Accounting and bookkeeping professionals as well as lawyers have great difficulty identifying themselves as sales people. “It’s not professional to sell to your client” is a constant refrain. Yet, in the real world new customers and clients need to be ‘sold’ on using your services. Your professional service, your job, can be to help your clients stay in business by helping them make critical decisions. Business customers need help lodging their BAS and tax returns but which client puts their hand up to ask “I’d like to spend some my more with you, what else can I buy from you?”

The problem with selling to accounting and bookkeeping clients is that you are solving a known pain for them (compliance with the law), whereas selling usually involves convincing the client that they need to spend money on ‘optional’ extras.

Are you keeping up with your clients?

New technologies are transforming the way your clients work and, hence how you deliver your services. Selling is no longer an optional extra activity for the contemporary accounting or bookkeeping firm. With business customers well attuned to SaaS solutions and automation slashing the perceived value of bookkeeping services, the forward-looking professional had better immerse themselves into the upsell and the cross sell. Upselling and cross-selling have obvious benefits for any firm or practice, no matter what the professional: more revenue.

Upselling is encouraging the purchase of anything that would make the primary service level agreed upon more expensive. For example, you buy a computer with the basic storage and are ‘sold’ additional capacity, which is more expensive. Cross-selling is encouraging the purchase of anything in conjunction with the primary product. So you go to Officeworks and buy a printer and are sold another $80 pack of ink cartridges.

The art of the upsell

Upselling is selling; thus there is a mindset issue to come to terms with. Part of selling is accepting that rejection is not a personal affront, it’s more about timing. Upselling your services is about convincing your customer that your suggestions are for their benefit. Once you have success in that, you can master the art of upselling.
You are at an advantage as the bookkeeping professional: your clients trust you. It is incumbent on you to not offer suggestions of an upsell that’s completely out of left field – it could endanger their relationship with your firm.

Your suggestion has to fit the customer’s needs which can only be established by asking a series of questions that will give you an idea of your customer needs, be they improving the cash flow of the business, or offering training support in their transitioning to the cloud. Determine which of your services could help them, and offer an upsell. Transparency about pricing, service packages will build rapport with your customer — and could make it more likely that they purchase your upsell offer. It helps too, if you understand the industry they are in as there is nothing more compelling to a business owner than going for industry best practice.