|The way out of the Accounting service's hourly rate's trap is through value pricing that allows you also to separate your income from the hours spent earning it. Learn how the traditional marketing strategy actually fails you in pricing...|
|HDK Consultants USA Inc.|
The pricing-income-time -trap that traditional marketing of Accounting services sets up for us
Pricing Accounting services isn't all that easy. Justifying the hourly rates is a constant pain for most Accounting firms.
To say the least, it is embarrassing to have to EXPLAIN hourly billing rates.
Whether or not a client actually enquires or complains about the rates, it is known to be a top item of complaints among business owners. Any survey ASKING about this will show just how fixated business owners are on "high pricing of Accounting services."
Do they want you to work for NOTHING?
Or, do they so NOT value Accounting service that they consider it not worth paying for?
Well, I've got good and bad news for you.
The good news is that there's nothing wrong with what you deliver and the price is not too high.
The bad news is that we've been on the wrong road with pricing of services for quite a while, due to traditional marketing methods.
We are selling the WRONG thing and therefore we're in a PRICING TRAP that cannot be escaped by use of traditional marketing principles.
Which businesses complain about the price of Accounting services?
Not every client or company feels bad about the pricing of Accounting services.
Roughly, one could compare the reaction to hourly rates of Accounting firms to two categories.
Medium sized companies with "professional-buyer attitude" don't usually complain.
Instead, most complaints or negative viewpoints on the pricing of Accounting services come from smaller companies - those with the owner personally running the company and paying (or authorising the payment of) the bills.
Unfortunately this is also our bread and butter: SME companies are the biggest category of clients for any Accounting firm.
To disregard the issue of making your pricing attractive to owner-run small-to-medium sized companies would thus cause the problems to continue with the MAJORITY of your existing clients - and it would, of course, be the same story with NEW clients as well.
Traditional marketing of Accounting services - taking the wrong route
One can hypothesise endlessly on the cause of these complains targeting the price of Accounting services. It is all too easy to think that people are naturally unappreciative or mean.
It is all but impossible to set precise mathematical values for appreciation.
Yet, there are some fundamental building blocks to creating value and a sense of receiving fair exchange for what one has paid for.
Let's look at what creates the feeling of having received ample exchange for moneys paid.
First of all, it's not the same thing than what we see as a "good bargain."
A good bargain is a one-time happenstance wherein we get something of known, well-established value at much lower cost. While we TAKE these bargains whenever we can, the motivation behind them is to achieve ONE-SIDED GAIN and the motivation is anything from commonsense frugality to just straightforward greed.
To utilise the concept of a "good bargain" means you need to EVOKE that feeling of "here's an exceptional opportunity to get one-sided gain."
This concept is easiest to recognise in consumer marketing. In essence, the buyer is tempted to "STEAL" something at a "ridiculously low cost." Supermarkets spend untold fortunes in advertising these bargains - and often sell the item itself at a LOSS to the consumer.
These so-called "loss-leaders" - items sold at a price lower than what the supermarket pays for them to the wholesalers - are used under the assumption that it will pull in new clients that will then REMAIN faithful to that chain of supermarkets.
But will it, really?
If someone is offered a product or service at a fraction of its cost - with the actual cost well known to those it's offered to - then is that going to lay a healthy foundation for mutually beneficial trading?
If you encourage him "to steal" something of value at half-a-price or less, will it really help to build a better client-relationship?
Will it increase or decrease the perceived value of the item of sale itself?
Or - will it only serve to REPEL clients, inadvertently turning them into "unintentional thieves" as they KNOW they're not paying the true exchange value of what they get?
The "bargain lure" is most prominently used in consumer marketing.
But, unfortunately, it is also the approach traditional marketing of Accounting services is BASED on, regardless of how well-refined the messages.
It is the basic strategy that it all builds on.
And that's how the traditional marketing approach creates a cul-de-sac of kinds - a glass ceiling for the pricing of Accounting services. The business community has a high awareness of the "fair price" of Accounting.
This approach doesn't establish any VALUE at all.
Instead, it sells LOW PRICE, fixating the buyer's attention on PRICE, not on the value of the service itself.
The fundamental mistaken assumption of traditional marketing strategy is that your target audience already understands the full value of Accounting services.
But they don't, do they?
Establishing high value for your Accounting service
What establishes value in a person's mind for something?
Sense of value is, of course, a subjective viewpoint. What is valuable to one person can be worthless to another.
Value is something each person decides independently. It is attributed to your service by way of self-determined decision of a potential client.
