Why Accountants Should Frequently Reach Out to Prospects
Do you have a stack of business cards lying on your desk just waiting for your follow up? Do you avoid calling a prospect back when you don’t close the deal on the first phone call or meeting? Do you have a little voice in the back of your head that says you should get the sale right away when you’re at a networking meeting and meeting someone new?
If you said “yes,” you’re not alone. Most accountants don’t reach out a second, third or fourth time to prospects they don’t immediately close. One of the reasons we don’t is we think we’re “bugging” the prospect. We assume that our new leads do not want to hear any more about our services and we certainly don’t want to appear “sales-y.”
“Bugging” Them Could Be a Gift
CPA and QuickBooks® ProAdvisor® Suzanne Conrad, owner of Suzanne W. Conrad, CPA, of Folsom, Calif., didn’t want to bug her prospects … until she heard me talking about the statistics behind the number of sales interactions it takes to close a sale. On a recent call that was part of my Accountant’s Accelerator program, I encouraged members to continue calling every prospect that hasn’t told you “no,” until you get either the “no” or the sale.
Suzanne, who is also an enrolled agent, actually did her homework – and it paid off immediately. She made three calls, got some “no” answers, but to her surprise, got a very profitable “yes.” She picked up a juicy four-figure contract with a really nice guy who was about to miss his IRS deadlines. She did him a huge favor by “bugging” him.
We’re the only ones who think we’re “bugging” our prospects, but the prospect never thinks that!
We actually owe it to our prospects and clients to tell them we’re interested in their business and we can solve their problems. Our expertise in accounting is our gift to others who cannot do it.
When you follow up, add value each time you call. Demonstrate your competence and confidence without giving them answers for free. Do this by:
- Sharing testimonials of clients just like them.
- Describing how your package will help them.
- Focus on the results your prospect will receive, not your process.
A Numbers Game
Failure to follow up is likely costing you an alarming percentage of your revenue – maybe even more than half. There is an “urban legend” about how only two percent of sales are closed on a first contact and 80 percent of sales are not closed until the fifth contact. Generalities aren’t that useful, but what is useful is to measure your own results.
Create your own “lead nurturing” system in Excel. Track each contact you make with a prospect, as well as when you close the sale or get the “no.” Total the revenue you sell at each contact so that you discover how much revenue you close on first contact, second and so forth.
When you start tracking, you’ll be shocked at how often the fortune is in the fifth or subsequent follow up. Just keep asking for the “no.”