The way out of the Accounting service's hourly rate's trap is through value pricing that allows you also to separate your income from the hours spent earning it. Learn how the traditional marketing strategy actually fails you in pricing...

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The pricing-income-time -trap that traditional marketing of Accounting services sets up for us

Is the viability of your Accounting firm trapped in pricing by hourly rates?Pricing Accounting services isn't all that easy. Justifying the hourly rates is a constant pain for most Accounting firms.

To say the least, it is embarrassing to have to EXPLAIN hourly billing rates.

Whether or not a client actually enquires or complains about the rates, it is known to be a top item of complaints among business owners. Any survey ASKING about this will show just how fixated business owners are on "high pricing of Accounting services."

But WHY?

Do they want you to work for NOTHING?

Or, do they so NOT value Accounting service that they consider it not worth paying for?

Well, I've got good and bad news for you.

The good news is that there's nothing wrong with what you deliver and the price is not too high.

The bad news is that we've been on the wrong road with pricing of services for quite a while, due to traditional marketing methods.

We are selling the WRONG thing and therefore we're in a PRICING TRAP that cannot be escaped by use of traditional marketing principles.

 

Which businesses complain about the price of Accounting services?

Not every client or company feels bad about the pricing of Accounting services.

Roughly, one could compare the reaction to hourly rates of Accounting firms to two categories.

Medium sized companies with "professional-buyer attitude" don't usually complain.

Instead, most complaints or negative viewpoints on the pricing of Accounting services come from smaller companies - those with the owner personally running the company and paying (or authorising the payment of) the bills.

Unfortunately this is also our bread and butter: SME companies are the biggest category of clients for any Accounting firm.

To disregard the issue of making your pricing attractive to owner-run small-to-medium sized companies would thus cause the problems to continue with the MAJORITY of your existing clients - and it would, of course, be the same story with NEW clients as well.

 

Traditional marketing of Accounting services - taking the wrong route

One can hypothesise endlessly on the cause of these complains targeting the price of Accounting services. It is all too easy to think that people are naturally unappreciative or mean.

It is all but impossible to set precise mathematical values for appreciation.

Yet, there are some fundamental building blocks to creating value and a sense of receiving fair exchange for what one has paid for.

Let's look at what creates the feeling of having received ample exchange for moneys paid.

First of all, it's not the same thing than what we see as a "good bargain."

A good bargain is a one-time happenstance wherein we get something of known, well-established value at much lower cost. While we TAKE these bargains whenever we can, the motivation behind them is to achieve ONE-SIDED GAIN and the motivation is anything from commonsense frugality to just straightforward greed.

To utilise the concept of a "good bargain" means you need to EVOKE that feeling of "here's an exceptional opportunity to get one-sided gain."

This concept is easiest to recognise in consumer marketing. In essence, the buyer is tempted to "STEAL" something at a "ridiculously low cost." Supermarkets spend untold fortunes in advertising these bargains - and often sell the item itself at a LOSS to the consumer.

These so-called "loss-leaders" - items sold at a price lower than what the supermarket pays for them to the wholesalers - are used under the assumption that it will pull in new clients that will then REMAIN faithful to that chain of supermarkets.

But will it, really?

If someone is offered a product or service at a fraction of its cost - with the actual cost well known to those it's offered to - then is that going to lay a healthy foundation for mutually beneficial trading?

If you encourage him "to steal" something of value at half-a-price or less, will it really help to build a better client-relationship?

Will it increase or decrease the perceived value of the item of sale itself?

Or - will it only serve to REPEL clients, inadvertently turning them into "unintentional thieves" as they KNOW they're not paying the true exchange value of what they get?

The "bargain lure" is most prominently used in consumer marketing.

But, unfortunately, it is also the approach traditional marketing of Accounting services is BASED on, regardless of how well-refined the messages.

It is the basic strategy that it all builds on.

And that's how the traditional marketing approach creates a cul-de-sac of kinds - a glass ceiling for the pricing of Accounting services. The business community has a high awareness of the "fair price" of Accounting.

This approach doesn't establish any VALUE at all.

Instead, it sells LOW PRICE, fixating the buyer's attention on PRICE, not on the value of the service itself.

The fundamental mistaken assumption of traditional marketing strategy is that your target audience already understands the full value of Accounting services.

But they don't, do they?

 

Establishing high value for your Accounting service

What establishes value in a person's mind for something?

Sense of value is, of course, a subjective viewpoint. What is valuable to one person can be worthless to another.

Value is something each person decides independently. It is attributed to your service by way of self-determined decision of a potential client.

The traditional marketing of Accounting services assumes the target audience has, at large, already attributed great value to the services of an Accounting firm. Only, they haven't.

Failing that, the traditional marketing advises us to TELL the prospect that our service is valuable. But will a business owner meekly ACCEPT this self-asserting claim from us?

Doubtful, isn't it?

No - what works is something totally different.

It is a PROCESS through which you need to take each and every potential client.

