What are you?

I had an epiphany the other day after being challenged in a group about pricing and how difficult it was to get the price they were looking for.

Let me give you a bit more background.

This group of franchisees run their own service business but in an industry that is known more for its technical expertise with numbers rather than the way it looks after clients.

Traditionally, this industry also works from dusty, untidy offices with vertical blinds in the windows and a brass plaque outside the door, which is usually closed.  But I refuse to tell you which industry it is.

Anyway, back to the group in question.

They were telling me that they couldn’t get the fees they were looking for because they kept getting compared to other accountants.

Damn, I said it… you suckered me into that!

So, I asked the question… what are you?  They looked at me blankly for a few seconds before unanimously telling me they were also accountants and that I must be pretty stupid for not realising that.

Well, I had to disagree.  Not about being stupid, I probably deserved that, but about them being accountants.

Think about it this way.  Every accountant in the world does accounts (and payroll, bookkeeping and some other suff).  And, by and large, all accounts will be the same.  Sure, there will be some discrepancies, but there will always be a Profit and Loss statement and a Balance Sheet.

In other words, it’s impossible to be different by doing accounts.  So, if you think you are an accountant the only way potential clients will differentiate you from other accountants is on price… hence you will always be challenged on price.

I don’t think, though, they are accountants.  Oh, sure, they produce accounts because they have to arrive at a tax position.  I think they are business advisers, mentors, friends, confidantes and counsellors.

If they approach a sales meeting from the point of view of asking themselves ‘what can I do to help this person achieve what they want to achieve’ rather than start from the position of ‘what products does this person need and how much will that be’ they will make more sales.

Price almost becomes irrelevant and they could almost ask: ‘what would that sort of support be worth to you?’

That may be a step too far, but you get the point.

Sure, there will always be price sensitive people and you will never not get challenged on price.  But how yo deal with that challenges depends on you fundamentally knowing how you are different and why someone should buy not your service.

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