I have been involved in sales for over 30 of my 51 years. I have sold everything from lemonade and candy bars to vacuum cleaners door-to-door, from large high-voltage electrical systems to cars to furniture to….well, you get the picture! And now for several years selling accounting services, the bottom line is the same – no matter what it is that you are selling, you must fulfill the Essence of a Sale or the prospective client will never buy what you are selling.
What, you may ask, is the Essence of a Sale? Good question! Put quite simply, it is this: The Essence of a Sale is twofold. First, one must be able to clearly demonstrate to the prospective client that what is being offered is worth as much or more than the price one is asking him or her to pay. Second, this demonstration must prove to actually be true.
If you buy a new car, and your neighbor walks over and says, “Hey, nice car. Do you mind if I ask what you paid?”, what is your neighbor really asking? He wants to know if you fulfilled the Essence of a Sale. So let’s say you tell him that you paid $25,000, and he says “Wow, my sister just bought the same car at another place for $27,500.” How does that make you feel? The answer is that you feel as if you have fulfilled the Essence of a Sale. You got more than what you paid for.
The second part of this is equally as important, especially in a service oriented industry such as ours. It must actually be worth it. If it is not, you may be able to sign up the client on day one, but three or six months from now (if not sooner) that customer will be gone. This is why many automobile dealerships have a revolving door when it comes to keeping good salespeople. They are able to demonstrate the value to the client, but when they realize that they just overpaid by $2,500 (as in the case of my fictitious neighbor’s sister), they become disgruntled.
The problem with many “laymen” who try to do their own selling is that rather than showing the prospect the value of the product or service being provided, they cave in on the price. This is not only unnecessary – it is unprofitable and bad form for any true sales professional.
So, how does this all relate to accounting services? Another excellent question! In upcoming issues, we will explore real, tangible ways to demonstrate the Essence of a Sale to a prospective client, such as tax planning, retirement accounts, etc. In fact, there is a “close” I have used with almost every prospect call the “S-Corp Close” that gets them to sign up very often. Why? Because, it fulfills the Essence of a Sale!
Bob Shafer, Senior Account Executive for NCI
Bob's first exposure to the NCI process was as a business owner. Having opened a small furniture store in the Cleveland, OH area in 2003, Bob was contacted by an Appointment Setter from a local accounting firm using NCI's Plan 2 Program, and visited by their Client Service Representative. The CSR secured Bob as a client for the firm, and they experienced the NCI process as clients for the following 3 years. During this period, Bob accepted a position for another firm in the Cleveland area as a Client Service Representative (while continuing running the store), and during the following 3 years helped build a "start up" accounting firm to about 700K in annualized billings!
After this accounting firm was sold, Bob came on board with NCI as a Senior Account Executive, working directly with accounting firms in the field installing Plan 2 and 3 programs. During this period, Bob also spoke and taught at NCI's seminars around the country, led coaching webinars, contributed to the monthly newsletter, and helped oversee the activities of other Senior Account Executives. Bob served in this role working directly for NCI for about 2-1/2 years before accepting a position as CSR for another accounting firm, this time in the Tampa, FL area.
After another successful 2-1/2 years as a CSR, Bob came back on board with NCI in April of 2011 as a Senior Account Executive, and is currently involved in the installation of these programs around the country, hiring and training Appointment Setters and Client Service Representatives. When not travelling for NCI, Bob still works in the field securing clients for the firm in Tampa. Having experienced the NCI system for 9 years, few people have seen the NCI system succeed from as many differing perspectives as Bob!