Do you charge clients for QBO? You shouldn’t!
As the Amazon number-one best-selling author of Effective Pricing for Accountants, I’d like to share why, when you're moving clients onto a cloud accounting system such as QuickBooks Online, you should bundle the cost of the software into the cost of your solution.
The reason is that it reduces the number of pricing decisions clients have to make. And to prove to you how important that is, I’d like you to think about the last time you bought something online. If you buy from Amazon, for example, I’m sure you’ll have noticed that pretty much everything they sell offers free package and posting.
It may not be rational - but it works!
About a year ago I was buying some batteries on Amazon. As usual, when I typed ‘batteries’ into the search box, back came a whole load of different options within the Amazon marketplace. I clicked on the cheapest, added it to the shopping basket and was about to check...
What do you do if a client says you’re too expensive?
I’m sure most of us have experienced that moment when you reveal the price and your client says, "That's a bit more than I was expecting. Sorry, but it's beyond my budget." The big question then is, what do you do next? One option, of course, is just to walk away. You may not be prepared to take on the business for less than your original price, and that's fine. It’s often a good thing to do. But let's imagine that you particularly want to win this piece of work. What do you do then?
What you should never do is automatically give a discount. That's crazy. Instead, do one of the following.
#1 Review the value
Usually if a client thinks a service you’re offering is too expensive, it’s not because the price is too high but because they don't fully understand its value. So go back and talk about the benefits again. Remind them of the end result, of the difference it will make to their lives. You might...
Is doubling your price ripping the client off?
Today I’d like to cover something that often comes up when I’m leading seminars and workshops. Almost every time I share stories of how firms using my techniques are able to double – or even treble – their prices, someone in the group will say, "But Mark, if I'm charging double what the firm down the road is, aren’t I ripping my clients off?" The answer I always give is: Absolutely not!
Why? There are three main reasons:
1: Clients aren't stupid
When your clients make a purchasing decision, they do it for the right reasons. They've chosen you because there's something about you they like. They probably know there's a cheaper alternative, but it's the same with many other things they might buy.
Why, for example, do so many of your clients buy their coffee in Starbucks when there are cheaper ways of drinking coffee? It’s certainly not because they’re stupid. (At least I hope not, because I do the...
Being too cheap can actually lose you business
Although people often think that the quickest way to grow their accounting firm is by keeping prices low, today I'll explain why being cheap can actually lose you customers.
To prove it, I'll start with a quick story. It dates back many years to when I’d first started to learn value pricing in 2000 or 2001. I’d been asked by a limited company if I could do some quite complex tax planning for them, work involving group structuring overseas and so on. As I came from a tax background though, I felt confident I could deliver.
The company asked me to create a proposal and a price. I’d already started to learn about the importance of building value, and so I created a proposal that included five or six pages of detail of what I could do for them.
How I beat one of the top-six accountancy firms
However, it was only when I won the business that they revealed they'd been shopping around. In fact, one of the other firms...
Clients are only interested in the end result
Today I’d like to share a really important pricing tip I gained from marketing.
One of the most important lessons you can ever learn is that your clients aren’t buying what you do. They're not interested in it. What they are interested in is the end result.
People buy benefits, not features
The problem is, when we talk about what we do we often describe it in terms of its features. What we can learn from marketing, from top marketers, is that people don't buy features. They buy benefits. Which means that in all our written and verbal communications we need to make sure we're constantly talking about those benefits.
To illustrate, I’ll give you a practical example. I’d like you to imagine that you’re discussing annual financial statements with a potential client, and that your brochure or proposal says something like: “As part of your annual accounts, we'll also carry out a tax-planning review.”
Referrals don’t just happen – you need a system
As regular readers of my blog will know, I’m a great believer that referrals are one of the best ways you can find to grow your accounting or bookkeeping firm. However, you can’t just sit back and expect them to happen. It’s vital that you have systems in place to make sure you get referrals systematically.
That’s why I’d like to share a really powerful system for doing just that. It’s based on something I learned many years ago about the best time to ask for referrals. When I put it in place in my own firm – way back in 1999 – I saw the results immediately.
The best time to ask for referrals
The best time to ask for referrals is right at the start of a relationship. Why? Because when the owner of a business first employs you, they’re incredibly grateful. They get to breathe a huge sigh of relief. We tend to forget that finding a great accountant, bookkeeper or tax...
Why referrals is the best system to win new clients
Do you want to grow your business? If so, there are many marketing tactics for doing just that. But there is one that is still the best for the accounting professions.
It’s the power of referrals.
Although there may be many exciting new tools at our disposal – social media for one – referrals continues to be one of the most powerful. I believe it’s the best way to win new clients. And I know that many of you will agree.
If you prefer to watch rather than read you can watch the video here.
There’s a but…
Whilst you may agree, how many systems do you have in place to systematically win more clients and win more referrals?
I suspect the answer is, “None“. It usually is.
Yet if we believe in the power of referrals so much then why are we leaving it to chance? Why are we just hoping that our clients are saying good things about us, and recommending us to other people,...
Why you should never answer the price question… with the price
When someone asks you the price question I have one piece of advice for you.
Never answer it with the price.
Ok, so that may sound a little weird but bear with me.
The trouble is that when you’re sat in your meeting with your existing or prospective client and you’ve revealed your solution then that’s the question they will ask. It’s obvious. But your answer, your price, will always sound expensive.
So you have to do things a little differently.
If you prefer to watch rather than read you can watch the video here.
Communicate the value
Instead of revealing that price early in the conversation you have to first build up the value. That means properly communicating both the value of what you do, the benefit to the consumer and the end result. You need to set that all up before you even thing about revealing the price.
Go for contrast
Another useful tool is the Contrast...
3 key pricing strategies you could adopt in your business
To grow a successful, profitable business you have to figure out your strategy. It’s the foundation of your business so you have to figure it out pretty quickly. Fail to do so and you are relying on just one thing.
And luck doesn’t always go your way.
Of course an essential part of that strategy has to be around pricing. So how do you define your pricing strategy? There are essentially three different pricing strategies that you could follow:
Find out more about the 3 types of pricing strategy you could adopt in the video here.
Option 1 - Low cost leadership
At its heart this strategy is actually about being the cheapest. But it’s cheapest with a difference. It’s cheapest because we create something within the structure of the business that’s unique. It’s about enabling a different cost structure that isn’t able to be copied.
That in turn means no one...
Why identifying your ideal client should be step 1 of your marketing strategy
When you want to really grow a business then a marketing strategy is key to attract new clients and more work. But it’s an involved process that can get complicated.
Instead first there is a basic, and what I believe, most important step to take. You need to identify your ideal client.
When I started my accounting firm back in 1996 I was simply focused on growing the size of my firm by getting as many clients as I could. Two and a half years in and my business was a mess. I didn’t make any money. I had cash flow problems and I had way too many clients to manage effectively.
And, as well as having too many, those I did have were a mixed bag. Some were good, some were bad and some were downright awful. I had taken on lots of poor quality clients simply because I thought growing my business was about numbers – about scale.
And I wasn’t alone.
Even today I speak to many accounting...