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CPA Firm Sales – Asking For Business

     -     Aug 24th, 2009   -     Accounting Marketing   -     0 Comments

Scott Jensen, Director of Sales for Moss Adams was very kind to contribute this post on CPA and accounting firm sales. The post serves as a good reminder of the things we need to do before and during the sales pursuit to ensure our firms win the business.

I was talking with one of my favorite partners this morning and she was telling me about a recent decision in which our firm, Moss Adams, was involved.

  • All competitors were imminently qualified;
  • Each had submitted a professional proposal;
  • Each presented with skill and style;
  • The teams were stocked with talent;
  • The interaction with the client was strong;
  • Pricing was spot on;

Our team left the meeting feeling very good about our chances. So the subsequent news that we had lost was met with great disappointment. What had gone wrong? In debriefing with the client, we learned that the winner did one thing that no one else did. They expressed desire for the business and then simply asked for it. The client relayed that the conversation went something like: You’ve seen our capabilities and met our people. We’ve taken the time to get an initial impression of your company and we are convinced that we are the firm for you. We want your business. May we have it?

That struck my memory chords and an old admonition came to mind: The biggest mistake a sales person makes is not asking for the business. We spend a lot of time in training, getting prepared, meeting with the prospect or client, following up, writing proposals and so on. All of those activities are within our control. And we lose control when we passively let the decision rest with the prospect. When we actively seek the decision, particularly right at the end of an interaction (and when we most need control) we increase our chances of winning. People want to do business with others who want to do business with them—and until we express that actively, neither party is sure of the potential relationship.

I hear it now. “Whoa, Scott, that is aggressive. That is pushy. You promised me that sales was not about being pushy.” I did promise and I still do. Aggressiveness is taking away another’s right. Assertiveness is standing up for your own rights. If you have done your homework and are thoroughly prepared in all aspects of selling, then you have earned the right to ask for the business.

You gotta ask!

As a side, if you do not already know Mr. Jensen I recommend reaching out. His presentation at AAM National this year was excellent, accurate and full of best practices. You can find out more information about Scott by visiting his LinkedIn profile.em>


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