I recently had a client who just opened their bookkeeping business a few weeks ago and they are currently dealing with a lot of prospects. However the challenge they (and most) ask is how do new freelance bookkeepers ask for the sale? Let’s face it if you are a business entrepreneur that is always going to be a challenge unless you follow a few key steps where asking for the sale is just another part of the routine to your services. As a veteran in the industry and can tell you from experience that this was my first challenge as a rookie to overcome. These days with experiences and practice I have perfected the art of asking for the sale.
Let’s get to the task at hand. You have just started your freelance bookkeeping business fresh out of training. You look sharp, you are groomed appropriately, you have your marketing materials laid out, you have your business cards ready, but all of a sudden you get hit with anxiety. It’s your first customer and you are nervous of saying the wrong thing, asking too much, losing your prospect… Let’s face it you are a nervous wreck.
How is this going to change? Here’s your blueprint to success!
1- Confidence! You might not have the practical experience on the job but you are fresh out of school and your product knowledge is at its peak. If you are confident with your training and on your product that’s all it takes to make your prospect confident in you. Remember your prospect needs to feel comfortable and confident in your abilities. Experience is important but product knowledge is even more important! Believe in yourself is really half the battle, showing your client your confidence is other part!
2- Knowledge… As a first time freelancer you always worry that your client might know more than you do. Here’s a newsflash. They rarely do! If they did why would they come to you? And if you they did ask you a question that you needed to do some research on be honest and deliver a prompt answer when you find the solution to their inquiry. Overall you are the expert and they are coming to you for your expertise.
3- Control and core values…, Most prospect have a vision of their books and how they should be handled but at the end of the day, your way is the right way. Always verify their claims and remember you went to school for this, they did not! When it comes to book-keeping there is only one way, its the right way. Don’t let malpractices tarnish your record or your core values! Take control of the conversation, direct the conversation in how you conduct services and make them feel that they are the ones that need you. Let them do the talking but you need to direct the conversation!
4- Props… Usually in the initial meetings I would encourage you to avoid the props. Usually they are a distraction and also show a sign of insecurity. Most veteran book-keepers walk in to an initial meeting with a pen and book, an infectious smile and a can do attitude. Your biggest prop is how you communicate with your prospect. Taking notes is a sign of diligence and asking questions is a sign of interest. Remember the more you get the client to talk by asking the right questions the easier it is to close the deal…
5- Eye contact… Is a sign of respect to your client’s needs. Don’t pull out the laptops unless you are doing a power point presentation but at the end of the day eye contact is key when having a conversation with a client. The client needs to be influenced and needs to feel comfortable making a decision. The more personable you are the easier it is to build trust with your client. Dedicate a time-block just for your clients and don’t let outside distractions like emails, cell phones etc. to come in the way.
6- Bad Clients.. Resist the urge to take on any and every client. Follow your gut and remember this is your reputation on the line. If you have a bad feeling and the money isn’t worth the headache than don’t do it! Good clients will bring you better referrals. Bad clients will bring you more heartache and problems. Be selective and cherry pick the best clients you can have.
7- Asking for the sale…Here’s the best tip I can give you on sales. You never ask for the sale, your clients do? He who speaks first laughs last. This theory is the same for sales. Most of the time my clients are so engaged in a conversation that pricing is never an issue. The first question they ask me how do we get started. I tend to look for buying signals in my conversations and let the customer do the talking. I then use those buying signals to set the sale up! After you have covered every question answered any of their questions the client usually starts off by saying when can we get you started, what do we need to do next? Your best clients are those that don’t haggle for prices.
8- Price Hunters… And yet there are some prospects that love to bargain. Always have a margin of negotiation. Mark up your prices a certain percentage. That percentage is your playing field where you drop your price once! The more you drop your prices the easier it is for your prospects to push for more. Remember hold your ground and know your worth. Do your market research, find out what industry standard rates are, mystery shop, and most importantly you are not selling your price, you are selling your services. The more confident you become pitching your prices the easier the conversation. Clients pay for quality of work!
My perfect analogy I like to use in sales is the STEAK Pitch…! Why do people go to high end restaurants and pay more money for STEAK? The answer is simple… They pay for the quality, the taste and the experience put into preparing that particular steak! Your service is that fine aged steak you pay for at a fine dining restaurant!