When you’re sitting face to face with a prospective client, there comes a moment when you have to actually ask the prospect for their business. In old school sales lingo, this moment is referred to as closing the sale.
This is an important moment for you. This is the moment when you either obtain revenue, or you don’t. More importantly, however, this is the moment when your prospect is either going to have their problem solved, or not.
See what I did there?
This is a simple, yet powerful, mental shift that all tax professionals need to make. The prospect wouldn’t be sitting across from you (or be on the phone with you) if they didn’t have a problem that needed to be solved. Remember, the vast majority of buying decisions are more or less emotional decisions, and we humans are usually trying to accomplish one of two things: Avoid pain or obtain pleasure.
For us, we tend to work from the avoid pain side of the equation. Anything having to do with taxes or the IRS is viewed as a major source of pain within our society, and we should feel grateful for that, because it’s what keeps us in business.
So in a sales closing situation, you must have the attitude that you’re helping the taxpayer to reduce pain in their life. You are there to provide a valuable service that they can’t provide for themselves, because it’s not their area of expertise. That’s why they’re talking to you, because you are the expert. That makes you very valuable to your prospects and clients.
Making this attitude shift is powerful because it helps to overcome any shyness you may have about quoting your fee and asking for money. Ultimately, that’s the closing moment for us: Asking somebody for money. And since we don’t eat if we don’t get paid, this is a pretty big deal.
So that’s sales closing tip #1 for today: Know that you’re solving a problem for somebody, making their life easier, and that you are worth your fee.
That attitude shift is something you might have to work on. If not, awesome! If so, it doesn’t hurt to do daily affirmations in which you remind yourself that you are a problem solver, you’re helping people, and you’re worth every dime they pay you (actually, you’re worth far more — see my article the other about raising fees).
For tip #2, let’s move outside of our own heads, and into how we actually talk to our prospects. In any sales situation, the end goal is to obtain agreement.
What do I mean by this? You want your prospect to say yes to things. You want them to agree with you.
You want them to fully understand the problem that they’re in, and how you’re going to help, right?
You want your prospect to be comfortable working with you, and know that they are getting amazing value for their money, don’t you?
After engaging your services, you should make every effort to deliver the best possible service to your client, shouldn’t you?
I’m sure you get the idea. 🙂 In sales parlance, these are called tie-downs. The purpose of a tie-down is to put your prospect into an “agreement” frame of mind.
When we’re doing anything complex with a client, such as tax planning, tax debt resolution, audit defense, etc., there are a lot of moving parts. During the initial consultation, we’re going to be asking them a LOT of questions — quite personal, probing questions, in fact. Getting people comfortable, and in an agreement mode, is helpful for putting them at ease, making the interaction flow smoother, and helping the prospect put the pain of this problem behind them (by hiring YOU).
Here are some additional examples of sales tie-downs:
Does that make sense?
Are you following me so far?
That sounds reasonable, right?
Start inserting tie-downs into your consultation, at appropriate points, for all your services. Don’t force them, of course, but insert them naturally where it makes sense to do so. What you’ll discover is that you hear a lot more “yes” answers from prospects, the interaction is more comfortable for both of you, and it really makes closing the sale a lot easier and less stressful for you.