People Buy on Emotion, and Justify Rationally
Dale Carnegie may have been the first person to say that people buy on emotion by saying "When dealing with people, let us remember, we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity."
Over past few decades, many behavioral economists and marketing guru's have been saying that we do buy emotionally, and then subsequently rationalize our purchase decision. The challenge is knowing how to utilize the proper techniques to connect with your prospects in a fashion that captivates their emotional desires and compels them to do business with you and your firm.
To become a successful rain maker for your accounting practice, you have to differentiate yourself from the competition and tap into your prospects pain points and emotional needs. Marketing and sales gurus refer to this technique as need-based selling, solution selling, and/or customer centric selling. In a nutshell, the rain maker focuses on the needs of the prospect by asking probing questions, listening intently to the prospects responses while showing empathy with the prospects pain, and then connecting the benefits of your firm's services to alleviate their pain while articulating the benefits (e.g., less stress, fewer headaches, ROI, etc.). When done effectively, the accountant will be able to evolve towards consultative selling by establishing trust earlier in the process.
Here are several tips for deploying this approach so you can become more effective generating new business:
- Treat the initial dialogue with the prospect more like an interview - Your initial meeting should be focused on understanding their business situation, listening more than talking, and then illustrating how your firm is unique and can eliminate the pains that they've been experiencing. With the right questions, many prospects will walk right into the sale.
- Conversational - Although you've probably got a script and process for selling, approach your prospect in a conversational tone. Seek to understand before trying to be understood.
- Connect the attributes of your service to benefits - Rather than just focusing on the types of services you offer, it is important to paint them a picture which explains what's in it for them. Whether those benefits are lower taxes for a more comfortable lifestyle, outsourcing their accounting so they have fewer employees to manage, or reducing the risk of an IRS audit, which can be expensive, time consuming and fraught with sleepless nights.
- Offer solutions which save them time - Assume your customers are busy like you are during tax season. Offer them solutions to work with your practice virtually and avoid the hassles of making appointments to meet with you.
About the Author
Hugh Duffy is co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer for Build Your Firm, a leading practice development firm dedicated to the accounting industry. Build Your Firm works with small accounting firms providing accounting marketing, practice management and website development services. Hugh has over twenty five years of marketing experience and holds an MBA degree in Marketing from the University of Rochester.