The traditional marketing of Accounting services assumes the target audience has, at large, already attributed great value to the services of an Accounting firm. Only, they haven't.
Failing that, the traditional marketing advises us to TELL the prospect that our service is valuable. But will a business owner meekly ACCEPT this self-asserting claim from us?
Doubtful, isn't it?
No - what works is something totally different.
It is a PROCESS through which you need to take each and every potential client.
It is YOU whose task it is to allow that sense of value become attached to YOUR services.
Don't expect your prospect to HAVE that understanding conveniently pre-installed.
The concelt of VALUE could be defined (in its ideal state) as:
"An idea of worth, usefulness, and desirability associated with Accounting services and the expectation OR understanding of the benefits that follow from receiving the service."
Well, you KNOW all of this, of course. But how would you define the concept of "Accounting services?"
How would you verbalise the valuable in what a client receives?
Interestingly, very few of us actually ever write down and define WHAT exactly IS VALUABLE in what we deliver.
And let me assure you that unless WE know what it is, unless we USE that precise definition in marketing... it isn't going get communicated.
It won't be understood by our target audience. Our CLIENTS are definitely not going to figure it out about our services!
So, let's explore this a little. Let me suggest TWO alternative viewpoints of what a client receives from Accounting services.
Now - which of these two would be closest to what YOU consider the valuable item of exchange delivered to clients by Accounting firms?
And which of these two would be more likely to correspond with the awareness level of an average small business owner?
All right - indulge me for a while longer.
Let's suppose that number two above would really represent the level and extent of the AVERAGE client's thinking. After all, he probably hasn't figured out all that thoroughly what is valuable in his OWN service to HIS clients... so one cannot expect him to bother figuring out the "valuables" of YOUR service, wouldn't you say?
To establish value, we must first DEFINE what is valuable. To this, there are again two sides.
One is figuring out the OBJECTIVE valuables - those that the service has the potential to deliver.
The second is the SUBJECTIVE communication of these values. With this, I simply mean that we must use the values, wordings and concepts of our TARGET AUDIENCE in explaining those objective values to them.
For if this step is missing, they just won't understand it, will they? And if that's the case, they won't BUY your service - or, if they're already clients, they won't SEE the value of it.
In establishing value, EVERTHING hangs on whether or not a business owner UNDERSTANDS what he gets.
Significance plays such a decisive role in marketing, selling, and delivering of Accounting services.
It's all in the mind of the receiver - if he doesn't SEE value, if he doesn't UNDERSTAND the usage and benefits of it... then there is NO value in it for him.
To create value for your service, you need to BUILD IT UP with each potential client individually.
(And, to GET potential clients to build it up with you need a very different approach from the traditional marketing of Accounting services - see the article on selecting a prospecting system!)
You build it up within the mind of the potential client.
In other words, you don't TELL him what's valuable - you ask him questions so as to get HIM to invent that value.
Let me say in NO uncertain terms that the average business owner's LACK of familiarity with Accounting & finance makes it impossible to realise the value of your services directly and without your help.
It's a fatal mistake to assume HE understands it just because YOU do.
We are talking light-years and megawatts of difference here between your expertise and his!
Thus, it is vital that you BREAK DOWN the "principal value definition" of your services.
The above definition 1) breaks down to about 30-40 SUB-VALUABLES - smaller values and benefits to be realised by potential clients - and you need to take that "scenic route" if you EVER want it to result in "getting the overall picture!"
Now, here's a vitally important piece of information on that:
In order to make these points TRUE, you have to get each potential client to INVENT these sub-values on his own.
Significance of worth, the concept of value is a subjective thing. It is a very PERSONAL conclusion which can only be born in the mind of the person himiself, "invented" BY himself.
You cannot do his thinking for him.
You cannot just TELL him what he should think and thus, try to bypass the business owner's own (often time-consuming) thinking process.
That won't produce the goods. He MUST go through it in his own mind, he has to focus his attention on each point and EVALUATE the issue on his onw in order to reach at those conclusions which you already know.
There's NO substitute for personal learning when it comes to understanding the VALUE of something.
Don't assume that just because most people agree on (amazingly FEW) physical things being of high value - Rolls Royce, Rolex, other such status symbol trademarks - that this would mean people would agree on the value of Accounting services.
They don't. The vast majority of business owners don't understand what you do. They DO associate you with mandatory taxation and Accounting regulations and, consequently, there's NO HOPE that the average business owner would automatically assing a HIGH valuat to Accounting services.
Quite the contrary, in fact.
