Accountants hate the hard sell, either to them or by them. However, if you are genuinely interested in helping clients and interested in what they want and need, a much more progressive and healthy approach is to see gaining a ‘yes’ as a natural professional process. This perspective enables us to avoid any hint of hard selling and yet still be highly focused upon helping clients. This way, you are able to maintain full integrity and at the same time, gain all the benefits of high quality ‘yes’ gathering. The approach I designed is called The AGREE Process:
A – ANTICIPATE your own specific clear outcomes.
G – GAIN rapport.
R – REACH agreement.
E – ENGAGE a match with your services.
E – ESTABLISH an agreement to the next step.
The most powerful element of this process is the anticipation of clear outcome and I suggest that before entering a meeting, write down your own personal prioritised clear and required outcomes. Never exceed five outcomes and always include, as a least attractive outcome, a ‘yes to a no.’ This is highly liberating and enables you to allow for the situation that there is no match between what the prospective client wants and needs and your own services. This enables you to avoid any possibility of hard-nosed coercive selling, but please note this would be your least desired personal priority!
Before progressing with any wants and needs establishment and particularly any potential matches, you must gain rapport and some level of trust and the higher the level of trust, the better your opportunity. Therefore, using questioning techniques you can establish the prospective client’s wants and needs with particular attention to their emotive wants. Please remember that ‘not wanting’ something is a ‘want’ and not a ‘need.’ It is important you summarise your findings and gain agreement to this with the client or prospective client.
When you engage a match of these wants and needs with your services you need to have a clear eye on your prioritised outcomes, as you want to aim high. Then it’s case of establishing the next steps, which enables you to engage the prospective client in the process and of course you have a ‘yes.’
No hard sell, but a professional close to ‘yes’!