Better conversation unlocks better sales performance, better prices and better profitability...

I have just put the phone down on a senior manager responsible for new client acquisition - sales. We enjoyed a conversation about conversations. Sales conversations.

I know there is a preference for the charicature accountant to avoid the issue of selling - it's almost a dirty word with a few. And these few have this very strong argument to support their case:

"How can you perform your trusted advisor role if your are perceived as a sales person?"

And I would agree with them, you can't. And in my view the 'trusted advisor' role is not up for negotiation it is at the core of every great accountants role. If you're perceived as a salesperson you've blown it.

So don't allow this perception to show up. Stop selling and start having great, high-value conversations about your clients' business and what they need to help them survive or thrive. Have a conversation about:

  1. the challenges they face and the stuff you can do to help and
  2. whether it's needed (relevant) and
  3. whether the time is right for it (timing) and
  4. what the benefits of doing it will be - and the downsides of not doing it - so you can discuss the benefits (ROI) they'll get from doing it

And how do you do this? Work out great questions to ask and then ask them.

What are the best questions you use when engaging in high quality conversations? here's a few of mine:

  • What are you expecting from this meeting?
  • What did you find of most value in this meeting?
  • What are the big issues or challenges facing he firm?

All three questions have worked brilliantly for me in creating great conversations and building great relationships. What questions have worked for you?

Paul Shrimpling

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