As an accounting or tax professional, you’ve already mastered the skills to provide top-notch services. Now, as you look to expand your own business, you need a proven method for selling those services to clients. Beyond that, you need a sales strategy that feels authentic and true to your brand.Even though this step is vital for business growth, tax and accounting providers often struggle to find the time and resources needed to skillfully sell their services. Many day-to-day tasks are focused on actual client work, making it difficult to acquire new customers or sign more contracts.If you’ve wondered how to sell accounting tax services in 2022, this post is for you. We’ll share some of our favorite tips for selling that won’t take up your entire workday or make you feel like you’re compromising on the integrity of your tax and accounting services business.
Sales vs. marketing–what you need to know for the tax and accounting profession
One of the biggest mistakes we see with new accounting firms is the tendency to combine sales and marketing into one big picture strategy.While you might rely on some of the same personnel to complete these functions (especially if you’re just starting out), sales and marketing are not the same.To truly grasp how to sell your accounting and tax preparation services, you need to distinguish these strategies. Here’s a simple way to think about the difference between two crucial business elements.
A good marketing strategy at your tax or accounting firm should be focused on driving awareness. Regardless of what type of marketing campaign or business model you’re running, the goal is likely to showcase your company in a positive light to prospective clients.Marketing for small businesses can take several familiar forms, including:
- Lead generation – Collecting and gathering information from prospects who may turn into paying customers (based on interest and need)
- Nurturing – Increasing brand loyalty and trust by continuing to build relationships with an existing client base and future customers
- Advertisement – Running paid campaigns to increase visibility and awareness or convert new users to active customers
Marketing teams may work in several different platforms and combine inbound and outbound channels to achieve results.
In comparison, sales is focused on generating revenue by converting a general brand awareness into customers and clients who pay for services. This is a crucial element to any growth strategy.Sales is more than brand promotion, and it often involves layering strategies to connect with customers, increase efficiency, and produce positive outcomes.According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, sales strategies are built around “connecting with potential customers, talking and listening to them, then converting them into paying customers.”As you can see, there is a relational component to both marketing and sales strategies. In order to sell your accounting and tax services in 2022, you must remember that people most often buy from other real people. Business clients rarely make large investments without receiving high quality value from multiple touchpoints.
Top tips for selling accounting and tax services to clients
Now that you have a foundation for understanding why sales matters to your tax or accounting practice, it’s time to get practical. Whether you’re a veteran seller or you’re new to booking clients, the tips below can help you leverage the power of your brand (and skills) in order to run a successful business.
Tip 1: Know your specific customer (and how you help new business clients)
One of the first ways to improve your selling this year is to have an exceptionally clear picture of your target market or audience. Some businesses develop a fictional “buyer persona” that informs and clearly defines the most important qualities of potential clients.Whether or not you choose to develop a persona, it’s always a good idea to identify the type of client you can immediately help. Define the pain points of your client, and clearly communicate how you solve those issues or make life easier.If you have a dedicated sales staff, ensure that their business conversations and customer-facing actions are clearly defined by the characteristics of your ideal client. Speaking directly to a problem allows future customers a chance to see how their life, work, or experience could be improved.
Tip 2: Try “productizing” your tax and accounting services
Many tax and accounting services are one-to-one, meaning that it takes one tax or accounting professional to help solve the needs of one corresponding customer. While this is a highly personal approach, it can also be fairly time consuming.Because today’s economy is digital, there are more opportunities now to create “one-to-many” interactions, which means that businesses can package and sell the same service to more than one client at a time. According to Samantha Mansfield, a tax business consultant, this is referred to as “productizing your tax and accounting services.”If you have a repeatable process, or even a proven method for solving a common tax or financial problem, brainstorm how you could convert that into a tangible asset or program. Consider turning this service-based knowledge into a product that helps generate more sales in the coming months (without extra hours and manpower).
