Why is it so difficult to get those more advanced added-value Accounting services sold? Learn what the gaping black hole of traditional marketing is and how you can overcome it and THEN sell additional Accounting services in abundance...

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Why is it so hard to effectively SELL additional financial & Accounting services to business owners?

You probably have some great ideas for additional Accounting services that would much enhance the success of business owners.

There are also some magnificent additional services created by marketing organisations that sell these packages widely to Accounting Professionals in public practice.

Today, there are many added-value Accounting services available.

Unfortunately, there are very few EFFECTIVE ways to get these SOLD to business owners.

- Tax return Brisbane -

 

The gaping hole in added-value Accounting service marketing

I've personally talked to quite a few clients of mine who have bought such advanced added-value Accounting services from other organisations offering marketing services to Accounting Professionals in public practice.

The emphasis today appears to be on developing new services for Accounting firms to sell to their existing clientele and / or target audience in their region.

Many of these services are changing the traditional role of the Accounting Professional more toward that of a management consultant.

Admittedly, it is an area that is adjacent to finances and financial consulting. And it may well be that the future role of Accounting Professionals will incorporate management consulting.

It is an interesting, challenging and definitely profitable area to expand into - and something that an Accounting Professional has a natural knack for due to his or her experience.

But I'm afraid there is a gaping hole in this otherwise perfect future plan.

Let me explain.

For the first, I have been amazed at how many clients contact ME to get an effective way to MARKET AND SELL these added-value products they've purchased from other organisations.

It appears that very few of those that sell these products to Accounting firms have created an effective way an Accounting firm could use to sell those services to THEIR clientele and target audiences.

Of course, there are brochures, web sites, CD-ROMs and whatnots offered - usually at an extra cost - for the selling of these services.

There's only one little problem.

These tools don't SELL the services!

After having spent perhaps £20,000 on such service systems and then failing to SELL these great services, Accounting Professionals can understandably feel a bit miffed. After printing glossy brochures and paying £50-100 a month for a web site with NO results... well, one can feel a bit disheartened.

But WHY don't these excellent products and services SELL?

What's wrong with these high-class presentation tools - why won't they convince business owners to sign on?

Pertinent questions, wouldn't you say?

Research of some considerable length brought forth the reasons for this lack of results.

It all comes back to the basic principles of traditional marketing of Accounting services.

 

The business owner has to learn to crawl before he can walk

The traditional marketing strategy is what these creators of fine Accounting services USE in making of the marketing materials with which you are supposed to sell those added-value services.

Traditional marketing works on the principle of "today is the last day of your life - only what happens now matters." I know there'll be many who disagree with this.

Ostensibly, traditional marketing aims at future - but in reality, it doesn't. It's NOW, it's impatience, it's "go for straigt to business" ... and I don't care how much they claim otherwise.

The ideology is to get it NOW or yesterday! Who cares about tomorrow, next month, next year or decade - I'm not interested in anything but getting sales NOW.

And what I say next may shock you. But here is an observation one can make in the hall of fame of marketing:

ARROGANCE is the hallmark of traditional marketing.

These boys and girls are DEAD-CERTAIN that they know exactly what your target audience wants... simply because they are so darned intelligent and clever - so it HAS to be that way.

They're intellegent, all right - and they're also very wrong in their assumption. Clever people make mistakes also and once can sometimes be too smart for one's own good.

For what about the TARGET AUDIENCE's own opinion on what they want?

Shouldn't we ask THEM what they want, like, desire, despise, hate, love, need, and so on?

Wouldn't it be better to find out from THEM what they DON'T understand or know before we OFFER IT TO THEM?

The forgotten senior fact is that you have to listen before you talk. In other words, you must find out what your target group wants and needs in THEIR WORDS before you offer them something. And you should offer them what they WANT.

Offer them what THEY want.

You START with that - and develop it from there onto what YOU know they need.

But not before THEY have agreed to it.

And that's exactly the mistake that traditional marketing makes.

It ASSUMES it knows and, in its arrogance, doesn't bother verifying. And even after getting thousands of indicators of "not working" it continues to assert its own rightness.

I want to make one thing very clear: I'm definitely not saying business owners wouldn't need or want these services.

They NEED them, that's obvious. But to get them to WANT those services, something has to change.