Accounting service is a classic example of something whose value depends almost TOTALLY on the individual's own experience, data, understanding and opinions.
For there to BE ANY VALUE attributed to Accounting services, the person MUST have thought it out on his own.
But see - that's not how Accounting services have traditionally been marketed in the past few DECADES. The traditional marketing strategy IS nothing but giving people those "already-thought-out facts" and then spending endless hours in trying to JUSTIFY these claims.
The truth is that very FEW business owners HAVE any personal value attached to Accounting.
Instead, there's a tremendous VOID where "value attributed to the service through personal evaluation" should be!
The PERSONAL value-setting does not exist with most business owners.
In English, this simply means that nobody ever bothered INTERVIEWING them with pertinent questions allowing for this evaluation to take place.
And where a void on VALUE exists, the attention is fixed on mostly NEGATIVE data instead.
Which brings us right back to the COST of Accounting services - and the hourly rates in particular.
Knowing this, it isn't really surprising that surveys show a LOW VALUE attributed to Accounting services in general and/or a consideration that these services are quite expensive.
That doesn't mean that Accounting services would be bad.
But it definitely shows that there's SOMEETHING MISSING in the service. Accounting firms offer an identical basic service (as understood by clients) and it's hard to assign value to something which is so abundantly available everywhere.
And it also shows that very few business owners have been given the chance to EVALUATE these services on their own terms. Or, put another way, very few have been taken through a process that allows them to reassess the value of Accounting services.
"Expensive" - translated - means that a person hasn't been able (or hasn't been allowed, either or) to PERCEIVE the VALUE of what he pays for.
Thus, he compares an understood value (money) to a hazy image of missing values (Accounting services)... and that's an equation that can only bring one result:
It FEELS expensive!
In other words, you need to go through all that is valuable in your service with EACH POTENTIAL CLIENT - and do it in form of questions that will get him to THINK ON HIS OWN and form the opinion of the value.
You don't have to control WHAT he answers - or WHERE on that "value-scale" he sets each of those smaller parts of your service.
The "magical trick" is simply that he ASSIGNS A VALUE to each of those 30-40 smaller parts.
See, he hasn't DONE that before - he has NEVER accredited any of these smaller parts of your service with the concept of VALUE.
That's the trick.
Doing this, he will figure out the "HOW valuable?" of each smaller part. It doesn't really matter HOW HIGH he sets the value of them.
What matters is that he SETS a value to where "no value" previously existed.
The assignment of ANY value is a HUGE improvement when starting from nothing. A value is much better than "nonexistent" or "not even aware that this thing existed" or "never thought of its value, actually."
It makes a tremendous difference!
But that still leaves you with the problem of how to tempt anyone to CHANGE Accountants.
I mean... if you help the business owner understand the value of Accounting services, he isn't going to CHANGE Accountants. Instead, he'll be much more satisfied with his current one, now that he understands the value of the service!
And we want freedom from hourly rates combined with a higher profit margin, right?
So, how are you going to get him to CHANGE over to you AND PAY MORE for... what?
For getting exactly the same service he already receives from his current Accountant?
Fat chance, right?
If you want to achieve freedom to price your services at value, you must also get yourself a UNIQUE basic service something that includes compliance services but also offers exactly what the business owner WANTS but can't get from his current service provider.
Offer what they WANT MOST a service others don't have and you can name your price
To tempt anyone to change over to your firm, you obviously have to offer him something he isn't GETTING from his current Accounting firm.
Firm to firm, the basic compliance services are really IDENTICAL as seen by clients. Obviously, you're not going to be able to price your services freely let alone get anyone interested in changing Accountants unless you can offer something totally unique.
I've got good news for you; such a service exists already. It has been extensively researched and piloted... and it offers a freedom from hourly rates while allowing you to increase your profits with an average 22 percent.
This service is built to fulfill the researched wishes and needs of businesses to the point.
It is a service that the majority of your target audience WANTS - but, amazingly, they think it isn't AVAILABLE anywhere!
It is the way to separate your income and profits from the hours spent earning for it.
It is truly your hidden gold mine.
The new way of Accounting is within the INFORMATION INDUSTRY. Instead of selling mainly SERVICES you should be selling INFORMATION.
That's what business owners uniformly want - to understand their finances better, to be able to USE that time-sensitive information that monthly accounts provide.
The only problem is they don't understand it.
They need a translator.
To them, it is PRICELESS.
And to you, it will be very, very profitable!
- Monthly Financial Consulting Service: Introducing the proven superior BASIC accounting service that will give you a steady flow of new clients: The MFCS practically sells itself!
