|Meaningful CPA firm image building can only take place in the mind of each individual prospective client. Your approach and the service you're fronting with define your image for them...|
Creating a Positive CPA Firm Image
Your CPA firm image is created in the mind of prospect.
|How to create an overwhelimingly positive impression on prospective Accounting service clients and make them see your impeccable reputation and form a high image of your CPA firm? It depends on what kind of service you offer and, above all, how you offer it.|
Why offering accounting services does not interest businesses - and what you should offer instead?
CPA tax consulting or accounting services aren't easy to sell. If you have advertised your services in newspapers, mailed sales letters or done some cold calling, you may have noticed that the interest for accounting services appears to be quite low.
Why is it that the interest towards accounting services seems to be so low?
You could call a hundred businesses and yet only get 1-2 prospects... if you can force yourself to do it and have a bit of luck, too. Why is this so?
Is it because everyone is so satisfied with their present CPA or accountant?
Well, with some clients it is. Yet survey points out that the majority of clients are NOT satisfied with their current service. But even if they were... shouldn't there be the average 5-20% of those that are looking for a new CPA - just like in any other industry you will always find about one fifth of the target group actively LOOKING for a new service provider or trade contact?
Obviously, there is something that isn't quite right here.
The first thing you should know that it has very little if anything to do with what you have done.
And it has everything to do with the emotional way of thinking business owners are involved in.
Logical thinking would necessitate knowledge of accounting - and this is something very few in your target group have.
Therefore, when we get into the area of prospecting, the decisions of the prospect are ruled mainly by EMOTIONAL issues.
Looking at it from this, very one-sided viewpoint... what do business owners think about the Accounting Industry in general, worst case scenarios included?
Emotionally, the CPA represents...
Let's look at things totally from the business owners' point of view. Small businesses form between 90-95% of the businesses in United States (per BusinessUSA, out of 10 million businesses listed in their CD-ROM only 1.1 million have a staff of 20 or more) and figures worldwide correspond with these.
So, what does our business owner associate a CPA with?
Well, you've heard the stories, right? As most business owners aren't very familiar with how things are - and as taxation not a liked issue - you know that at least SOME of the negative thinking in this subject is identified with CPAs. After all, it is you who have to tell the business owner the bad news...
So, assuming there would be some negative emotions attached to their view of the accounting professionals, would it make sense that they would play a bit harder to get than if you were to sell cellular phones or something like that?
Right. That's part of it. But there is more.
Answer this question: If checked right at this minute, how many small businesses do you think would have all of their documents in order, all accountable paid on time, money on the bank account, everything as it should be?
Half of them? Third? Less than that?
This brings us to another point in how the business owners sometimes see you, the CPA. They see you as an authority. They see a CPA as someone that is needed when the business owner has thoroughly messed up his things... you know, like when I.R.S. recommends (strongly) they get a CPA to put things in order...
So the other problem here is that some business owners will be afraid or ashamed to show you the state their finances are in.
It is a fact that some just don't have a CPA (starting companies during their first year) at all... and the mess is something fantastic by now... and yet they will not sign onto your services!
You know how people who so obviously NEED your help can so automatically tell you they DON'T need it?
This is something that accounting professionals have in common with Attorneys-at-Law; call around and you will find NOBODY needs a lawyer, ever. It's perceived as admitting to fault... it is WAY too direct a question.
The round-about way
So the first you have to know is that you will seldom get prospects if you offer your services directly.
It is just too DIRECT an approach... it will make business owners automatically tell you they don't need you... no matter HOW desperately they do!
If you want people to contact you, offer a free consultation instead... or a free introductory service... something that does not seem to require any decision to CHANGE CPAs at that time. More of this later - but there's a tremendous resistance to the IDEA of changing accountants / CPAs.
You'll hear a lot of them tell you that they really aren't thinking about changing their CPA... even if they so obviously are! Go figure...
Now, here's the paradox: There's a big DESIRE to change - and there's a HUGE fear of committing until the client is CERTAIN he isn't changing from bad to worse.
