31 August 2017

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Since 40% of my followers are Accountants I thought I’d write this one for them, having said that what I’m about to say applies to all professional service firms including the Health Industry as well as most small business owners.

So read on…

Selling doesn’t sit naturally with many accountants (and other professional service firms) for a few good reasons.

Historically you weren’t allowed to sell. It wasn’t that long ago that selling and marketing weren’t allowed by your regulatory bodies. And this legacy still lurks, especially in the larger firms that have been around for decades.

Sales is all taught wrong. You get taught sales techniques and sales tactics like you’re in a game with your clients that you are trying to win. That might work in the short-term, but as soon as your clients realise they’re not playing a win/.win game with you, they’ll be gone.

You’ve experienced ‘not so good’ sales people yourself. We all have this image of the terrible salesperson that tried (and maybe succeeded) to sell us that thing we didn’t want, with ‘techniques’ we didn’t like and for more than we wanted to pay. And because we didn’t like being sold to, we therefore don’t want our clients to experience the same.

Selling just isn’t what accountants do. So you’ve studied hard to hone your craft of being an accountant. You paid money to do so. You passed exams. And now you’re being told that you need to learn this skill which anyone can learn, requires no examination and no qualification

And here I am, telling you it’s the most important skill for you to learn. And it’s in the understanding of this one point, where your world is about to change. And not only your world but the world of your team and the world of your clients too.

I plan to answer this question in three parts: (a part of the first part J is in this BLOG — the rest of the story is in my free report on why selling is the most important skill for accountants to master. You can get that report simply by writing to me trevor@trevormarchant.com and I’ll also send you David Leddy’s — DLA Partners , Aspley QLD- white paper on Selling — The Missing Link)

I’m going to change your thinking of what you think selling is, to the point where you’ll be championing it in your firm. In part two you’ll discover the massive benefit this is going to have for your client’s businesses as well as your own business, with one story that will become your ‘eureka’ moment. And in the final part, I’m going to give you some very clear practical steps, so you can actually take action around what you’re about to learn, including one obscure step, which underpins everything.

So let’s start by understanding why selling is the most important skill for accountants to learn.

You see, to sell is to serve. In fact it comes for the old English term sellan — meaning to give.

Without a sale, no value can be exchanged. You can be the greatest accountant in the world, with the ability to deeply enhance a business, but if you’re unable to sell me the services I need, then I don’t benefit in any way, and neither do you.

So by not selling services a client needs is to place them at a disadvantage and this means you’re not doing your ‘job.’ You’re not giving your client the opportunity to be the ‘best they can be’ and not giving their business the opportunity to be ‘the best it can be…’

If you know you could provide me with a service that will genuinely help my business to be more financially secure or more profitable then to sell me those services is — I believe — your ethical obligation. Otherwise, I may fail.

And why can I say that with such conviction?

It’s because I’ve been through the pain of having a business come very close to ‘the wall’ and looking back, it’s because I hadn’t been sold the services I actually needed and therefore my business’s finance function had gaping holes in it. And it was through those holes that I leaked profit and became exposed to risks which almost took us over the edge.

Selling Isn’t Just About Selling

And if this hasn’t swayed you, please understand this: selling isn’t just about exchanging money for services. Selling is simply your ability to influence your clients towards a course of action which better serves them. Let me say that again. Selling is simply your ability to influence your clients towards a course of action which better serves them.

This might be selling them on the fact that they need to cut their overheads. It might be selling them on the fact that they need to take on that next member of staff. It might be selling them on the fact that they need to reconcile their accounts faster so you can provide them with more timely information.

This is why selling, or rather your ability to influence, is the most important skill an accountant can have. And if you don’t think you’re a salesperson, remember that you were born a sales expert….which I will explain in my report.

In the meantime

Good Luck and (always) Good Selling

PS. The late and great Sir Winston Churchill said after the victory of the battle of El Alamein-

“Now is not the end, it is not even the beginning of the end. But perhaps it is the end of the beginning.”

It is now the end of the beginning. The next phase is about helping your clients achieve their goals and that will not only take all of your accounting knowledge and skills but also your ability to sell and influence them to take certain courses of action to improve their business and their overall lifestyle. That’s what they want — that’s what they are turning to you for…

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