It is YOU whose task it is to allow that sense of value become attached to YOUR services.

Don't expect your prospect to HAVE that understanding conveniently pre-installed.

The concelt of VALUE could be defined (in its ideal state) as:

"An idea of worth, usefulness, and desirability associated with Accounting services — and the expectation OR understanding of the benefits that follow from receiving the service."

Well, you KNOW all of this, of course. But how would you define the concept of "Accounting services?"

How would you verbalise the valuable in what a client receives?

Interestingly, very few of us actually ever write down and define WHAT exactly IS VALUABLE in what we deliver.

And let me assure you that unless WE know what it is, unless we USE that precise definition in marketing... it isn't going get communicated.

It won't be understood by our target audience. Our CLIENTS are definitely not going to figure it out about our services!

So, let's explore this a little. Let me suggest TWO alternative viewpoints of what a client receives from Accounting services.

1.

Accurate, time information enabling the business owner to make correct decisions, find and handle problems when they're still small, and utilise positive trends right away - all resulting in additional monies SAVED and EARNED if compared to NOT having this information.

Additionally, taking care of the mandatory keeping of records and filing of taxes.

   
2. Taking care of the compulsory paperwork that authorities mandate businesses to report.

Now - which of these two would be closest to what YOU consider the valuable item of exchange delivered to clients by Accounting firms?

And which of these two would be more likely to correspond with the awareness level of an average small business owner?

All right - indulge me for a while longer.

Let's suppose that number two above would really represent the level and extent of the AVERAGE client's thinking. After all, he probably hasn't figured out all that thoroughly what is valuable in his OWN service to HIS clients... so one cannot expect him to bother figuring out the "valuables" of YOUR service, wouldn't you say?

To establish value, we must first DEFINE what is valuable. To this, there are again two sides.

One is figuring out the OBJECTIVE valuables - those that the service has the potential to deliver.

The second is the SUBJECTIVE communication of these values. With this, I simply mean that we must use the values, wordings and concepts of our TARGET AUDIENCE in explaining those objective values to them.

For if this step is missing, they just won't understand it, will they? And if that's the case, they won't BUY your service - or, if they're already clients, they won't SEE the value of it.

In establishing value, EVERTHING hangs on whether or not a business owner UNDERSTANDS what he gets.

Significance plays such a decisive role in marketing, selling, and delivering of Accounting services.

It's all in the mind of the receiver - if he doesn't SEE value, if he doesn't UNDERSTAND the usage and benefits of it... then there is NO value in it for him.

To create value for your service, you need to BUILD IT UP with each potential client individually.

(And, to GET potential clients to build it up with you need a very different approach from the traditional marketing of Accounting services - see the article on selecting a prospecting system!)

You build it up within the mind of the potential client.

In other words, you don't TELL him what's valuable - you ask him questions so as to get HIM to invent that value.

Let me say in NO uncertain terms that the average business owner's LACK of familiarity with Accounting & finance makes it impossible to realise the value of your services directly and without your help.

It's a fatal mistake to assume HE understands it just because YOU do.

We are talking light-years and megawatts of difference here between your expertise and his!

Thus, it is vital that you BREAK DOWN the "principal value definition" of your services.

The above definition 1) breaks down to about 30-40 SUB-VALUABLES - smaller values and benefits to be realised by potential clients - and you need to take that "scenic route" if you EVER want it to result in "getting the overall picture!"

Now, here's a vitally important piece of information on that:

In order to make these points TRUE, you have to get each potential client to INVENT these sub-values on his own.

Significance of worth, the concept of value is a subjective thing. It is a very PERSONAL conclusion which can only be born in the mind of the person himiself, "invented" BY himself.

You cannot do his thinking for him.

You cannot just TELL him what he should think and thus, try to bypass the business owner's own (often time-consuming) thinking process.

That won't produce the goods. He MUST go through it in his own mind, he has to focus his attention on each point and EVALUATE the issue on his onw in order to reach at those conclusions which you already know.

There's NO substitute for personal learning when it comes to understanding the VALUE of something.

Don't assume that just because most people agree on (amazingly FEW) physical things being of high value - Rolls Royce, Rolex, other such status symbol trademarks - that this would mean people would agree on the value of Accounting services.

They don't. The vast majority of business owners don't understand what you do. They DO associate you with mandatory taxation and Accounting regulations and, consequently, there's NO HOPE that the average business owner would automatically assing a HIGH valuat to Accounting services.

Quite the contrary, in fact.

Accounting service is a classic example of something whose value depends almost TOTALLY on the individual's own experience, data, understanding and opinions.

For there to BE ANY VALUE attributed to Accounting services, the person MUST have thought it out on his own.

But see - that's not how Accounting services have traditionally been marketed in the past few DECADES. The traditional marketing strategy IS nothing but giving people those "already-thought-out facts" and then spending endless hours in trying to JUSTIFY these claims.

The truth is that very FEW business owners HAVE any personal value attached to Accounting.

Instead, there's a tremendous VOID where "value attributed to the service through personal evaluation" should be!

