built into your role. Therefore, have the confidence going into the conversation that beyond anything else, your opinion will matter. If you find that your opinion doesn’t matter, it’s time to reassess the business relationship.
Keep it simple. Most clients want to keep things at ‘high level’. What problem are we solving? How much will we save? How much will it cost? What is the ROI? How much effort will it take to implement? Is training included? In order to keep the conversation general you need to do your homework, meaning research. Aside from the most obvious research tool – Google– check out other sources. Does the solution provider offer webinars (some will also do webinars for your client)? By now, most have videos. Find out what your peers are using – check out an online group or speak with your local accounting chapter.
Your time is valuable. I’ve had many bookkeepers say to me ‘my client doesn’t think it’s a problem that I need to drive to their office for a signature’ (Telpay has email authorization which would eliminate driving around). To which I respond ‘it may be that your client doesn’t appreciate how valuable your time is’. In these cases, often it is simply a matter of breaking the costs down into a format that clearly illustrates how much time/money both parties stand to save with your proposed solution. Clients are receptive when they can see the impact of a new solution.
Be prepared. When you sit down with your client make sure you have good documentation. Usually clients want to look at a simple report or brochure – something they can touch and feel, and review on their own time. Go into the meeting with information that will help you sell your solution. Most suppliers will be able to provide you with everything you need to sell your client. If not, let them know, they should be more than happy to put a package together for you.
Selling is not something that comes naturally to most accounting professionals; fortunately, being prepared does. The next time you are suggesting a new solution to your client, use your strengths – go in ready and keep it simple, and you’ll be surprised at how much smoother those conversations begin to go.