Tip 3: Develop standardized processes
One of the most laborious parts of selling new tax prep and accounting services can be starting from scratch with each new lead or prospect. Although it’s important to understand what every unique client needs, your underlying sales process should be automatic enough to save time and effort, which results in continuous improvement.A repeatable process means that you have a clear idea on aspects like:
- Lead management (from acquisition, final conversion, and other tasks related to lead follow-through)
- Realistic pricing (at multiple levels or tiers, comparable to others in the industry)
- Problem resolution (how you solve a pain point or frustration)
At the end of the day, your process should help you filter out the clients who are willing and ready to pay the price you’ve set for the problem-solving solutions you provide.
Tip 4: Incorporate cross-selling techniques
In accounting and tax businesses, cross-selling can happen when a client comes to you with a specific need at a given time. Not only can you solve their primary problem, but you know that your organization is also capable of fixing another problem on their list as well.For example, imagine that a local bakery owner needs bookkeeping help year-round. They come to you because they want to better understand operating costs, cash flow, expenses, profit, and even payroll.During tax season, you realize that the baker owner doesn't have a designated CPA to help with preparing and filing state and federal business taxes; if your business offers both accounting and bookkeeping services, this is an opportunity to cross-sell.Depending on how diverse your list of services is, you may have many opportunities to sell other solutions to existing clients. Remember, the goal is not just to upsell so that people spend more money. Instead, it should always be about solving a real problem with a qualified and proven solution.
Tip 5: Use the right platforms, tools, and automated software
To successfully sell accounting and tax services to new clients, you should invest in tools that make it easier. An intuitive marketing and sales platform or a comprehensive customer relationship management system (CRM) will help you accomplish more than you could do on your own.Project management tools also alleviate stress and provide significant growth opportunity.In addition to providing better workflows between departments and team members, digital tools and software can automate aspects of the sales journey that many businesses struggle to maintain. The data is also important for enhancing your advisory services and customer retention rates.
Sales mistakes to avoid in your strategy
Well-meaning business owners don’t make most mistakes on purpose. But when you have plenty of tasks and operations to manage, it’s easy to let a few things slip. To save your sales efforts, we’ve picked a few of the most common mistakes that we see service providers make when it comes to selling more services.
- Using only one channel for lead generation – Generating new leads for your business is multi-faceted, and prospective clients spend time in many different places (both online and offline). To capture the most data about new leads, you should invest in a multichannel approach that allows you to capture interest in more than one place. For example, you should always include a lead capture form on your website, but you might also choose to run social ads on platforms where your buyers spend time.
- Booking any client (regardless of need or fit) – As you strive to grow your tax or accounting business, it can be tempting to sign any client. Be cautious, and truly get to know your prospective customers. Never sell a service or speciality that you don’t offer. Instead, use the opportunity to pass along a referral.
- Ignoring the user experience – Part of the sales experience involves your client’s perspective on how the process works. Take advantage of opportunities to make the client’s role easier. For instance, could you improve your website navigation so that common questions are readily visible? Can you reduce the amount of time that it takes to hear back from a tax or accounting expert?
CountingWorks PRO and sales strategy
CountingWorks PRO provides automation and support where you need it most. Although you’ll discover plenty of marketing tools at your fingertips, we also take your brand awareness strategy one step further. Our intuitive platform can help you convert more leads to clients—a win-win for your sales goals.CountingWorks PRO complements your existing strategies with features such as:
- Lead Capture - Use proven website conversion tools to capture information on prospective clients and deliver the assets that are most helpful.
- Automated Scheduling – Ditch the tedious game of phone tag with new clients; opt for automated scheduling tools that make it easy for clients to find time with your team.
- Dashboard – Get actionable insights into what’s working and what’s not. Download tax and accounting data (from a marketing and sales angle) in real time.
Sell with the right support
No matter how confident you are about your services, it can be very difficult to sell without the right strategies, platforms, and support. CountingWorks PRO can alleviate some of that burden in order to free up your time, resources, and attention. This helps you to focus on what truly matters to your business and to your clients.Are you ready to offload some of the sales stress and find a workable solution that grows with you? CountingWorks PRO is here. With 8,000 tax and accounting professionals in our network, we’ll help you find the tools you need to scale with ease.