In an ideal world, every prospective client would be enthusiastic about signing up, getting started, and paying your first invoice. Unfortunately, it’s rarely that smooth. Before they’re ready to pull the trigger, many prospects raise objections about the service and whether it’s right for them.
You can’t avoid these objections, but with a little foresight, you can prepare for them. Armed with the right responses, you can make prospects feel comfortable about hiring you as their accounting solutions provider.
In this article, we are going to explain the top objections that prospective clients make before they are willing to hire you for their accounting needs. We will also help you formulate a response to each objection.Armed with the right responses to their objections, you can make prospects feel comfortable about hiring you as their accounting solutions provider. Click To Tweet
Objection #1: “Your fee is more than I expected.”
In most cases, clients make this objection because they don’t know how much quality accounting services are supposed to cost. They haven’t priced the market or asked their colleagues what they pay.
First, make sure you are both talking about the same kinds of services. If they’re looking for once-a-year tax preparation but your number includes monthly bookkeeping, sure, you’re going to be far more than they expect. Ask them to tell you exactly what services they’re looking for so you can build an accurate estimate.
Next, break down exactly what the client gets for your fees. Explain each service and their benefits.
If the prospective client’s price expectation is only slightly lower, look for ways to tweak your service to meet their needs. For instance, you might drop an unnecessary convenience service (like drop offs or pick ups) to get the fee where they need it.
Finally, don’t be afraid to hold your ground. If your services are priced in line with the value you provide and the local rates, don’t feel pressured to drop your price just because a prospect balks. It’s okay to walk away from a prospect who doesn’t want to pay your worth.
Objection #2: “We can do it ourselves.”
Some clients will insist they can reduce their expenses by handling some of their accounting tasks in house. They will use this fact as leverage to convince you to lower your prices or to limit the number of services they buy from you.
Explain to the prospect that while the upfront cost is usually cheaper, managing your accounting in house is often more expensive for several reasons:
- Employees without accounting experience or education are likely to make costly mistakes.
- The prospect is forced to absorb the cost of any mistakes, whereas an outsourced accounting service will guarantee their work and cover the costs of their own mistakes.
- Employees who also have non-accounting responsibilities won’t give your finances the attention they deserve.
- Hiring a full-time accountant is typically more expensive than outsourcing accounting services.
Most importantly, focus on value. Tell them that even if you are more expensive than handling it in-house, you can provide more value than anyone on their team by completing tasks on time, finding ways to save money, and giving them more actionable information.
Objection #3: “Do you offer X service?”
This is more like a question than an objection, but it signifies the prospect’s disappointment in your ability to meet their needs. If you don’t offer an accounting service they need, there’s a strong chance they will find another provider.
Obviously, you can’t do everything. There are going to be some services you can’t or aren’t willing to provide. But this doesn’t mean you should send the prospect off to one of your competitors. You can still service new accounts even if you don’t provide every service they need.
Create some strategic partnerships with other providers of accounting services to help meet your customers needs. For example, if you don’t like to prepare taxes, outsource tax preparation to another accountant. In exchange, ask them to send you their bookkeeping work. If you create enough partnerships, you can “offer” any service.
Keep in mind, however, that managing these partnerships and outsourcing tasks and projects comes with its own time cost. So you’ll need to mark up the cost of those services when you bill your client just to break even. For instance, if a partner charges you $500 to prepare taxes for your client, you may need to bill the client $550 to cover the time you spent managing it.
Objection #4: “Can’t I just use QuickBooks?”
The implication here is that your entire job boils down to data entry and that software is doing all the work. While it’s true that you use accounting software (it might even be QuickBooks), there’s obviously more to it than that.
Cases like these arise because the prospective client doesn’t understand the value of accounting. He doesn’t know what you do or what he’ll get from it. Someone may have told him “You need an accountant,” but he doesn’t really know why, other than the fact that his peer business owners all have one.
Instead of being offended, use this as an opportunity to educate the prospective client about what you do and why it’s valuable to him. Show him examples of the tasks you complete and the reports you produce weekly, monthly, and yearly. Show him how your use of QuickBooks is quite different than how he would use it.
And if you do use QuickBooks, point out how that isn’t a bad thing. QuickBooks is a quality tool that integrates with lots of other tools, so it’s quite valuable.
Objection #5: “I’ll have to think about this.”
This objection is frustrating because it doesn’t tell you much of anything. There’s something preventing the prospect from closing the deal today, but they won’t reveal it to you. There could be a specific objection they aren’t revealing (such as, “Their reports don’t look professional”) or something more personal (such as, “I’m comfortable with my current provider”).
In order to address this objection, you have to ask some clever questions to probe deeply. Get them to open up to you about the core of their problem. If it’s something you can solve, offer a solution. If it’s something you can’t solve directly, it often helps to just listen and offer friendly advice. Sometimes people get over their problems when they say them aloud.
Objective #6: “I don’t see the value in that.”
In many cases, you’ll propose a service to clients who immediately shake their head. They’ll wonder why you would propose such a thing when they’ve made this far without it. For instance, you might see this when you offer a “tax advisory” service that’s intangible, but quite valuable.
This objection might also rear its head as “I definitely don’t need that,” “That doesn’t apply to me,” or the less-than-polite, “Don’t try to sell me things I don’t need!” However it appears, the client doesn’t want to pay for something when they can’t see its value.
Your response to this objection is simple: Demonstrate its value. If you think the client needs tax advisory, show them the mistakes you think they’re already making. Use strong terms they would understand, such as “I think you paid $2,000 more in taxes than you should have last year.”
Of course, this isn’t to say that you need to force prospects into services they don’t believe they need. Don’t push too hard or you’ll risk losing the sale. You can always offer again in the future.
We’ve laid out the most common objections potential clients have about hiring accounting services, but this list certainly isn’t exhaustive. You may regularly hear other objections from prospective clients, depending on the nature of your service and the types of clients you serve.
If a prospect makes an objection, there’s a good chance it will come up again at some point in the future. Create a reasonable answer to the objection and store it with your other sales documentation so you can access it when it comes up again. Include any notes, statistics, data points, resources, or anecdotes that will support your response. Over time, you’ll develop an actionable “swipe file” of sales responses that will help you sign more accounts.