Currently, business owners are offered these service WAY BEFORE they're ready for them!

These are ADVANCED services requiring an relatively good basic understanding of financial planning. A person cannot run before he has learned to walk.

You didn't buy an encyclopaedia before you could read, did you? You wouldn't buy your son or daughter a bicycle before her or she could walk, would you now?

You would recognise the fact that SOME DAY it would become current to obtain that thing. But by the same token, you'd be very certain it isn't NOW.

You wouldn't have to consider it very long - you would immediately come up with the answer of "sure, I'm interested... but not yet."

See - it's just the same thing with these added-value services. "Very interesting... but not yet!"

Imagine the unimaginable. If YOU had hardly ANY UNDERSTANDING of the simplest tasks of financial planning and comprehended NAUGHT of Accounting... would you buy management consulting service?

Right you are.

Of course you wouldn't. Nobody in their right mind would!

And therein we see the root of our problems in attempting to sell these advanced added-value services to business owners.

The assumption that the vendors of these added-value Accounting services make is that business owners at large UNDERSTAND the need for these services.

They don't. They're WAY BELOW that level.

But YOU understand them very well and thus, YOU can buy the service from THEM, see?

They make very much sense to YOU - but that's because YOUR knowledge is astronomically more advanced in this subject matter... light-years ahead of the comprehension of an average business owner!

That's the trick - that's why YOU can be led to believe they WILL sell and that's why YOU buy those service concepts.

It's a known sales closing situation. An exeptionally able and intelligent person is quick to realise the great potential in an idea - and often too generous in his or her assumption on how "normal" people will be able to follow that same train of thought.

This is the reason why you then have such difficulty in SELLING these services to their intended end users.

It's that HUGE GAP in understanding on matters of finance, Accounting and management between you and the average business owner.

What you've forgotten about your subject is probably more than the average person will ever LEARN about Accounting and finance!

Thus, what you think is good for the business owner is very much different from what HE considers to be true in the matter.

These two views are not contradictory. They're definitely ALIGNED and pointing to a common goal.

It's simply a case of very different level of aptitude, familiarity, experience, knowledge and expertise on the subject at hand - Accounting & finance.

The STARTING POINT is MUCH LOWER than generally realised by traditional marketing experts.

You need to start at a level where you're ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN he will be able and willing to FOLLOW.

To do otherwise would be like trying to drive home a doctorate's worth of education to a layman in an hour.

Mission impossible. Only - he will PRETEND to understand simply because nobody bears to reveal his own incomprehension and ignorance continuously!

Thus, to attempt selling these advanced services the way traditional marketing advocates is, inevitably, an exercise in futility.

To start with this added-value service, the awareness level of the average business owner should be MUCH higher than what it currently is.

Regardless of how acutely YOU know he needs this service, irrespective of how well YOU understand that he would greatly benefit from it - HE is completely unaware of it.

He doesn't know it. It isn't TRUE for him!

And a business owner can only make decisions based on what HE understands to be true.

Thus, before you can SELL an advanced service, you have to make the business owner SEE the need for it.

For decades, the masters of traditional marketing churned out campaigns without bothering to research what the target group WANTS and THINKS.

Well, to be fair, they DO research. They find out what YOU want - and then sell it to you. But YOU aren't the end user of these added-value Accounting services, are you?

Thus, what an Accounting Professional in public practice wants has little bearing on what his TARGET AUDIENCE wants.

In any such indirect campaign, the primary concern SHOULD be given to developing an effective marketing system to sell to YOUR target audience.

This is so obvious it seems almost silly even to say it out loud, doesn't it?

Silly or not, it doesn't get done.

And the end result is - you're stranded with a large investment that gives NO return!

We actually deliver several theme seminars in and around this particular subject... click here to view the presentation of HDK Theme Seminars for accounting professionals if this subject interests you.

 

Too little, too early - the fatal mistake of traditional marketing

See, if it is too EARLY to offer it, it isn't going to get sold. The marketing devised for this great added-value Accounting service of yours won't get any positive and expected results to speak of.

But I'm afraid that's not the worst of it. For ANY marketing, ANY attempt to offer services ALWAYS produces results - but they're not the kind you want.

