Whether you have a new employee fresh out of college or a seasoned tax professional with many years of experience, there is one role everyone should be prepared to do in a small firm: sales. Indeed, from the administrative staff to the CEO, at some point, your team may be put in a position where they have to sell services, or even cross sell and upsell current clients.
This is a crucial role for any business and one that needs to be developed. What can you do to prepare your team to sell services? Here are a few helpful tips from our firm and how we have done it.
Clarity of your services
It’s important that you build some sort of sales component into your training with all employees, ensuring that, at the very least, everyone on your team is able to speak knowledgeably and confidently about the services your firm provides, even if they aren’t the ones providing them.
This may require you to do some more due diligence to truly figure out your firm’s service package. If you can’t clearly communicate it in simple and straightforward terms, then you shouldn’t expect your employees to be able to do it, either.
My father, Ford Baker, founder and owner of The BaCo Group, owned his practice for more than 25 years before he realized that he needed help crafting his story and learning how to speak briefly, but clearly. He enrolled in a local chapter of Toastmasters to sharpen his communication skills, and he says it has been a game changer for him and his ability to pitch new business.
Most clients will want to know that there is a potentially better service package you can offer them. Some can get very turned off by upselling, but you should realize that your clients are already sold on you and your firm. They trust you, and if you have an opportunity to improve your service package, most will be interested. If there is an opportunity presented to do something new for a client, vocalize that with them.
Have clear pricing models
The BaCo Group has adopted a flat fee, value pricing model for their clients, so adding on new services or updating engagement letters is quite simple. The client has a clear understanding of their financial obligations, and they don’t have to worry about a price coming in higher than expected after the service is complete.
If you have been thinking about moving to flat fee, now may be the perfect time. After 2020, business owners are hungrier than ever for reliable financial services. Moving to a value-based model can deliver the message that you and your firm are more concerned with the quality of service that you give them, rather than the quantity of service you give them.
If you aren’t looking to make that move, make sure that when you enter into an engagement with a new client, you have clear pricing models, so they have a general idea of what to expect and are not surprised by their bill.
Invest in your clients
Show your clients that you are willing to strive to continually improve your services. That can mean a variety of things, whether it’s solving some accounting file hosting issues for your clients, investing in workflow solutions that makes you more efficient, or simply providing more touchpoints with them throughout the year. Clients will notice if you are improving and constantly trying to outdo what you did last year. Adding value to the relationship will make a client more willing to increase their services.
Invest in your people
Give members of your team the confidence to take action. If you have younger staff, involve them in the sales process early on. Give your administrators the tools to answer questions and qualify leads, even if that means writing out a script with screening questions for if/when a potential new client calls you directly.
Having your staff feel as if they are valued and trusted will help them want to add value back into the firm. Give your team some room to have initiative for themselves and lead their clients.
Selling requires initiative and requires confidence. In a small business, the whole team must be ready to grab an oar and help steer the ship. For firm owners, develop a sales plan, carve out roles, and invest in your people and your clients. Growth will come.