This morning my business partner, Rob Nixon, and I ran a workshop with 10 of our coachingclub firms on the language of the sale. We covered off five scenarios where using the right language can reap rewards (for you AND your clients) and where using the wrong language – typically, knee jerk responses that we offer too often – can see you leaving significant amounts of money on the table, whilst in the process under-servicing your clients. Here are three of the scenarios:
Scenario 1: You (the accountant) have set up a meeting with your client. You have no plans to charge for the meeting but the client is suspicious. ‘What’s this all about? What is it going to cost me?’
Wrong language: ‘Erm…I’m sorry, we should have let you know that before. It’s a free meeting. I just wanted to make sure that everything was covered off.’
Correct language: ‘We’ve implemented a policy to meet with our best business clients to visit them at least three times a year at no cost. Our goal is to help you understand the potential in your business and assist you in setting ambitious yet achievable goals and objectives. So tell me, where would you like your business to be in three years’ time?’
Scenario 2: You have identified that a client has very seasonal cash flow and feel that a working cash flow and budget would benefit the client.
Wrong language: We have bought some new software and can create a cash flow that will help you
Correct language: I’m conscious of the fact that your business is very seasonal. How easy does that make it to manage your cash flow? Do you know the impact on your cash flow of reducing your accounts receivable days by 10 days? One thing we notice with our clients is that revenue growth can put strain on cash flow. Would you be interested in taking a look at the impact of that and looking at some sensitivity analysis? If we could help you smooth out the seasonality of your cash flow so that you have more certainty around your cash inflows and outflows, what impact would that have on you and your business?
Scenario 3: You have opened a new office in a smaller town 20km from where you are based. You have secured a meeting with one of the more influential business people in the new town. She is sceptical as to why she should work with you.
Wrong language: We can do it cheaper.
Correct language: We are not the cheapest but there is a reason for that. The way we work is more in depth than a traditional accountant. Because we have access to more resources, we are able to offer a range of additional services that add significant value to our clients. Would you like to explore how that external perspective might help you?
When I say ‘correct’ language, take the concept and then apply your style to it. Focus on your client and how you can help them; constantly work on your language and practice it. The more you do this, the better you will get and the more value you will add to your clients’ business and your own.
Do this simple calculation:
Incremental amount currently being left on the table per business client group because of sub-optimal language x number of business client groups = annual $ left on the table. Then multiply that number by the number of years you have run your business. You can never get that money back – but you can start today to make sure the issue does not blow out any further.
PS: Speaking of language, Rob posted a blog this morning on language to use in engagement letters which will help you as well – check it out here: http://bit.ly/r44fV1.