Often when I speak with bookkeeping and accounting professionals, and the subject moves to growing their businesses, inevitably someone mentions that it would be so much easier for them if they had a “sales personality.”
That gives me a chance to engage in one of my favorite teaching moments, which is that all personalities are sales personalities.
Whether you believe you sell or don’t sell as part of growing your business it honestly has nothing to do with if you are gregarious and charming or shy and methodical.
Instead, I believe it has everything to do with your mindset.
If you allow yourself to shift to a sales mindset, you will be amazed at how much better you can sell your services, enhance the packages that people buy, and grow your businesses.
You don’t have to be pushy or bold to get people to buy more of your services.
But you do have to communicate that what you are offering will make their life easier, solve their problems, and allow them to focus on running their own businesses more effectively. Remember, we are solution providers and we need to be effective at communicating that fact.
Developing a sales mindset
The single biggest change of mindset that you can do to increase your service sales is to put your mind into the “headspace” of the customer.
The great majority of the bookkeepers who are members of our network are operating their own businesses.
While you are doing your work, consider the kinds of people you pay to perform other services for you.
If you have children, you may be paying for some form of a day care service. If you are so busy in your office all day that you cannot keep up household tasks, you may employ maid services, painters, carpenters, and landscapers.
You don’t consider them to be “sales-people” as such, but it may be their brochure in your mailbox, their knock on your door, their website, or meeting them at a networking event that prompted you to become their customer.
That same strategy can work for you.
What are your customers concerned about? What do they have to concentrate on to grow their business? What would make their life a lot easier? What stress could you help remove from their life?
A bookkeeper is in a better position than most service providers to know what is really on the entrepreneur’s mind. You know what their financial strengths are and quite often where their weaknesses are. This gives you insider knowledge that most sales professionals would give a portion of their commission to discover.
What additional service could you offer that would ease some of their burden? Could you take over payroll if you aren’t doing it already? Could you handle filing their HST for them? Could you add income tax preparation to your services for this client? Is there an additional reporting package you could provide that would give them greater insights to their company?
You are not actually selling in this sense, you are helping, and that is what happens when you shift to a sales mindset. You are a problem solver, and if at the end of the day your business grows as a result of the problems you solve, that is an end result that is win-win.
Take time to have conversations
You may have a client who drops off accounts once a week and your entire conversation may be limited to “thanks” or “cold day, isn’t it?”
Try to enlarge your conversational repertoire with your clients as you develop your sales mindset. Stay on top of news developments in your community and in the world in general so you can be aware if something is happening that could impact your client’s business.
Work it casually into your conversation. You don’t have to be able to solve the issue; what you are doing is simply expanding your business conversation and building a broader relationship. You are also sending the message that you care about their business and them, and that you think of them in a broader context than just doing their books.
I am convinced that while people may just walk into stores and buy products from people they don’t know or even like, they are more likely to purchase ongoing services from people they have built a trusting relationship with and whom they like.
Understand that you often have to ask for the business
Another aspect of developing your sales mindset is understanding that as comfortable as your client feels with you, they may not necessarily ask you outright if you provide a certain service. They may assume that what you are doing is the only thing that you do.
It is your job in trying to grow your own business to actually ask for their business.
You can follow-up a good conversation with something like:
“It’s been great talking to you today. I can see you have a lot on your plate. If you need help, there are a lot of those jobs that I could help you with. Could I put a little proposal together for you on how it might work?”
In the same vein, if they have asked you a lot of questions about additional services and you sense they are interested, don’t let them leave without some next course of action designated.
For example, you could say: “I can tell from this conversation that I could take away one of your time-heavy tasks right away and help give you some time back. Would you like to go ahead with that?”
If they say, “yes,” then you’ve just made the sale. If they say “not just yet,” reassure them you are there when they are ready and better yet, try to get them to agree that it would be okay for you to call them about it in a couple of months or whatever time seems realistic based on your conversations.
Shift your sales mindset further
When you are selling professional services, look at each client not just as someone who purchased a service, but someone who has enrolled in your business and can graduate to another level as time passes.
If you don’t have a sales background, it is a great way to keep yourself from thinking that the one service they buy is the beginning and end of your dealings with them.
In fact, they are entering your bookkeeping service, a place where you will handle their financial details efficiently, and when they want to transition to a higher grade with more services, you will be happy to help them graduate into more advanced services.
At the very least, they are now into your sales funnel even if you didn’t know you had one. 🙂
Thank you for reading. I hope you found some value. Until next time. Take good care.
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