Helping your client to formulate facts and views
When asked, about 90% of business owners freely admit they have NO WAY of determining the professional skills of a CPA or accountant.
Basically this means they cannot evaluate or compare CPAs and their services.
Of this naturally follows, they have NO WAY OF EVER FINDING A BETTER CPA. Thus, they STAY with the current service provider, satisfied or not!
Therefore, if you want prospects and if you want these to sign onto your services, you need to HELP business owners to make that evaluation and comparison.
Might sound a bit excotic, but that's the only way you can get clients EFFECTIVELY. Everything else is leaving your chances to Lady Luck.
The power of self-created opinion (fact, certainty, whatever you want to call it) is awesome. Once a person has decided that something is "good" or "bad," "useful" or "useless," "an opportunity" or "a scam" - then that's what it IS for that person.
See, objective truth has nothing to do with it as such. A prospect can decide you are "unprofessional" - he isn't bothered the slightest about the fact that he doesn't have the expertise to actually DETERMINE the level of your professionalism.
No, that's nothing to him. You're a dunce - that's it. Judge, jury and executioner all in one - with no right to an appeal.
You know that's how it is - and you've experienced it many a time in NEGATIVE issues.
But the same principle works in POSITIVE opinions as well.
If you get the prospect to form several positive ideas about you and your services... then there isn't anybody in this world that could convince him otherwise.
Now it works FOR you. Only - you cannot achieve this kind of realization in the mind of your prospect by TELLING him how great you are.
See the dilemma?
Searching for answers
To come up with an effective introductory service - and a desirable service model - you need to find answers to many questions.
What should you offer to your target audience? Which CPA services do most business owners WANT? Which aspects of these services are most desirable and positive in their eyes?
Which subjects, phrases or even words should you AVOID because they will immediately create negative thoughts in the minds of most prospects?
How do you get prospects to formulate the kind of opinions you want - those that will help you to become positively different in his eyes?
The technical nature of your services isn't really concerned here. Nor do you need totally unique services.
If your competitors cannot convey a workable understanding to the business owners on the services they offer... well, then it's "nothing" really - that's what the target audience will perceive it as, see?
Don't worry about what competitors offer. Worry about making YOUR target audience understand what YOU offer - and offer it using THEIR viewpoint and words.
It can take some thinking to come up with answers. The only truly reliable way is to conduct a wide survey.
But you can always improve it on your own. Try to write down all the complaints or requests you have ever heard from clients and put yourself in their position - what would YOU want from a CPA if you were a client?
If some other accounting professional were to service you... what would you want to know, what should he do, how would you like to be serviced?
Put it on laymans' language, skipping all accounting terminology and any other "high-business-English" stuff your regular business owner might not understand.
Next, write down what BENEFITS each of these things would bring to your clients. Look at it from the clients viewpoint. What solutions would these services offer? If you cannot find any real benefit to some of the services you wrote down, it isn't going to dazzle your target group for sure, so you might as well leave it out.
Again, steer clear of fancy business terminology that sounds impressive but means nothing to most clients. That's not going to impress anyone.
Then try to come up with the MOST pressing problem that business owners have. It has to be something that's REAL to them and something they are also willing to DO something about - otherwise you'll create a negative effect instead of a positive one.
After researching this industry for over two years we did come up with a very workable added-value accounting service. It is based on what business owners want most. It is presented with a specific approach that has proven to be both acceptable and interesting to the target audience.
This system is used by CPAs in 45 states within the US and by Chartered Accountants in Canada, U.K. and Ireland - and by accounting firms world over in more than 30 countries.
To get a detailed presentation of this system, click here to see the contents of the one and only Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course.
If nothing else, it'll give a more ideas on how and what to offer to business owners to create an instant interest and make them see you as their preferred chosen accounting professional!
|Which are the effective elements in a CPA service presentation and sales system - which parts are essential if you want RESULTS with certainty?|
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