In a packed 2-hour workshop, which included Q&A with the guys from Practice Ignition and Fathom, Mark delivered an engaging keynote and then helped the accountants in the room workshop ways in which they could implement value pricing in their own accounting firms.
What were the key three things we took away from the evening?
Mark ran a survey in the UK to understand the prices charged for different services offered, and one thing he realised is that, for accountants and bookkeepers, there’s no such thing as a market price. A tax return might be a tax return, but if you add to it the service you provide, then it’s different from what the practice next to you offers.
“You are not selling a commodity. You are selling a service. You are selling you.”
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if it takes you 30 seconds or 30 days to finish a job. Yes, the numbers should be provided on time in full, but it’s the interpretation of those numbers that will make an impact in your client’s business, and that is what, not matter the cost, has value attached to it.
According to Mark, selling doesn’t come easy and naturally to accountants. So prepare, and have a process to be able to sell and upsell to new clients that you can follow time and time again.
He suggested having a professional looking brochure in that first meeting with a new client (we think even a nice keynote can do the trick); yes, you’ll look professional, but this supporting material also becomes the agenda for the meeting.
You begin by stating the pain point you know will hit a nerve (“doing the books is tedious” or “you need someone that can keep on top of the numbers and provide sound financial advice to ensure your business succeeds”), then move onto how you’ll be able to tackle these pains with your services, what other tools you can offer (software packages, etc) and then formulate a price package that can cater for all their needs. The key is having this conversation face to face so that it becomes this joint plan.
“The more you understand your clients and pricing, the more profitable you’ll be” says Mark.
But before you actually acquire that knowledge, he thinks you need to believe you can actually change the small business clients you serve. If you believe this, then you’ll start to understand the value of the service you provide. And then we go back to point #1.