Accountancy Marketing: The Advisers Guide – What to say in Prospect Meetings
By Patrick McLoughlin
There’s is a weight of research out there proving that business owners want more help with growth and profit improvement. Yet it’s support they don’t associate with an accountant!
If you help your clients make more beans, not just count them, you’re a rare beast. But be careful how you broach the subject with potential clients.
Everyone brings joy to a room. Let’s make sure it’s when you enter, not leave
On behalf of our clients, we talk to hundreds of business owners every week about the support they get to put build, secure and increase their wealth. We tread on very delicate ground.
They’ve worked hard and made sacrifices to get to where they are. Suggest we can speed growth and increase profitability and they’ll likely respond with a variant of:
“SO YOU THINK YOU CAN RUN MY BUSINESS BETTER THAN ME?”
Instead show respect for what they’re achieved. Remember they’re the hero of the story. Position yourself as the experienced navigator, helping them reach their destination – the Sat Nav for business as I heard a Partner explain recently.
Guidelines to more successful prospect meetings
Let’s skip past the polish you shoes and don’t be late basics, straight into the good stuff.
- Start with a brief explanation of why you’re seeing them. One client introduces himself with:
“All businesses are unique, but the challenges they face aren’t. After 20-years helping business owners through those challenges, I might be able to help you get where you want to, that bit quicker.”
- Avoid the safe ground of talking about yourself. Don’t stray into your experience, the practice or what you can do for them until asked. When the: “Tell me about your firm?” question does arrive, ask them what they would like to know. Nothing worse than breaking into your background and the firm’s history only to be interrupted by: “I just wanted to know if you work with businesses in my sector?”
“Focus the meeting on their priorities. Ask them what they’re trying to achieve with the business, over what timescales? Find out what it means to them personally: Are they trying to put the kids through private school, buy a bigger house, retire in 10-years etc.
- Talk about the obstacles in their way. What’s causing the friction in achieving their plans. Don’t settle on superficial answers. If they’re not clear or you don’t understand ask the to explain some more. Strive to get a deep understanding of what’s holding them back.
The chances are they won’t have talked to anyone in that depth. By asking the right questions you’ll light the way forward. The value this brings raises you head and shoulders above their current advisers.
- Now you’ve talked through their challenges ask them what they need help with. They are not always going to know, but often your conversation will have highlighted the issues for them.
- If you’re met with silence, explain how you can help them move forward. So often it’s the same lack of clarity that prevents progress. I had the pleasure of sitting through a 3-day AVN Masterclass last month where Steve Pipe summed it up perfectly, see below:
Talking about yourself and your services will get you nowhere. It’s the questions you ask and how you respond to the answers that will single you out. Socratic questioning as opposed to jumping in before you fully understand the issues, can transform your business growth. Here are some specific questions to further the conversation or help you see the full picture:
“Tell me more.”
“What exactly do you mean when you say………?”
“Why is that important to you right now?”
“What happens if you fail to achieve that?”
“If you were to achieve that, what would it mean to you personally?”
“”If you were to wave a magic wand and achieve everything you want, how would things look like in X-years time?”
Finally here’s a question I use a lot. You can ask it when talking to a prospect paying low accountancy fees and receiving a poor service:
“Do you think you might have under invested for the outcome / support you need?”
The purpose of accountancy marketing is to attract new business. You won’t do that unless you’re meeting interested, qualified, potential new clients.
If your ideal clients pay you average fees ranging from £3,000 to £25,000 p.a. contact me now and you’ll be sitting down, face to face, with more of them, within the month.
Ask for Patrick Now
On 01509 210 067
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org – With the Subject Line: Ideal Clients Only