Why do Accountants hate selling?

If I had a pound for every Accountant who has said to me “I hate selling”, I wouldn’t need to run my own business as I would be lazying around on a yacht in the Caribbean. So, what is it that stops us Accountants just like you and
I hating – in fact even dreading the selling process?

1. Negative stereotypes associated with selling

When I ask you to think of a sales person, what comes to mind? A pushy double glazing salesman who would swindle his own Granny, if he thought that would help him make his targets? Well, maybe that’s a bit strong, but probably not too far off the mark. In fact, when people in our firm are good at selling, we never talk about them as a great sales person. We talk about them as a great marketing person or good at business development or a rain maker. Never a sales person.

2. We are very rarely trained to ‘sell’

You are always up to speed on the latest financial reporting standard or piece of tax legislation – well, your technical capability is important to your ability to service your clients. So how come most of us expect to magically expect to be able to sell? Suddenly, we find we have ‘business development’ responsibilities and targets – and at best we have the luxury of observing some of our seniors within the practice demonstrate their ability (or lack of ability) to sell.

3. We are conditioned to expect to make the sale in one phone call or meeting

It all goes back to the stereotype of a sales person. We see them at the first sales meeting and pushing for a yes to close the deal – and not leaving without one. We have been conditioned to try and make the sale on the 1st meeting – rather than seeing sales as a process, and focusing on getting to the next stage in the process.

4. We fear rejection

If you push yourself into a sales situation, there can only be three outcomes, yes, no or maybe. Deep down inside of us all, we all have a little person in us who just wants to be liked. It’s this little person who tells us that if we have to do some ‘selling’ then there is a chance it may end badly for us, and they wouldn’t want to be our friend... this is all codswallop in reality, but something not too dissimilar to this is often going around in our heads when we approach a sale.

5. Selling Accountancy services is not easy

Before someone is willing to buy your services, there normally needs to be trust and credibility present. This takes time to build up – and means that the sales cycle can often be long and protracted, which makes it harder. With all the other things on our plates, following up and keeping the prospect warm is often at the bottom of our list.
Have I missed anything out?
 

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I help professionals, mostly accountants and lawyers become the Go-To-Expert. After joining BDO LLP in 2004, I have now almost clocked up ten years working predominantly with accountants helping them achieve their career and business goals. Unusually for someone with an Engineering Degree, I accidentally became a writer and used my knowledge on social media to write the current best-selling and award-winning book on networking, The FT Guide To Business Networking. (over 100 five star reviews on amazon) In 2012, the book I always wanted to write, 'How to make partner and still have a life' was published. In March 2014, my next book, 'The Go-To-Expert: How to build your reputation, differentiate yourself from the competition and win business' is published. People frequently talk about me as someone who really knows her stuff – which may be the reason I have, over the last decade, worked with over 300 partners, coached and trained over 2000 professionals at every level of the UK’s most ambitious professional practices. 

I am honoured to have been asked to judge the British Accountancy Awards in 2011 and 2012. I am a member of the Accountant's Club Global Advisory Panel, and write regularly on practice management issues for CCH.

Myself, and Jon (my co-director) are approved Growth Accelerator Coaches. This means that we can if you are eligible, through the Growth Accelerator scheme, help you get some coaching funded by the scheme. Click here for more details to see whether you are eligible for the scheme.

The types of work I am currently helping my small professional practice clients with, includes:

1) Helping a £2m t/o practice grow to £4m by restructuring the firm and helping the management team step up 

2) Working with a £1m t/o practice to grow to £2m by generating more leads, and getting more work from existing clients

3) Enabling a £300k t/o practice grow to £1m by helping it sort out it's profitability by adding in efficient systems and processes, and increasing the quality of the  lead generation by marketing to a niche

4) Facilitating the growth of a one man band practice into a 3 person practice by helping increase the lead generation and conversion rate of leads, plus keeping the practice owner accountable to his goals.

The Excedia Group was founded by myself and Jon Baker to bring clarity, perspective and knowledge to help our clients achieve their business goals. We specialise in working with highly technical individuals, typically lawyers and accountants, helping them to get out of their comfort zone and build a profitable and sustainable client portfolio whilst handling the challenges of leading a business. 

My work splits into about 50% Executive & Business Coaching with Partners & potential partners, with the rest split between training, consultancy and writing.

My articles & quotes regularly appear in the press, e.g. FT, Guardian, Accountancy Age, Accounting Today, Economia, ACCA's publications. I regularly blog at Partnership Potentialventure-NowJoined up networking and How to make partner.

To book me for a speaking engagement please contact my PR Agency, Meerkat PR, on 020 8563 0182, and ask for David Stoch. For any other work related enquiries, please contact me directly.

My clients have included: Deloitte LLP, KPMG LLP, BDO LLP, Haines Watts, MSI Global Alliance, UK200 group, Macintyre Hudson LLP amongst others.