The 10 Keys to Selling Accounting Services

Portrait of investment advisor businesswoman sitting at office in front of computer and consulting with young professional man.Four checklists and 40 factors for sales success.

By Rob Nixon

Think of the most successful salespeople you know.

MORE ON STRATEGY: 11 Ways to Move from Time to Value Pricing | Are Your Prices Too Low? | Never Charge by a Time Unit | Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First
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If you were to list their traits and characteristics then I would imagine that this list would apply.

  1. Ethical
  2. Problem solver
  3. Personable
  4. Trustworthy
  5. Good communicator
  6. Persistent
  7. Passionate
  8. Good product knowledge
  9. Service-focused
  10. Good listener

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11 Ways to Move to Value Pricing

Plus: 13 benefits clients will happily pay for.

By Rob Nixon

As you go through the journey of value belief and client value perception, you have to be conscious of price parity.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Are Your Prices Too Low? | 6 Steps of Moving to Value Pricing | Feel Good About Yourself | How to Build Enduring Relationships | They Should All Be ‘A Class’ Clients | Accountants Are the Last Trusted Advisors | How to Structure Your Firm for Success | Why Average Project Value Matters
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If a client has been paying $5,000 for your service and even if you feel it is worth twice as much, the client may not pay much more for it – particularly if it looks like the same service. Your client might pay 15 percent or 20 percent more, but double? – give me a break. Unless you completely redesign your product offering so it looks completely different, your current client will have a hard time paying the price.

But when it comes to new services that the client has never bought before – different story. There is no price parity with a new service that has not been purchased before – charge at will!
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Are Your Prices Too Low?

Businessman sleeping with a giant dollar bill for a blanketHow much value do you create for your clients?

By Rob Nixon

The most popular question I get is, "How do you determine the price?"

MORE ON STRATEGY: 6 Steps of Moving to Value Pricing | Get Rid of All Your Rates | You Can’t Lavish Time Unless You Have Time to Lavish | Changing Accountants: 2 True Tales | Your Clients on Your Terms | How Much Should Partners Make? | Be a History Maker
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Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that. If you were in the commodity business (selling the same things that others sell) then it would be relatively easy – see what your competitors are selling their comparable product for and price yours higher or lower based on the quality of your product and service.
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6 Steps of Moving to Value Pricing

Chart depicting margin progression as outlined in articleYou'll end up with 4 main KPIs.

By Rob Nixon

The idea of value pricing is that your clients know how much the price will be before the work commences and you get a healthy margin in return for your intellectual capital/property.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Get Rid of All Your Rates | Never Charge by a Time Unit | Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First | Define Client Wants Vs. Needs | The Entrepreneurial Accountant: An Oxymoron?
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With the implementation of value pricing your average hourly rate (AHR) should increase dramatically. There are two ways to measure AHR.
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Get Rid of All Your Rates

$50 bills in a wastebasketIf you have them in mind at all, you'll try to keep using them.

By Rob Nixon

I think this entire method of pricing by time is not only bad for you, it is bad for your client. It is highly unethical. There is no winner. There has to be a better way.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Never Charge by a Time Unit | Feel Good About Yourself | How to Build Enduring Relationships | They Should All Be ‘A Class’ Clients
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The good news is, there is a better, more ethical way. It’s called value pricing.
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Never Charge by a Time Unit

Money on one side of scales, watches on other3 flaws with this business model.

By Rob Nixon

I would love to meet the person who invented time-based billing. I think this person is a complete business moron and I would have much pleasure in highlighting the unethical behavior that this method causes. This is probably the same person who invented write-offs as well. What a complete idiot.

The premise is that if you get the charge rate right and the time to do the job right, then the price is right. Nothing could be further from the truth.

MORE ON STRATEGY: Feel Good About Yourself | You Can’t Lavish Time Unless You Have Time to Lavish | Changing Accountants: 2 True Tales | Your Clients on Your Terms | How Much Should Partners Make? | Be a History Maker | Why ‘Steady as She Goes’ Isn’t Enough | How to Calculate a Value Price | Boost Efficiency and Your Bottom Line | Marketing Must Generate Leads
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Time-based billing does not value the project. The only value of a project is what the market is prepared to pay for it. I am going to challenge your thinking of time-based billing and encourage you to adopt a new model of value pricing.
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Feel Good About Yourself

Male and female runners silhouetted against London BridgeLessons learned when my wife signed me up for a marathon.

By Rob Nixon

To do what you want, when you want, with whom you want in a manner that you want then you’ll start feeling good about yourself. If you do not feel good about yourself then you will probably hate your clients.

MORE ON STRATEGY: You Can’t Lavish Time Unless You Have Time to Lavish | Put Your Own Oxygen Mask On First | Define Client Wants Vs. Needs | The Entrepreneurial Accountant: An Oxymoron? | Growth Is All About the Clients | Order Takers and History Writers | Why Old Pricing Models Are Unethical | 8 Ways to Improve Firm Profits | Be an 'Object of Interest'
GoProCPA.comExclusively for PRO Members. Log in here or upgrade to PRO today.

You need to be happy with what you see in the mirror. You need to be fulfilled and you need to be excited about life. You need to be happy with the way that you execute your goals.
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