The way people form information is by experience. This information is created in form of opinions and viewpoints. An opinion is almost always DEFINITE - in other words, it's FOR or AGAINST.

Unfortunately, it is the CONTACT with the information that brings on the decision. For the decision-maker, it doesn't matter whether or not the information is COMPLETE, ADEQUATE or ACCURATE.

In fact, most people don't bother doing the rather hard work it takes to VERIFY the information or check that they have ALL the data needed for a definite decision.

A NEGATIVE decision is BY FAR the more predominant one.

In other words, people make a negative decision (form a disapproving opinion) 10-100 times more often than a positive one.

It is, of course, much easier to withdraw from something than to go for it.

Very few people can resist forming a DEFINITE stand on a subject which they're being offered. It is natural human behaviour.

It is, for instance, what you quite automatically do when flicking through your mail. Any sales letter gets max three seconds and then a decision is made... and predominantly it's a negative one... and into the dust bin it goes.

All right. Now, you know what the true results of approaching business owners with dysfunctional, non-productive marketing are.

They form a definite NEGATIVE opinion about this great service you're offering!

If the marketing approach doesn't create a POSITIVE understanding - which means the client signs on - it will provoke a NEGATIVE opinion being formed.

The business owner decides that this service is NOT FOR HIM.

Unfortunately, that will then REMAIN his stable datum on this!

Offer it later and he will "check his memory" for information on this - and come back with a ready decision.

"Oh, now I remember... well, actually, I'm already familiar with this concept... and it's not really suited for our company..."

See - he just goes back to the archives and fetches the same old decision without even THINKING about it.

Now, there are ways to get him to reevaluate his previous decision in light of new developments. But it is definitely more work to get someone to rethink an opinion ONCE IT IS FORMED - you're asking him to reverse his own decision which would mean his earlier conclusion was WRONG.

It can be done and, if an unsuccessful presentation has been already given, it MUST be done.

Of course, the easy way is to replace the marketing strategy and get it sold the first time. Otherwise, you'll just double your work and expenses - at the very least.

The approach of traditional marketing is to offer these added-value services directly.

It's the wrong approach.

It is a wrong estimation of what it takes to SELL such services.

For most business owners, it is a far too advanced service for their CURRENT awareness of what they need. Consequently, the information ON the service cannot but be lost - and, in essence, be "too little" to get the job done.

 

What business owners expect from Accounting service

Before you can sell ANY additional service (beyond monthly and yearly accounts and other basic services such as payroll, tax filing, etc.) the business owner must UNDERSTAND the need for it.

To understand the need for advanced services, he must first understand the BASIC services.

In essence, he must understand the INFORMATION that you provide in the monthly accounts and start utilising it to his benefit.

At best, the average business owner has a vague understanding of financial planning. A comprehension as hazy as this leads to NO affirmative action - he doesn't really do any financial planning at all.

Financial planning is impossible (or meaningless) without accurate, timely information about the key financial figures of the business activity.

But - he GETS those facts from you, right?

Well, in theory, yes.

But in practice, unfortunately, NOT AT ALL to the degree we generally believe!

Now, don't misunderstand me. I'm definitely NOT suggesting you wouldn't deliver what you've promised.

I'm simply saying that there's overwhelming proof that the average business owner doesn't UNDERSTAND the information he gets from his Accounting firm.

But if that's the case - why doesn't he ASK for clarifications?

Bear with me and let's have a look at this.

I think we can safely agree on that the average CLIENT is FAR LESS knowledgeable or familiar with the purpose of Accounting than the Accounting Professional servicing him.

The Accounting Professional's expertise is MUCH greater on matters of Accounting and finance, the concepts and terminology, the utilization of information... all that it embodies... than his or her client.

I mean - if it wasn't like that, why would he USE these services, right?

Working along that line, let me ask you this:

How MUCH bigger would you estimate that your own understanding and command of this subject are as compared to that of an average business owner?

Now, maybe you've educated your own clients but remember, we're talking about the AVERAGE potential client - the owner of a small-to-medium sized company in your area.

Obviously, it isn't YOUR responsibility to educate clients. Each and every business owner is personally responsible for obtaining the knowledge NEEDED to run his or her business.

But we're not talking about responsibility here. We aren't looking for any culprits - it's not "somebody's fault" that the world is as it is today.

