Sales 101 for tax professionals: the basics

Grow your practice, Practice Management target niche

Accountants with salesmanship, we can do it! Most tax professionals I know are really busy keeping up with the ever-increasing complexity of the tax code and working hard to service clients, which leaves little time for our business development efforts. This is certainly the case in our firm; in fact, most of our new business comes from referrals and word of mouth, so it’s easy to see why sales skills are not our greatest strength.

Especially in our current reality where many of us are working from home and limiting our time out and about, it can be harder to connect with potential new clients. Here are several basic strategies you can start doing today that will help you generate leads and expand your client base.

Find your niche

You can’t sharpen your sales techniques if you don’t have a clear idea of who you’re trying to sell to, what they value in a tax pro, and how they prefer to communicate. Start by thinking back to your best clients, the smoothest projects, and the times your clients were over-the-moon happy with your service. Identify a pattern and determine a segment of clients that are best suited for your firm.

The current theme in our profession is to identify your niches. At Pure, we’re also after technology-inclined small business clients that are comfortable embracing cloud-based tax and accounting technologies. We also seek clients that see the value in a trusted advisor and are interested in developing a partnership relationship. One of our taglines is “Thank you for partnering with Pure for your tax and accounting needs.”

Reach your target audience

Once you’ve determined the best clients for you, it’s time to start reaching them. Again, in today’s world, this is a bit trickier, so it’s becoming increasingly important to make yourself visible. Consider writing an article, starting a blog, hosting a webinar, or becoming an accounting TikTok celebrity. Okay, I was just kidding on that last one, but be bold in selling yourself! Let your clients know you want more great clients like them. If they are happy with your work, request they tell their friends and/or post a review.

In “Using technology to enhance your social network,” I explained how it is virtually impossible to maintain genuine connections with thousands of people within your network. Instead, it is better to prioritize quality over quantity, and focus your energy on building stronger relationships with a few select colleagues.

The same is true for selling your firm’s services. You may have already found that narrowing down your niche and specializing in a few small areas is far more efficient than casting the widest net possible. Focusing on the clients that make the most sense for your firm’s strengths leads to happier clients, increased efficiency, and increased profitability.

Sell your value

Differentiate yourself from the crowd. Make it personal. Develop relationships. What value are you passionate about providing to clients that makes you unique?

Clients who see the value in what you do will be happy to pay their invoices, leave you a Google review, and tell their friends and peers about their experience with your firm.

Whatever your “thing” is, sell it. Write your elevator pitch around it and highlight your focus on your social media pages. Make it clear to the world who you are and why clients should find value in what you do.

Customize techniques for your firm

Every firm is different, with varying degrees of comfort reaching out to prospects and networking with clients for referrals. Find your sweet spot and do what you do best: talk about your strengths, experience, and knowledge.

Remember, too, that no matter how small or large your firm is, every team member is a member of the sales team. Instill this in your staff as much as you can, and you’ll soon see spikes in leads and referrals.