Sales is the primary driver for all businesses. Yet somehow, accountants have historically found their bread and butter without the help of a sales team.
Speaking to an accountant recently, I had a chuckle when she mentioned her service plans all included one baseline service – “Keep you sweet with the Tax Man”. For many accountants, the tax department has been their sales driver. For others, developing their sales skills has become a key focus.
So, what happens when you’ve suggested an advisory service but the client isn’t ready to commit? This is not game over, consider giving the client GIFTS.
Have you applied GIFTS to your sales process?
GIFTS is a sales tool that drives impulse in late-stage selling and online marketing. Ideal for situations where a prospect understands the cost and benefits but isn’t taking action.
GIFTS stands for:
G – Greed. What’s in it for them? Focus on their time, mind and financial freedom.
I – Indifference. Let the client own the next move. Use OPPS.
F – Fear of missing out. Your time has boundaries, communicate that.
T – The Jones Theory. Tell true stories. Show them what success looks like.
S – Sense of urgency. Discuss the opportunity cost of inaction and leverage their dissatisfaction.
Going a little deeper…
Greed – As much as we hate to admit it, everyone has some degree of greed. We want to know the benefit we’ll get before we’ll buy. Hence it’s important to speak in terms of what’s in it for the customer. Focus on the three freedoms, describing what their life could look like if they had more money, more time, or less stress. Offer a guarantee that if they commit to the process (and do what's required of them) but don’t achieve a return on their spend, you’ll refund their money.
Indifference – Let the prospect or client take full ownership of their decision. Be even-keeled irrespective of circumstance. Don’t be a product pusher! It’s very hard to maintain a position of indifference if you’ve only got one opportunity in the pipeline. Hold more Complimentary Client Reviews, send more Business Development proposals, and your confidence will soar.
Fear of missing out – A tool for late-stage selling if a client is indecisive. Put an expiry date on your offer and be open about your availability for business advisory work - if the client delays accepting your proposal, they're delaying the implementation of improvement strategies. Truthfully, your time is not limitless and compliance deadlines aren’t negotiable. So, you need their commitment to make necessary arrangements for this work. Keeping yourself available for a 4-hour Business Planning session at the client's convenience, is not convenient. Use this to your advantage.
The Jones Theory – People like to follow the crowd, especially if the crowd is prospering. “Our most successful clients are doing this…”, “All our new clients receive at least one of our Business Advisory services”, “Do you think your competitors compare their results against monthly budgets and an Annual Plan?”
Sense of urgency – Consider the Formula for Change mindset. Dissatisfaction multiplied by our vision for the future, plus our first steps, must be greater than our resistance to change. (DxV+F)>R. Help your clients reflect on these components and they will be more likely to act.
The GIFTS framework can be used in many ways.
Some people naturally bring GIFTS to their client conversations. Don't be shy when it comes to compelling your clients to get the support their business deserves and openly valuing your precious time. GIFTS should be weaved into your initial client chats, when you speak further to gain conceptual agreement, and in your follow up calls.
Reflect on how you’re currently using them and how you can go further to increase your sales conversion.
If you'd like to learn more about how we help accountants market, sell and deliver Business Advisory services to their clients, schedule a tour of The Gap with our sales team.
“It's not about having the right opportunities. It's about handling the opportunities right.”
- Mark Hunter