1. OWN THE VALUE OF YOUR WORK
Position yourself as an expert service provider from the very beginning of your relationship with all prospective clients. Your responsibility will be to lead the client through your bookkeeping process, not the other way around. Taking charge at the initial pitch/meeting exemplifies your confidence and your knowledge. I know this might seem overwhelming at first, but you must adopt the mindset that your time is too valuable to waste on the wrong client. You really should interview the client like you are hiring them, not the other way around.
Playing hard to get and being confident will actually make the client want to work with you more. It could also help them to see you as an outside resource, not as an employee. By leading the initial meeting, you also avoid drawn-out sales cycles. You set the stage for an expedited answer. Even if the client turns you down right away, they likely would have never taken your services and this just gives you extra time to pursue clients that will value you and have you drawing up an offer letter.
2. OFFER BOTH WHAT BUSINESS OWNERS WANT & WHAT THEY NEED
Often business owners may try to dictate your fees based on their own understanding of your role. They know they need help, but more often than not, they have looked into automated options that claim to do all the tasks they assume must be completed by a bookkeeper. Part of your job is to highlight the many services you & your firm offer that add value to their companies overall. No software program can implement the same processes, systems, or suggestions that a trained accounting specialist can. Here are some areas you might want to highlight that business owners want and value the key deliverables.
WORLD-CLASS BOOKKEEPING: Correct GAAP and tax accounting, a perpetual data room, strong internal controls, and a permanent audit trail help keep business owners in any niche out of financial and legal trouble, as well as lay a rock-solid foundation to manage and grow their business.
INCREASED CASH FLOW: Company owners need ways to closely monitor and predict cash flow. Staying cash flow positive is crucial and requires proficiency in assisting them with financial projections that many businesses are lacking.
REDUCED TAX LIABILITY: Tax filing for businesses in today’s overly-regulated world is complex, requiring solid accounting and processes throughout the year. Owners need their taxes done correctly to minimize what they owe without creating a future liability.
ROBUST REPORTING: With proper and high-level reporting, your client is able to more efficiently run and grow their business. Elevated reports go beyond basis balance sheets and income statements.
PEACE OF MIND: Your clients should be focused on the profitability and growth of the business. By ensuring their accounting/bookkeeping are up to date and accurate, you help them alleviate stress and prove to be of value.
3. CHOOSE THE RIGHT CLIENT
Getting to know your prospective client is a crucial step in earning the fee you deserve. REMEMBER you are hiring them. In order to see if they are the best client for you, you must listen more than you talk. It is also important that you don’t spend time defending your resume or providing free advice. Ask direct questions, this will allow you to learn more about their business, figure out the scope of their work and demonstrate your authority by asking the right questions and proving you are knowledgeable, well-trained and experienced, and trustworthy. The bonus to this is if they trust you, they will be more willing to give up their money and give you the price you are asking for.
4. SET YOUR PRICE, ESTABLISH YOUR WORTH
Many bookkeeping professionals are undercharging for their services because they don’t understand the value, they provide their clients with and are afraid that charging too much could lose the prospective clients. However, the high price you can charge is positively correlated to the high value you provide your clients. So, how do you name your figure? Charge for the benefits you offer, not tasks you complete, don’t charge hourly for your services, increase your fees over time, expect the unexpected and estimate your cost accordingly, position your services as an investment, not a cost, and confidently submit your offer letter.
Your expertise is greatly valuable to your current and future clients and it is an important part of your job to be able to communicate the value effectively. Establishing your value means understanding the worth of your own work, and then setting the price accordingly.
Until next time,