IF there was a way to ensure that clients understand and use the information they receive from YOUR basic Accounting service... you would have a mile-long queue of business owners outside your door, all begging for you to accept them as new clients!
CLICK HERE to read how to start delivering a basic Accounting service that 85% of business owners consider so valuable that they would immediately start considering a change of Accountants if they thought it was available...
How to ware your Marketing Hat with a creative, results-producing viewpoint?
As the owner of an Accounting firm, you have many separate tasks and hats. In this article, we examine how easily one can think about marketing "wearing the wrong hat"... and how to avoid the inevitable cost...
Why not offer what businesses want MOST?
51% of small businesses turn to their Accountant for advice...but are we WASTING this natural demand by NOT advising SMEs on the most make-sense and NEEDED areas of enterprising... just because they don't know how to ASK FOR IT?
Packaging Accounting services into highly desirable products
What on earth is PACKAGING? Well, it's the first and most important part of marketing... something without which you will have enormous hardships in getting your services sold effectively because you're not utilizing the PULL that's there. If you read nothing else from our web site, PLEASE read this...
Instead of paying thousands, how about GETTING PAID for marketing your Accounting services?
In your wildest dreams, have you ever imagined that marketing your services could DIRECTLY BRING INCOME instead of costing an arm and leg?
No, you didn't misunderstand and there's no mistake here... and it's not a wild scheme but something a growing number of firms are employing today...
Looking for inexpensive marketing ideas for a small or startup Accounting practice?
A small Accounting firm has some very speficic requisites for any marketing system. Otherwise, you're playing with the very survival of your practice.
There are certain simple basics on how to EVALUATE Accountancy marketing systems on whether these really have what it takes for you to get new clients.
Making use of normal people in selling Accounting services... or are you planning to do it yourself forever?
Read this article to find why it's seemingly impossible to get someone to sell your services successfully. Once you KNOW, you can actually DO IT...
EXPANSION-MINDED OR NOT? Why not take this tongue-in-cheek test to measure your readiness for expansion...
Expansion doesn't just happen like a lightning out of blue skies. It requires favourable circumstances... Here's a test for you if you have what it takes to BITE bite into this hot chilli pepper...????
Ready-to-use tools for finding prospective Accounting clients and to present & sell your services successfully:
What's all the fuss about ready-to-use tools for marketing & selling Accounting services? What's the difference if these are NOT software solutions then WHAT are they?
The biggest trap stopping you from obtaining Accounting clients at will...
There's an insidious, invisible TRAP into which we've all fallen. If allowed to remain unnoticed, this trap mechanism will effectively keep any Accounting professional from ever gaining the ability to obtain clients at will.
Knowing the anatomy of this insidious trap (and knowing how to get out of it) is probably the most vital piece of knowledge for unleashing your true potential in acquiring new clients at will.
Why you can't find anywhere NEAR as many prospectice clients as you want:
If only you could FIND MORE PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS...
Why does it appear impossible? Why do you get SO FEW referrals and prospects? What's causing this?
Well, chances are you've totally overlooked the biggest source of prospective clients in your area!
Pricing Accounting services at value... but what's the value to clients?
Pricing your service by hourly rates will always result in lots of upsets and unnecessary explanations.
Why not adopt the principle of charging for availability of advice and at the value your expertise really represents to clients?
How can you CREATE that value in the minds of your current and future clients? Its not all that hard if you know how to do it...
Do you KNOW what what business owners think about, value in, and want from Accounting... or just THINK you do?
Are you LOSING THOUSANDS by assuming business owners think the same way you do about Accounting services? Could it be that their viewpoint is very much different?
One thing is for certain: If you align your marketing message to meet EXACTLY what business owners want from Accounting services, you will start gettin a lot of new clients. Read why most Accounting firms are SO CERTAIN THEY KNOW while they still can't get new clients...
Accounting service marketing: Getting your message across
Why is it so difficult to get ANY response to marketing letters, ads and sales promotions? What can you do to change it?
Why "hiring a marketing expert" won't cut mustard if you want new clients...
One of the most common misconceptions among mid-sized Accounting firms is to think that all they need for marketing is to hire a marketing expert.
But that's really like solving a transportation problem by hiring a chauffeur and forgetting that he needs a VEHICLE to drive before any results can be hoped to be obtained...
So you're looking for a faster, easier solution to finding new Accounting clients?
Many Accounting professionals in public practice don't really want to get involved in marketing and sales that much. Instead, they're looking for a fast and easy solution to finding new clients.
