Pricing Accounting Services & Overcoming Price Objections
What Are the Major Reasons Price Objections Happen?
We asked The Proactive Accountants community, “What’s the most common problem that entrepreneurial accountants experience about pricing?” The majority concurred that it’s pricing objections. If you share the same issue, here’s how to overcome price objections for accounting pros.
It is important to understand that your value and pricing are not separate; they’re actually the same thing. And, it is also important that you’re able to express and explain exactly what your ‘value’ is in no uncertain terms. This way, accounting pros can work their way around price objections.
Value is a synonym for results.
To clarify further, value refers to the tangible results that you can deliver to somebody when they’re willing to invest in your accounting firm and your services. If you want clients to entrust you with their money, you should learn how to articulate what results or value they can expect from you.
Price objections result from clients not properly understanding the tangible returns associated with their investment.
Overcoming a price objection is only necessary if you haven’t crushed the rest of the presentation. Maybe you glossed over something or maybe you weren’t able to explain critical ideas… Or maybe you didn’t take enough time to really understand what the problems or pain points this prospective client is experiencing.
Let’s shed some light on the three major reasons price objections happen in the first place.
1. Wrong Thing
The primary reason pricing objections happen with accounting pros is that you’re trying to sell or offer the wrong thing. Basically, you’re trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Unless you make some changes, you aren’t going to get through.
If you don’t take the time to pre-qualify clients before they get to your appointment platform, we use Acuity Scheduling, you’re wasting both your time and your prospective client’s time. This tool can help you prequalify potential clients and better understand what their problems are and how your services can help.
An excellent example of this is trying to sell accounting services worth a thousand dollars a month to a business not yet clearing six figures. No one in their right mind would pay over 10% of their annual pre-tax revenue for accounting, bookkeeping, and/or tax services. This isn’t to say the service you are offering is not valuable or can deliver an incredible result, it’s just the wrong thing to offer to this person at this particular time.
You will face insurmountable price objections if you keep a narrow mind and insist on selling a single type of service for just one hefty price. The right thing to do here is to offer different accounting, bookkeeping, or tax packages that can accommodate businesses of various revenue profiles.
2. Wrong Person
Let’s say that you’re selling the right thing but still not getting anywhere. Chances are that you’re dealing with a non-dream prospective client, i.e. the wrong person. This is the second most common reason why accounting firms face pricing objections.
Sometimes it’s hard to know this until you’ve undergone the sale process with them. Look out for indicators and identify earlier if a prospective client could be the wrong person for your accounting firm. Some easy tell-tale signs are if they refuse to answer questions, don’t show up to an appointment on time, immediately scoff at your price, or attempt to hard negotiate your price. When you waste your time on the wrong people, it takes away the time that you can use to pursue, work, and sell to the right type of client. Be very careful about saying ‘yes’ when your gut is saying ‘no.’
3. Wrong Time
The third major reason accounting pros encounter price objections is simply a case of bad timing. And, this is one of the more challenging parts of the sales process because there are always reasons to delay.
Time and money are inseparable. Many people are willing to make investments in accounting, bookkeeping, and tax, but you’ll be disappointed if you come along at the wrong time or don’t fully communicate the significance of the investment yet.
You have to help your prospective clients understand and see why NOW is more important than ever.
Sadly, even if you do a fantastic job at that, your time and effort could be wasted if it’s just the wrong timing for that person. You can try to meet where they are in their current business life cycle. But, you should always remember that it’s unlikely for you to only work with high-revenue clients until later on in the life cycle of your accounting firm’s business.
Ask successful accounting firm owners where they landed their biggest clients. Most of them will tell you “they started with me and have been with me for years” or they’ll say they were referrals. Small businesses can refer bigger businesses for services and high-revenue clients don’t just jump ship unless there’s really a legitimate reason to jump ship. This means it benefits you to start the relationships sooner rather than later.
These three major reasons for objections — wrong thing, wrong person, and wrong time — are not your fault. You have to keep in mind that there are transient situations that will require you to plan a little differently, pay attention, analyze why they didn’t buy, and then ultimately, adapt for the next time through.
