It is of the utmost importance that you know exactly how your prospects evaluate you. In other words, what do they look for to determine how professional you are?
Often the more you try to convince someone to use you, the more they will suspect your motives and be sceptical of what you are telling them.
The Prospects’ Method of Evaluating the Level of Your Professional Accounting Skills
It is safe to assume most business owners don’t understand much about accounting.
Then how do they evaluate the level of your technical competence as an accountant?
Don’t think they won’t evaluate it. No way is a prospect going to engage you without formulating some sort of an opinion about your professional skills.
There are two issues here. Firstly, prospects do not have any workable way to determine the level of your professional expertise. Secondly, they are very hesitant to change accountants for that very reason. Nobody wants to make a mistake in something as important and far-reaching as the selection of an accountant.
It is this hesitation that you will have to handle in all of your prospects in order to win them over as new clients.
The most difficult of all decisions your prospect has to make concerns your skills as an accountant: “Is this accountant better than the one I have now?”
Obviously, it isn’t your competence they will make their decision on – they’d really have to be accountants themselves to do that. As you know, it’s no use trying to tell the prospect how good you are… he just won’t believe it. It is also clear that if the prospect cannot make that decision, he will just remain with his current accountant.
So what do you do?
Make Them Feel Good
Being an expert in accounting, you get to see how little most clients understand about accounting in general. The real truth is even worse – since most people will do anything to hide their ignorance. It is so human to avoid letting on when we don’t understand. Not knowing or understanding something has become synonymous with low intelligence. If you don’t know or understand you are “stupid.”
Of course, this is nonsense. Not knowing that the capital of Sweden is Stockholm doesn’t affect your intelligence in the slightest. You just don’t know the answer.
Nonsense or not, it’s a phenomenon you must take into account when dealing with prospects. If your meeting is filled with accounting terminology or you rush through things, your prospect will sit there just feeling lost. If they don’t understand you, they won’t feel like they can relate to you. If they can’t relate to you there will be no solid feelings of rapport.
Rapport is what you need
People buy based on emotions. This is the key to winning over prospects. You can have an armoury of features to your service but ultimately, they need to feel they really like you — and that you understand them. You need to make them feel good.
So watch how your prospect reacts to things you say and if there is a hint they don’t understand, take a bit of time to explain things to them. It is easy to lose sight of the fact you do accounting day-in-day-out and your prospects may only have a tiny inkling of accounting and tax.
Your prospect will make his decision about your professional skills based on how good you make him feel when he’s talking with you. The better the rapport you have, the more he understands what you say and the more he feels you understand him – the more he thinks of YOU.
So it is how GOOD it feels to talk to you, how NICE you are, how WELL YOU LISTEN and how INTERESTED you are in their specific needs that counts.
After the meeting your prospect should think, “Well, he was really nice, he was really keen to know what we need… and he really can listen… I actually understood what he said to me!”
People don’t remember what you have said – they remember how you made them feel. This is the vital ingredient of selling.