Many people give recognition to their family, their friends or even a mentor for their success.
I can name the author of every book I've read or a speaker at the numerous events I have attended.
But, at the end of the day, I have to give my recognition to written and systematized processes and procedures.
Strategic systems have allowed my practice to thrive, with or without me present.
And the system that continues to bring me immense success is my 7 Step Sales Process (with a 90% success rate over the years)
Now I am not sharing this brag but because I want you to see the importance of having written systems in place and the way you can benefit.
Which is why I have shared my sales process with you so you can see how it can be applied to your practice.
Here’s the process I have in place when someone calls my office wanting to meet with me:
When the prospect calls, the administrative person in my front office collects all their information on a preliminary interview sheet, including questions about their existing CPA relationship and the reason they want to meet with me.
The meeting with me is scheduled for the following week, usually about five to seven business days after the initial call.
In the meantime, we mail a packet of information that the prospect will receive before they come to meet with me. This contains several items:
- A sheet on the team members in the office
- My book; Straight Talk About Small Business Success in New Jersey
- 1 page of testimonials from personal and business
- Past print newsletters
It’s a thick packet of information, which I call the “Shock and Awe” packet.
The goal of this packet is to impress the heck out of the prospect. We also include a “confidential application” in the packet which they must complete.
As no one likes to be sold – but everyone likes to buy – I start the meeting with the prospect by asking how they heard about my firm. I ask to take a look at their completed application so I can get a better overview of their revenues, their goals, books they have read, etc.
I probe into their needs to find out what has been lacking in their existing CPA relationship and learn why they are looking for a change. I also find out about their major challenges and their long and short-term growth plans.
All the while, I am making notes, and I take a brief look at their business and personal tax returns. I am listening 90% of the time and only interjecting when I want to encourage the prospect to dig deeper into their issues. This is important; most CPAs go astray here, because they are not listening. Instead, they are droning on about themselves and trying too hard to “sell” the client.
By engaging the prospect with good probing questions and active listening, you differentiate yourself from the rest of the practitioners in your area. I then use my notes to recap the things they need help on.
In the next stage, I talk about what differentiates my firm from the rest; I explain the service packages we offer, and then I go into fees.
Differentiating myself and my firm is important because when I come to the part where I talk about my fees, I don’t want the prospect to say that another CPA quoted a lower fee. I have changed the playing field so that the services they will receive from me are perceived to be very different from what my competitors would offer.
Remember, if you fail to differentiate yourself from the competition, the only difference the client sees is cost.
Next, I get the appropriate signature and payment and my firm has now added a new business client.
After the client is signed up, I will briefly meet with my office manager to hand off the client paperwork. She takes if from there and will call the client two days later to officially welcome them to our CPA practice. She then schedules their orientation meeting two weeks later. We are looking at this as a lifetime relationship and a strong referral source, so we invest in it from the get-go!
By the time the prospect meets with me, she already knows she wants to do business with me. Closing the sale is effortless – even in an “impossible” space of time.
This sales process takes time to perfect but once it is put in place, signing clients is a piece of cake!