A proven method of increasing your recurring revenue and growing your firm is to upsell your services to existing clients. But upselling, as the name suggests, requires an element of selling. And if you are like most other accountants, this may not come naturally to you. To give your upselling strategy a boost, we asked James Ashford to share his top three upselling tips.
James is founder of GoProposal, author of Selling to Serve and Director of My Accountancy Place—a thriving UK accounting practice that increased their revenue by 10% in the first quarter of 2017 through upselling alone. In this video, he shares three of the most effective techniques his practice used to achieve this.https://fast.wistia.net/embed/iframe/5ip840asv9?videoFoam=true
According to James, the word ‘selling’ provokes negative imagery for many people. His advice to help overcome this is to stop using the term ‘upselling’ and instead, start using ‘up-serving’.
“Ultimately to sell is to serve, and (as accountants) we’re there to serve our clients better. But we can’t exchange that value unless we sell our services to them.”
James says to reframe your thinking in terms of what selling actually is. Stop using the word, ‘sell’, and start using the word, ‘serve’.
Even with the most sophisticated strategies to upsell your services and grow your accounting firm, if the mindset of your team will implement this doesn’t align with your strategy, it will never work.
James says that there is no point being the only person in your firm—or one of only a few—responsible for upselling (or up-serving). If this is you now, you’re not leveraging your greatest asset—your team.
He says that everybody on your team who is responsible for serving clients should always be thinking about how they can maximize the lifetime value of every client—in terms of the value your firm is providing to them, and the value your firm is receiving from them.
At My Accountancy Place, every single member of staff is responsible for selling services to the clients they already serve. James says anyone in the team can be in a conversation with a client and will be equipped to offer expert advice about how they can serve them better.
“We have turned every single member of staff into a salesperson essentially. When they’re in a conversation understanding what their client’s challenges are, they’re armed with the tools to show them how they can help them further.”
James’ final tip is to stop thinking of your client and your firm as ‘them and us’ and remember that you are in it together. Get on the same side of the table and look down the road together. Plan the journey that you will go on together, looking at what they need right now and what they will need further on.
According to James, this approach will make it easier for you to offer them advice on what services you truly believe they need to overcome the current obstacles and achieve their goals faster.
““It’s not about trying to sell as many of your services to them as you can upfront or upselling as much as you possibly can. It’s about having a conversation with your client and recognizing that you’re all in this together.”
So seriously does James take this strategy, My Accountancy Place carries out fee reviews with their clients every quarter to ensure they’re serving their clients to the very best of their ability. They use this opportunity make them aware of the different ways they can serve them better.
“I really see it as your ethical obligation to ensure that you are giving your clients the most value that you possibly can.”
For James, selling is to serve, and unless you have the ability to sell and have trained your staff in the ability to sell, then he doesn’t think it’s possible for you to be serving your clients to the best of your ability.
Working with leading firms around the world, James Ashford helps practices become more profitable and deliver maximum value and memorable service to their clients. He is also part of the faculty at Karbon Academy where he will be teaching others how to grow their accounting firm.
To fill the accounting industry’s gap in education, Karbon is launching Karbon Academy. Combining proven theory with practical examples and group coaching, you’ll be taught in your four tracks (strategy, management, efficiency and growth) by the best practitioners and lecturers from around the world in an MBA-like curriculum that has specifically been built for accountants.
Join us this August to take your accounting practice to the next level. Learn more and enroll at karbonhq.com/academy