But BUYER BEWARE... does such a system EXIST at all? Well, many CLAIM that it does but if it sounds too good to be true...
-Vital necessity of troubleshooting-- When choosing a marketing system for your Accounting firm...
Learn the insider secret on how you can instantly spot a functional marketing system and reject untried and unproven systems. The secret lies in whether or not the system has TROUBLESHOOTING TOOLS...
Risk Management: Controlling the risks in marketing Accounting services
So you HATE cold calling and don't AT ALL believe in telemarketing?
Then JOIN THE CLUB... you're definitely not alone!
But is telemarketing really a waste of time and money... or is it simply that you need a completely DIFFERENT approach (and system) to get lots pf prospective clients for Accounting services by way of telemarketing?
Prospective Accounting clients through direct mailing?
Many Accounting professionals in public practice have tried their hand in creating sales letters. And most of us have had to give up for it's very expensive to find out that the letter doesn't bring results...
To get results, you need to use exactly the right words and concepts in your letter. And while it's not much of a secret, it makes a huge difference in response...
7 factors governing the success of Accountancy prospecting
You're 98% success... but to get a new client you need a hundred!
- FIGHTING BACK: How certain are you that it is impossible to get new clients for your Accounting firm in today's economic situation?
Midst all the bad news, it's easy to forget that an economic slowdown contains both risks and opportunities, just like any other. Doing nothing is the only certain way to ensure that the situation can do maximum damage.
In fact, during recession you can make a HUGE LEAP FORWARD in terms of increasing your clientele and income... simply because most of your competitors do absolutely nothing. All you really need is to have a marketing strategy that aligns with the economic situation.
How to SELL without having to use superlatives about yourself?
If only it was easier to sell...
Selling your own ability - yourself, in essence - is often not too pleasant. Using superlatives can be very embarrassing... and one can also argue that such salesman antcis don't go well with the image of an Accounting professional.
It's a paradox - if you tell the client how great you are, he might get turned off... but if you don't, he just won't know.
New Generation Accounting Service PRESENTATION techniques
The traditional Accounting service presentation has outlived its usefulness. It still works with referrals and some prospects, but if you are serious about getting a lot MORE clients, you'll want this amazing new technique...
Advertising & Marketing of Accounting services - a complete waste of effort and money?
Well, admittedly it often is. Why is it so difficult to get RESULTS from advertising or marketing campaigns? What's the catch?
Are you practical or not when it comes to selecting a marketing system for your Accounting firm?
How can you find out beforehand whether or not a marketing system is practical and easy to use? Is it possible to estimate how fast and easy it is to start using the system and actually OBTAIN the expected results... new clients?
Comparing Accountancy marketing systems: The ease of getting started and the degree of support
In selecting a practice management system for your Accounting firm, it is essential to ensure those offering the system have actually used it themselves...
THE DIFFERENCE between traditional and modern marketing techiniques for Accounting firms
Traditional Accountancy marketing has a lot of good and perfectly applicable parts and practices. But some parts are ineffective by now. Learn how you can get results by using the MODERN marketing tehniques...
You don't want to increase the NUMBER of Accounting clients but REPLACE a few with BETTER paying & more cooperative ones?
Sometimes the idea of increasing the number of clients isn't appealing for obvious reasons. Not everyone wants to expand through a vast clientele and take on the hassles of employing many people. A sole practitioner who's been in practice for a while usually has TOO many clients already... and too much hassle. The old 80/20 rule (20% of clients cause 80% of the hassle but not of the income) can be beaten but it takes a bit of cunning.
How to sell advanced added-value Accounting services
Many Accounting Professionals have superb additional services to offer to their clients. But why are those added-value Accounting services, special consulting, valuation and other such excellent services so difficult to sell?
There's a very simple and logical reason for it - and once you know what the barrier is, you can effectively open the door to increase the sale of these additional services.
How to sell Accounting services: Getting your hourly rates accepted by prospective clients
Majority of business owners seek for low-cost Accounting services. Justifying reasonable hourly rates is a constant pain and source of disagreements.
There is a simple way to help your prospects and clients accept your fees...
Do you want to get a lot more REFERRALS for accounting services?
Referrals are the cream of all potential clients for an Accounting firm. They're easy to deal with and you can close almost all of them onto your services.
But why are they so hard to find? And how do you INCREASE the flow of referrals?
from contact to sign-on to follow?
to really GET results?
with TOOLS that require no training to use?
& sales activity of practical nature?
and troubleshoot problems?
independence to obtain new Accounting clients wherever you want?
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