5 tips for achieving the mindset required to sell and succeed

How much focus do you put on selling your accounting services? For many firm owners, the answer is very little. If you're in this camp, this is something that needs to change if you're serious about growth and success.

According to James Ashford from GoProposal by Sage, it’s all about your mindset.

In a joint webinar with Karbon Chief Partnerships Officer and Co-founder, Ian Vacin, James unpacked some of the components needed to adopt the right mindset to sell and succeed as an accounting firm owner.

Here are the key takeaways from this session.

1. You need to train your clients from day 1

Your time is valuable. And your clients need to understand that.

If, for example, you allow a prospect to control your first client call and it extends over the allotted time, you’re immediately devaluing your time.

James explained that if they see that you’re okay with them using more of your time, they will keep expecting your time for free:

“By doing this, you give your time away for free and you give extra services away for free. And all the while you’re inadvertently communicating to your clients that your services have no value. So guess what? They stop valuing what you do.”

It’s important to set expectations from the very beginning so that clients understand and respect your time. This way, you’re able to use your time and resources more effectively

2. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about getting started

If you’ve made the decision to re-evaluate your pricing model, you’ve already taken the first step. You’ve found the mindset you need to sell your accounting services in the most effective and successful way.

But once you do start re-pricing, you’re not likely to get it right the first time. It’s not about being perfect. It’s all about getting started.

Use the 1-3-12 method to balance your scope and pricing first

The most important thing to do when starting is to get your scope and pricing in balance. This refers to maximizing the value of your current client relationships before moving on to adding new services.

Using the 1-3-12 rule, you can review your pricing structure as follows:

  • Every 1 month: Review payroll pricing

  • Every 3 months: Review bookkeeping fees

  • Every 12 months: Review everything else

Make sure you’re getting paid for the work you’re already doing—a critical foundation for becoming a more profitable accounting firm.

3. A common reason why clients really say no: Lack of trust in the outcome

People need certainty. They trust a process when they know what they’re expecting, even when they know it isn’t a great client experience.

According to James, people would much rather stay with a poor experience than change accountants and risk being uncertain—all because you haven’t given them faith and certainty in the outcome.

Be clear about what you can do for them and what value you can bring to them. You’re not selling accountancy services, you’re selling certainty.

The moment they know exactly what to expect, you will find that barriers and excuses such as “I don’t have the money for XYZ services” will melt away.

4. The fear of rejection will always be there

The fear of rejection is inescapable, but you can reframe it when selling your accounting services.

When selling, the trick is to not get personally attached to an outcome.

James Ashford, CEO and Founder, GoProposal

By being analytical about an outcome, you’re more able to see the positives and negatives associated with locking a deal.

For example, there are two outcomes when selling to a large company:

  1. They say yes—this doesn’t magically solve your problems. In fact, it creates more work.

  2. They say no—you now have more opportunities to serve your existing clients, develop your business, achieve a better work-life balance, etc.

Each deal should be valued on its own merits. Ask yourself:

  • What does a ‘yes’ mean for you, for your firm and your team?

  • What does a ‘no’ mean for you, for your firm and your team?

Remember, you can’t rid the feeling of rejection. But you can help it by not getting personally attached to an outcome.

5. The harm in discounting your accounting services

Inevitably, current clients and prospects will ask for a discount.

James explained that at this point, they’ve already made the decision to sign with you and they’re simply looking for savings where they can.

But the moment you give them a discount, they will wonder how much more they can save next time or on other services. 

On top of that, they’ll then question why you tried to sell at one price initially, but were eventually happy with a lower price.

And from that moment, you’ve eroded the trust in your relationship and they will question everything you do.

By discounting, you’re devaluing your services. And you can’t raise your price back up.

Ian Vacin, Chief Customer Officer, Karbon

Find the right mindset to sell your accounting services

Whether it’s managing your fear of rejection or learning how to set client expectations from the start, taking steps to shift your mindset is critical in reevaluating your accounting practice’s pricing model.

You can watch the webinar recording with James and Ian below to benefit from the full experience.