How accountancy firms frame what they sell is an extremely important question. The answer to this question is one which I feel very passionate about.
The issue of ‘framing' is a critical one. It is an area that I wish more practices understood. Many don't even realize that they need to ‘frame' in the first place.
Framing the conversation is a tremendously useful way of focusing the potential clients on what the conversation is about.
When you first meet, the prospect will:
1. Know little about accountants.
2. Know what their current accountant does so they will be measuring you with the same stick.
If you can do a lot more for them than their current accountant, it will take a longer time to educate them with this new information.
Which Aspects Can You Talk About to Frame the Conversation?
If you can frame the conversation in terms of outcomes, then you will focus a business owner’s mind. If the prospect is commercially minded, they will understand the value or improvement that you could bring to their business straightaway.
You can talk with your prospect and tell them that you can do tax, audit, forensic accounting, management accounting, cash flow focus and many other things if you want to.
If you ‘frame your prospect’, you can say something along the lines of….
“I’m very grateful that you’ve taken the time to meet with me today. I don’t wish to take up a huge amount of your time. What I really want to do today is find out more about you and your business. I want to know how we might be able to support you on a greater level than you’re currently receiving.
Obviously, before that, you will want to know a little bit about me and my firm. I think that the very best way is to cut through the cliché that all accountants are the same or all accountants are boring. Instead, I am going to focus on the outcomes we generate for our clients.”
To help you have a better conversation with your prospects, you can read more about how to build rapport with them here.
Tell Client Stories
Tell prospective clients stories about your clients.
Demonstrate how you were able to take a client through a flotation.
Talk about how you were able to do some RND work, which might have brought back a huge amount of money. Explain what the client did with the money saved. For instance, how it allowed the client to buy some new machinery. As a result, this enabled that client to get ahead of their competition in production capacity.
Show the prospect how you were able to fund holidays for a business owner. The business owner had not had a holiday in six years.
I know you have stories like these.
In my 18 years of working with accounting firms, I know that if we dig deep enough, every firm has these stories. There are very few firms that ever leverage their success stories to give a real sense of who they are and how they can be of value to their potential clients.
How Do We Frame It?
We start by using outcomes.
- Examine the work that you and your team have delivered for your clients.
- Undertake an analysis of the major outcomes created as a result.
- Review the record of the lifestyle changes that have been evidenced by the firms that you have worked with.
- Capture these changes and improvements in a story form that you can tell easily.
If you can frame the service you are selling by using outcomes, this will send your credibility sky high in the minds of the potential clients.
It cuts through all of the tax audit work to the real reason for working together. Most importantly, it demonstrates how you can really help improve the lives of your clients. Framing shows how you help business owners get where they want it to be.
These examples show framing at its best. If you can set out and achieve this, you will be 95% ahead of your competition comfortably.
If learning how to ‘frame' what your firm sells as well as learning to tell your client stories is what your firm needs to focus on, then consider joining us as an All Access Pass member. Learning to tell value-based stories is a key topic we cover in our live, hands-on sessions each month.