What if Your Price Was Still Objected to by the Right Person at the Right Time?
You may be asking now, “How couldn’t it be the right time to value accounting, bookkeeping, and tax relationships in the current times of COVID?” or “What is it that I should have done differently?”
If a potential client objects to your price because they deem it “a little expensive,” you should take the time to ask them, “Why do you feel that it’s an expensive investment?”
If they bring up terms such as price, costs, quotes, and fees in the conversation DON’T USE THE F WORD (Fee), go over how your offered price is a steal, considering the return that it can generate for their business. Respectfully ask your prospective client to help you understand why the price isn’t right from their point of view.
To overcome price objections, accounting pros should work on constantly asking questions to better understand which part of your service doesn’t meet the price perception of the client. You can briefly discuss a high-level overview of the benefit of your services again so they have a chance to ask additional questions to help understand why the investment is worth it.
What Closing Techniques Could Help Overcome Price Objections?
Here are some high-level closing techniques to overcome objections to the pricing of accounting services that don’t involve unnecessary pressure, in the form of questions and responses, that can help you reverse price objections in your favor.
1. “If all this did was <insert a client’s major pain point>, would it be worth it?”
This is a great follow-up question to help your prospective client realize the value or impact that your services can provide. Let’s say a client’s pain point is a tax liability, then you can ask them, “If all this did was significantly reduce your tax liability, would it be worth it?”
2. “Money’s good, but results are better.”
“Money’s good, but results are better. Money is a tool for exchange. You spend money to get something greater in return. Do you believe what you get is greater than the investment that you would place into our firm?”
3. “Shift your disposable income from liabilities to assets.”
“Shift your disposable income from liabilities to assets. Spend it on something that will bring you long-term fulfillment, wealth, peace of mind, and quality of life.”
These terms are accounting jargon, but most people know what liabilities mean, and they certainly know what assets references. You’re basically telling them that you can help shift both of them. Take a little bit of disposable income, and then invest it in something that gives you a tangible return.
4. “Money replenishes.”
“Money replenishes. Money can come back, but time does not”
Here, you’re essentially asking the client, “How much more time are you going to potentially waste on trying to find another solution until you realize that we’re the best one available to you?”
5. “If we leave now, you’ll slip back to your old habits.”
“If we leave now, you’ll slip back to your old habits. If you want to change, you need repeated exposure to our full suite of services.”
Remind the person that if they really want to see changes lead to better results, they need to break habits and consider how much their investment in your firm and services would be worth.
6. “Money or excuses.”
This one can be painful, but it basically tells the prospective client to pay attention. People can either be good at making money or making excuses, but they can’t do both. Investing money on a steal of an offer could make more money, but excuses won’t get anyone anywhere.
7. “You Got Two Choices.”
“You got two choices. Settle with what you have now and keep getting what you’re getting, or make a small investment and give it a shot. If it works, awesome. If not, we’ll give you your money back.”
This is especially great for clients who fear investing in more expensive options and are opting for cheap, low-quality accounting services. Although they make think that going as cheap as possible and gaining some short-term profit is worth it, devoting more resources towards valuable services will see a better return.
Put the onus right back on them. Convince them that you’re willing to meet and exceed their trust, but you’ll also give them a reassuring guarantee.
What Should You Do Now?
Before you schedule your next appointment, take the time to incorporate what you’ve learned about the major reasons for price objections as you pre-qualify potential dream clients. When the right person objects to your offered price, you should always try to understand exactly why. This helps you ease their concerns and learn more about their pain points. You can then respond to them with the high-level techniques that we’ve shared.
We’ve already disclosed many actionable closing techniques to overcome price objections, but there are many others that can be used. If you really want to maximize the potential of this information, you should consider our Practice Ignitor Challenge.
For just $47, we can offer you the expertise, wisdom, and experience to apply all these to your niche, and even specific situations. We also have a seven-day, money-back guarantee!
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