As discussed in our Intro to Sales article, the key to building sales is to developrelationships with your clients. You may not see immediate results from your initial efforts, but like any other relationship, the longer a business association exists, the more trust and loyalty is established.
To do this, really listen to your client’s response when you ask how you can help them and what their needs are. Help your clients find the best solutions for their problems. Note that this does not require you to be an expert at everything. Rather, lean on the network of industry contacts you’ve built up through your networking efforts.
Offering solutions or being able to put your client in front of someone else that can help them really goes a long way in developing the trust that’s so important in a long term relationship. Additionally, actively listening to your clients can help you identify areas where you may be able to develop valueadded services around the needs of your clients.
According to Hamish Knox, author of Accountability the Sadler Way, the problem with the traditional approach to sales is that most salespeople don’t use a repeatable system for selling. This results in wasting a lot of time working harder, not smarter. Without a consistent need for clients to return to you on a regular basis, you will find yourself working hard, spending your valuable time trying to get them to come back to see you.
Instead, work smarter. Create a need for your clients to see you on a regular schedule. Get them excited to meet with you and discover what insight you have to offer them next. One tool that can help with that is ProfitCents (www.profitcents.com).
ProfitCents is a webbased financial analysis solution developed for Accountants and CPA’s. You can check the pulse of a client’s financial health against industry data and create a plan based on that initial benchmark.
ProfitCents offers customizable, plainlanguage reports and “whatif” scenarios that your clients can relate to. Using a product like ProfitCents will assist you in creating urgency for your next visit.
Clients will be eager for their quarterly update to see how they measure up in their industry and the progress they’ve made. Together you can strategize and develop a progressive action plan for growth (which will give you numerous opportunities to follow up and reinforce your value).
Another tool is PlanGuru (www.planguru.com). PlanGuru is a budgeting, forecasting, and performance review software.
It allows you to create an accurate analysis in a short amount of time with several assumptions built right into the program. That enables you to make changes quickly and easily on the fly, and the changes will flow down throughout the budget. Discussions about cash flow can be your best sales tool as, generally, these discussions lead to additional projects as areas for improvement are discovered.
In summary, to increase your sales, focus on building, strengthening, and reinforcing your relationships with your clients. Create a system in which your clients will be excited to return to you on a consistent basis for your value added services, and you will create a sales generating machine that needs very little assistance from you to continue to move forward. That’s working smarter, not harder!