Avoid Selling Accounting Services on Price
By Patrick McLoughlin
It doesn’t matter what you buy, if all the options look the same, then price is the only difference. Perhaps that explains why fees are so often the issue when accountants present service proposals.
That said, some business owners view accountancy support as a commodity: all they want is the lowest price possible. They don’t appreciate value, just cost. Sometimes that’s because they have never had value. They don’t know how an accountancy service can ease their workload and help improve profitability.
Don’t price your services to beat the lowest quote. Explain how you can make the greatest difference, and how much it will cost; then offer your basic service. In the end, if they can't see the value in your work, do you really want them as a client?
Here are some effective ways to avoid the Price-Trap:
1) Avoid Fees Until you Understand the Issues
Don’t quote a fee until you fully understand the issues and concerns involved in making the decision.
If pushed explain your fees are based on the support needed to help them achieve their goals. So first, you need to understand where there’re trying to take the business to see if you can help them get their quicker.
2) Are Fees Really the Issue?
Requests to “sharpen your pencil” or “what’s your best possible price” are becoming increasingly common when presenting proposals. You need to know if this is just a tactic or are your fees the only issue? Try asking:
“If we take fees out of the equation for a moment, would you be ready to appoint my firm? If the answer is no you can then ask what the other deciding factors are.
3) Only Negotiate when they're Ready to buy
You might sometimes be asked to reduce your fees by a specific amount, maybe to match the current fees. Even if you’ve made allowances for a small reduction in your proposal, be careful. Before you move an inch make sure they are ready to buy. Ask them: “If I could, are you ready to accept the proposal?”
It’s an awful feeling to drop your price, thinking you’ve got the work, to be told “we’ve got more firms to see, we’ll let you know.”
If you’re involved in selling accounting services you need clarity in your discussions. Accountants are business advisers, prospective clients will be impressed not put off by effective communicators.
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