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How to sell without product pushing

Fear of selling is holding accountants back.

Product pushing is trying to sell a number of different products or services to clients irrespective of their needs. We've all experienced the stereotypical insurance salesperson who is only interested in getting the sale. As the client in this situation we want to run for the hills or blow up the phone.
Accountants fear the product pusher label, but we have a unique perspective of our clients' needs, and provided we only sell based on this, we will always be problem-solving.

So how do we overcome this fear?

We could hang out 'below the line' (see my previous blog on OARBED) or we could get out of BED by overcoming this fear and taking ownership and responsibility for helping our clients. After all, in these challenging economic times, SMEs need help to grow their wealth and cashflow more than ever.

In my view no-one is better positioned to help than Accountants; we understand business, we can see the points of weakness in our clients' financials and we have the experience of dealing with many different business types.

But do SMEs know that we can help in this way?

How do we demonstrate the wonderful promises we make on our websites and in marketing collateral? If we're too scared to sell these additional services, clients aren't miraculously going to come asking for them.
I've never had a client wake up one morning and decide; 'I'd like to spend more money with my Accountant today!'

I've never had a client wake up one morning and decide;                 'I'd like to spend more money with my Accountant today!'
The end result is a self-fulfilling prophecy; clients don't buy the value-add services (because we're too scared to offer them) and then we assume they don't need them.

If our clients don't know we offer these value-add services they'll either look for help elsewhere or simply not get the support that they need.

5 ways to overcome your fear of product pushing:

1. Understand the value of your service, and the problems it will solve.
How is this service going to build wealth, profit or cashflow? Or, will it free up time and reduce stress for your client? Remember the Three Freedoms: Financial, Time and Mind.

2. Believe in your value and back yourself.
You have the skills and experience to help, no-one knows your clients' financial situation better than you do. If you lack confidence, it's time to build it.

3. Articulate this value and stop speaking 'Accountanese.'
Use language that helps your clients understand WIIFM ('what's in it for me?').

4. Ask for the order - state your price and shut up!
It sounds blunt but your client will either accept or decline your proposal. If they decline it's because their perception of the value you are offering doesn't outweigh the price (see point 1). In this case you can ask them how they propose to solve the problems you've identified.

If a client declines, this is their choice; don't push and remember 'no' isn't necessarily 'never.'

5. You must learn how to sell.
Your clients need these services but they're not going to line up to buy them; unlike compliance - they aren't compulsory. Selling is an acquired skill, so get the training and support you need - just as you have on the technical aspects of your role.
Lack of sales skills seems to be a major roadblock preventing Accountants from overcoming their fear of selling.

It's time to get out of BED, face your fear and start selling the services your clients want and need - they'll thank you for it... and if you don't do it - someone else will.
By Mark Jenkins - Industry Coach.