In both good markets and bad, quality accounting services are always a necessity. Whether the market is falling and business is bad or times are good and companies are looking to grow, tax, audit, and bookkeeping services are consistently assets that small businesses seek.
What sets your firm apart from others in the accounting and bookkeeping arena depends, of course, on quality, but also on how you sell your services. Traditional models may have a long history of success – they are, after all, referred to as traditional – but when you want to build a client-base that will see your value and stick with you, setting yourself apart can make all the difference.
While traditional sales models often take a pushy stance to attract clients, consultative accounting takes a logical, planning-focused approach that can be used to redefine your brand as a firm of the future.
Exploring the Differences
Traditional accounting is, as the name implies, the historical standard. While the services offered by professional firms are generally valuable, there’s also nothing that stands out. Bookkeepers have a service they are looking to sell, and with a limited arsenal of options available for sale, the end result can be the equivalent of fitting a square-shaped solution into a round-shaped problem. This isn’t always a bad thing – most accounting services are appropriate for a wide range of different applications – but without a way to truly communicate your value, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd.
Consultative accounting takes the traditional sales model into a customizable area. This alternative shines a spotlight on what potential customers need versus what you have to sell; simply advertising cloud accounting and pushing the merits of QuickBooks Online isn’t enough. By taking time to sit down with prospective clients, outline financial needs, propose solutions, and put a personalized twist on standard sales tactics, your practice can utilize effective questioning techniques and forward communication in a goal-oriented manner.
Why Consultative Makes Sense
Selling yourself is a big part of forging any professional relationship, but how you make your sale is extremely influential. Consultative bookkeeping bridges the gap between services and application, giving you a great way to showcase your strengths while highlighting a prospective customer’s area for improvement.
Most companies consider third party bookkeeping solutions when they are unable to satisfy needs and requirements internally. For many such businesses, this isn’t because they can’t hire their own talent: it’s because they aren’t sure what steps are necessary to move forward.
Accounting solutions are intended to provide answers, but traditional models render these answers vague. Consultative bookkeeping does not. Instead of pushing a service or package of services on a client for the sake of making a sale, a consultative stance allows business experts to sit down, outline issues and areas for growth, draw up customized plans, and provide a fully unique solution.
With a personalized approach, clients are more likely to enter into a business relationship with faith, trust, and realistic perceptions. And, better still, these clients are also more likely to stay with you, guaranteeing income streams for a long time to come. Consultative bookkeeping deepens relationships with clients, adding a personal touch to an often-impersonal business. This flexible model also reduces competition: if what you’re offering is completely unique, pitting your services against traditional sales is like comparing apples and oranges.
Making the Transition
Transitioning from traditional to consultative bookkeeping requires a willingness to take steps forward in a way that prioritizes the client. By helping your team move away from the traditional service packages into a client-focused atmosphere, you will be better positioned to both make a sale and make a difference. Instead of advertising the benefits of Xero, for example, you need to advertise the benefits of your firm and what Xero can help you accomplish. Sales are only a small part of the equation; an emphasis on focused solutions should now come first.
Changing approaches requires a change in attitude; those who were formerly simple bookkeepers must take on the role of trusted business advisors instead. By adding a consultative approach to your services, your practice can stand apart. When paired with the right cloud accounting and software solutions, it’s possible to position your practice as the one to watch.