The PERSONAL value-setting does not exist with most business owners.

In English, this simply means that nobody ever bothered INTERVIEWING them with pertinent questions allowing for this evaluation to take place.

And where a void on VALUE exists, the attention is fixed on mostly NEGATIVE data instead.

Which brings us right back to the COST of Accounting services - and the hourly rates in particular.

Knowing this, it isn't really surprising that surveys show a LOW VALUE attributed to Accounting services in general and/or a consideration that these services are quite expensive.

That doesn't mean that Accounting services would be bad.

But it definitely shows that there's SOMEETHING MISSING in the service. Accounting firms offer an identical basic service (as understood by clients) and it's hard to assign value to something which is so abundantly available everywhere.

And it also shows that very few business owners have been given the chance to EVALUATE these services on their own terms. Or, put another way, very few have been taken through a process that allows them to reassess the value of Accounting services.

"Expensive" - translated - means that a person hasn't been able (or hasn't been allowed, either or) to PERCEIVE the VALUE of what he pays for.

Thus, he compares an understood value (money) to a hazy image of missing values (Accounting services)... and that's an equation that can only bring one result:

It FEELS expensive!

In other words, you need to go through all that is valuable in your service with EACH POTENTIAL CLIENT - and do it in form of questions that will get him to THINK ON HIS OWN and form the opinion of the value.

You don't have to control WHAT he answers - or WHERE on that "value-scale" he sets each of those smaller parts of your service.

The "magical trick" is simply that he ASSIGNS A VALUE to each of those 30-40 smaller parts.

See, he hasn't DONE that before - he has NEVER accredited any of these smaller parts of your service with the concept of VALUE.

That's the trick.

Doing this, he will figure out the "HOW valuable?" of each smaller part. It doesn't really matter HOW HIGH he sets the value of them.

What matters is that he SETS a value to where "no value" previously existed.

The assignment of ANY value is a HUGE improvement when starting from nothing. A value is much better than "nonexistent" or "not even aware that this thing existed" or "never thought of its value, actually."

It makes a tremendous difference!

But that still leaves you with the problem of how to tempt anyone to CHANGE Accountants.

I mean... if you help the business owner understand the value of Accounting services, he isn't going to CHANGE Accountants. Instead, he'll be much more satisfied with his current one, now that he understands the value of the service!

And we want freedom from hourly rates combined with a higher profit margin, right?

So, how are you going to get him to CHANGE over to you AND PAY MORE for... what?

For getting exactly the same service he already receives from his current Accountant?

Fat chance, right?

Right.

If you want to achieve freedom to price your services at value, you must also get yourself a UNIQUE basic service — something that includes compliance services but also offers exactly what the business owner WANTS but can't get from his current service provider.

 

Offer what they WANT MOST — a service others don't have — and you can name your price

To tempt anyone to change over to your firm, you obviously have to offer him something he isn't GETTING from his current Accounting firm.

But how?

Firm to firm, the basic compliance services are really IDENTICAL as seen by clients. Obviously, you're not going to be able to price your services freely — let alone get anyone interested in changing Accountants — unless you can offer something totally unique.

I've got good news for you; such a service exists already. It has been extensively researched and piloted... and it offers a freedom from hourly rates while allowing you to increase your profits with an average 22 percent.

This service is built to fulfill the researched wishes and needs of businesses to the point.

It is a service that the majority of your target audience WANTS - but, amazingly, they think it isn't AVAILABLE anywhere!

It is the way to separate your income and profits from the hours spent earning for it.

It is truly your hidden gold mine.

The new way of Accounting is within the INFORMATION INDUSTRY. Instead of selling mainly SERVICES you should be selling INFORMATION.

That's what business owners uniformly want - to understand their finances better, to be able to USE that time-sensitive information that monthly accounts provide.

The only problem is they don't understand it.

They need a translator.

To them, it is PRICELESS.

And to you, it will be very, very profitable!

CLICK HERE to read about Monthly Financial Consulting Service, the uniquely desirable basic Accounting service that allows you to name your price!

OR

CLICK HERE to get a briefing on the contents of Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course!

 

Best wishes,

Harry Kafka
HDK Consultants U.S.A. Inc.
PMB 211, 411 Cleveland Str.
Clearwater, FL 33755, U.S.A.
Phone (727) 474 1206
Calls from outside USA: +1 727 474 1206
CONTACT FORM


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-Accounting Firm Prospecting System Evaluation Points-

Does it have correct Approach in Prospecting for Accounting clients?

Does the prospecting system have a planned and tested route
from contact to sign-on to follow?

Does the prospecting system have ENOUGH of what it takes
to really GET results?

Does the prospecting system include a systematised method
with TOOLS that require no training to use?

Does the prospecting system allow for constant marketing outflow
& sales activity of practical nature?

Does the marketing system include a way to monitor results
and troubleshoot problems?

Does the marketing system put you in control and give full
independence to obtain new Accounting clients wherever you want?

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