All right. So - HOW many times bigger would YOUR knowledge on Accounting & Finance be compared to an average business owner?

Five times? Ten times? A hundred times? Or... even more than that?

Whichever figure you arrived at, it would illustrate how many times MORE DIFFICULT it is for an average business owner to UNDERSTAND those advanced services.

It gets worse.

That same difference would also give you an estimation of how much the average client TRULY understands even the BASICS of Accounting.

Understanding simply builds on earlier information.

If the basics of Accounting aren't understood, the business owner will find Accounting and finance very confusing subjects.

Let's play with an idea.

Let's imagine a newborn businessman. He has just started his business, all fresh and enthusiastic. Let's say he is going to manufacture chairs to sell.

He is a carpenter and has extensive experience in building furniture - and lots of great ideas for new designs.

So, he starts his business. He finds a place to work in and gets the machinery. Next, he starts to create his fist batch of chairs for his first design.

After a few months he has some chairs and works hard at getting these sold. He finds retailers or buyers... and so on. He designs a few new models and puts them under production. Finds more retailers. Gets money, pays his bills... and so on.

Somewhere along this route, someone is going to point out to him that it is mandatory to keep records. He finds out it is easiest to get an Accounting firm to handle it. So, he picks a firm, signs on and - it's handled.

He continues his business life. The Accountant offers to handle his payroll and he agrees. After his first fiscal ends, the Accountant informs him about the mandatory filing of taxes, yearly accounts and all that. So he says "OK, handle it," and that's that.

Several years pass like this and the business owner gets more income, hires personnel, gets more machinery, more space for manufacturing and storage... and so on.

Now, here's the question:

Where in all that did he get ANY idea of how to analyse his finances?

What would have taught him to understand the reports on monthly accounts that he receives?

In fact - does he even REALISE that there's something to be UNDERSTOOD in those spread sheets?

Does he perceive that there is some vital information coming from the Accounting firm every month?

Hmm... makes one think, doesn't it?

This is a practical man with practical skills - not your natural choice for a financial analyst. It's not his forte, really.

For someone with your knowledge, expertise and understanding of finances, it can be difficult to accept that there may be people who have absolutely no clue of the purpose and benefits of Accounting services.

Could there really be business owners that don't even KNOW that spreadsheets contain vital, time-sensitive information vitally needed to have ANY control on their finances or to make any INFORMED decision about money?

I'm afraid it IS so!

It gets even worse.

Survey shows that almost 100 percent of the owners of small-to-medium sized businesses considered it a NEW, EXCITING IDEA that Accounting firms would provide them monthly information on key financial figures!

Read that a few times over. It's not a typo.

Almost no one had even HEARD about this valuable service - an Accounting firm giving a detailed, understandable report on the development of the client's key figures month to month!

In other words, most business owners don't SEE Accounting as something that produces priceless information and insight to THEM - but a mandatory service reporting their activities to the authorities!

So, what do business owners at large EXPECT from Accounting services?

Well, looking at it from THEIR viewpoint, they expect... er... well... NOTHING!

That's why they want it at the lowest possible cost. And that's why they won't buy MORE OF IT, see?

They do expect you to keep the books, do the yearly accounts, file the taxes and all those routine services you do to keep their legal requirements to the government.

But other than that - nothing.

Whether or not it IS so, is easy to verify for anyone.

If it was so, then the obvious starting point would be to create a very basic CONSULTING service for business owners just to ensure they understand the information you produce for them monthly.

Doing so and offering this form of very BASIC added-value service as the one you SIGN EVERYONE ON WHEN THEY BECOME YOUR CLIENT, you would find out whether or not it is true (that business owners understand and expect naught).

If it WERE true, you could easily CHARGE MORE for this service - as it IS an addition, viewed from the business owner's viewpoint, see?

Once you get the service going, the business owner would THEN get genned in on the TRUE priceless value of the information you provide for him.

Looking into his key figures monthly, discussing these with him, talking problems and opportunities found... don't you think it would be DEAD-CERTAIN that ALL those other needs (that the more advanced added-value services provide solutions for) would just POP UP quite naturally?

If you do think so, you're ABSOLUTELY RIGHT!

 

The effective approach to selling your added-value Accounting services

The traditional marketing strategy ASSUMES business owners know a lot more than they actually do.

