Five Potential Deal-Breakers
Strategies on how to avoid them.
May 11, 2009
Winning new business is the lifeblood of a vibrant practice. Despite the doom and gloom of this economy, there will be increased opportunities for CPA firms to earn business as decision-makers carefully consider their current advisors and the price-value ratio of these relationships. Thriving in these leaner times makes it more important than ever to take full advantage of each new opportunity that comes your way.
To help you in this quest, here are five potential deal-breakers to avoid on upcoming sales calls.
Just because you and your colleagues are good talkers and have dozens of similar clients, DON’T be tempted to “wing it” on your next sales call. Potential clients are going to be more discriminating than ever as they look to retain new advisors. So be prepared by:
- Doing your homework.
- Visiting on your prospect’s Web site.
- Identifying key areas of focus.
- Researching their leadership team.
Does anyone in your firm know them or have common connections? Have they had any recent triggering events that could have changed their focus such as mergers, plant closings or new leadership, to name a few? Check out their presence on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Visit them on social sites such as LinkedIn, FaceBook and Twitter. Are they blogging, if so about what?
Then assemble the best team to advance the new business opportunity. Determine who will take the lead during the meeting, what questions you will ask and who will play what role on the call. Consider your value propositions and success stories. For example, how have you helped similar clients and what results did they achieve from retaining you and your team?
Starting a sales meeting with your “pitch” seems like a logical first step when meeting with a new prospect. Often the potential client will even ask you to tell them who you are and what you do at the meeting’s onset. Beware. Responding immediately to these questions can be dangerous. Why? When you do not first learn their story, you lack the understanding of what is important to them and potential areas to avoid. This can lead you to talk about things that could be a turn-off to them such as focusing on your firm’s size when they are interested in advisors who will provide a high level of partner involvement and consistent staffing from a team of professionals who understand their particular business and can bring pro-active counsel.
To eliminate this pitfall, respond with something like “Thanks John, I will be glad to share our story. Before I do, I’d like to ask you a few questions so I can learn more about you and how we can best help you.” Once you understand a little more about their specific situation, you can tailor your responses in ways that best meet their needs.
Take every opportunity to win carefully-targeted new business in this economy. Use the new playing field to your advantage. Make this a record-breaking year for growth in your firm.
Tracy Crevar Warren, president and founder of The Crevar Group, advises professional services firms striving to grow and maximize performance. She is an author and frequent speaker on various growth, business development, and marketing topics for local, regional, national, and international audiences. Warren can be reached at 336-889-GROW (4769).