The effective MODERN way is to assume NAUGHT about the prior knowledge-level of potential clients and thus, avoid setting any unnecessary prerequisites or disqualifying factors.

Instead, you find out by researching the target audience carefully.

Based on that, you plan the correct GRADIENT of educating business owners - and then create THAT into a basic added-value service... a "starter service," if you wish.

You then sign new clients FIRST onto this BASIC service - always. The basic consulting service is the first one you sell - it's the prerequisite to everything.

(The good news is you'll get paid for the basic service far beyond your normal hourly rates!)

You enter a monthly consultation with each new client. You explain in simple layman terms the development of his KEY FIGURES and what problems and / or opportunities the trends indicate.

You have to try it to fully appreciate the quality of the trusting and mutually enjoyable cooperation that ensues!

Now, I'm not talking some clever idea here - it is a researched, piloted and tested service/marketing concept that countless practices USE already.

It is very successful all on its own - and you can imagine that there'll be PLENTY of opportunities to sell MANY of those more advanced services!

NOW the client UNDERSTANDS.

NOW, he TRUSTS you.

NOW, he sees VALUE in what you offer.

And that's all you need to SELL those added-value services successfully!

A simple way to get started might be to reserve your initial telephone consultation so we can start sorting out the challenges that currently hamper the achievement of your goals.

And if you're interested in acquiring a ready-to-use system for selling and delivering this type of basic monthly consulting service to really get those advanced services sold in abundance, CLICK here to read the introduction of the Modern Accountancy Marketing & Sales Course.

It has it all, from finding prospects to signing on new clients constantly!

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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Are you practical or not when it comes to selecting a marketing system for your Accounting firm?

How can you find out beforehand whether or not a marketing system is practical and easy to use? Is it possible to estimate how fast and easy it is to start using the system and actually OBTAIN the expected results... new clients?

CLICK HERE to read how you can evaluate an accountancy marketing system for its practicality and usability before buying it!

Comparing Accountancy marketing systems: The ease of getting started and the degree of support

In selecting a practice management system for your Accounting firm, it is essential to ensure those offering the system have actually used it themselves...

CLICK HERE to evaluate the practical experience behind any Accounting service marketing system.

THE DIFFERENCE between traditional and modern marketing techiniques for Accounting firms

Traditional Accountancy marketing has a lot of good and perfectly applicable parts and practices. But some parts are ineffective by now. Learn how you can get results by using the MODERN marketing tehniques...

CLICK HERE to read an article that will forever change the way you think about marketing Accounting services.

You don't want to increase the NUMBER of Accounting clients but REPLACE a few with BETTER paying & more cooperative ones?

Sometimes the idea of increasing the number of clients isn't appealing for obvious reasons. Not everyone wants to expand through a vast clientele and take on the hassles of employing many people. A sole practitioner who's been in practice for a while usually has TOO many clients already... and too much hassle. The old 80/20 rule (20% of clients cause 80% of the hassle but not of the income) can be beaten but it takes a bit of cunning.

CLICK HERE to read how to start changing the profile of your clientele so that you get more of those profitable and cooperative Accounting clients and can replace the bad ones!

How to sell advanced added-value Accounting services

Many Accounting Professionals have superb additional services to offer to their clients. But why are those added-value Accounting services, special consulting, valuation and other such excellent services so difficult to sell?

There's a very simple and logical reason for it - and once you know what the barrier is, you can effectively open the door to increase the sale of these additional services.

CLICK HERE to read the full article on solving the riddle of getting advanced Accounting services sold.

How to sell Accounting services: Getting your hourly rates accepted by prospective clients

Majority of business owners seek for low-cost Accounting services. Justifying reasonable hourly rates is a constant pain and source of disagreements.

There is a simple way to help your prospects and clients accept your fees...

CLICK HERE to read on pricing of Accounting services and achieving acceptance the fees.

Do you want to get a lot more REFERRALS for accounting services?

Referrals are the cream of all potential clients for an Accounting firm. They're easy to deal with and you can close almost all of them onto your services.

But why are they so hard to find? And how do you INCREASE the flow of referrals?

CLICK HERE to learn the six factors governing the flow of referrals for Accounting services!

-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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