For firm owners who are lucky enough to have a great closer (or multiple closers) on staff, it’s likely that they’ve mastered the sales cycle. However, for many accounting professionals, the simple truth is that selling is not part of their DNA and just the thought of asking for business can be overwhelming.
Even for a business development veteran like Martha, partner at Klein, Rowe, & Co (KRC), the time and persistence required to move prospects through the sales funnel to conversion is taxing. KRC partners agree that it’s time to look at the sales process through a new lens and redefine the firm’s current model.
Join Klein, Rowe & Co, our fictional case study firm, as they learn from our Automating Success webinar series. In each webinar, our thought leaders will share their expertise on how this firm might address those challenges. In each KRC follow-up, we'll share with you what our fictional firm has learned and the next steps they might take to reimagine their firm. Please note: our case study and follow-up articles are fictional and intended for entertainment and educational purposes only.
After attending this week’s Automating Success webinar, “Top strategies to earn commitments and close more business,” KRC partners went in with two key objectives: 1) to redefine the process of closing business and 2) to better understand the multi-tier actions (commitments) required to build a more effective business development process and close more business.
What KRC learned…
Right out of the gate, KRC partners felt a huge sense of relief by simply adopting a new perspective on what it means to close business. In the past, Martha followed an exceptionally aggressive model for selling. A typical sales process included initial contact via a networking event or email campaign, followed by frequent email and phone call follow-ups.
While this approach brought in new clients, there was always a sense of too much outbound selling versus building strong relationships. This often resulted in onboarding the wrong type of client—that is, those who did not fit KRC’s business model and, ultimately, churned out.
The partners now understand that “closing business” does not have a final end point. Rather, the process of closing is comprised of several elements, including:
- Securing commitments at multiple points—This means playing the long game by building relationships over time and earning commitments via offering helpful resources, collaborating to solve issues, sharing information and meeting timelines.
- Creating outcomes that win—The goal is to turn every interaction into an opportunity to inspire confidence. This assures potential clients that they are making the right choice by selecting KRC.
- Showing leadership that inspires—The objective is to further bolster prospective clients’ confidence by displaying quality leadership during each interaction. Leadership inspires confidence, and confidence moves relationships forward.
The partners also understand the importance of proper messaging and audience identification. This requires Martha and Martin to dig deeper into prospect data to identify key decision-makers and grasp their unique needs. From there, they can prepare messaging that resonates with decision-makers and sell their services with confidence and clarity. They can also better anticipate what questions the prospect might have and be prepared to respond effectively.
KRC action items…
The partners have worked very hard over the past several months, implementing big improvements that include adopting cloud-based technologies, restructuring pricing model, bulking up staff and refining the remote work culture. Today, they are focused on improving the business development model to help onboard ideal clients and stop the endless cycle of churn.
Walking away from this webinar, the partners have defined a few sound and actionable to-dos:
- Conduct an inventory of current clients and identify those who fit the firm’s model (ideal clients). This will serve as the model for the type of client the partners want to build relationships with.
- Conduct a pipeline review to identify which opportunities are prime for next commitments—and then move forward on building those relationships.
- Create a map of commitments for “hot leads” in the pipeline and identify what is needed to win the business—from messaging and defined timelines to clarity of services offered.
- Collaborate to create a script for the final “ask.” This will position the partners to tactfully ask for the business and get to the final close stage more quickly.
- Implement a closing-business review process. This includes careful analysis of process weaknesses and asking questions of prospects to gain insight into where the closing process can improve.
Check back regularly to learn how KRC is progressing. In the meantime, feel free to use any of the ideas listed above to help you earn more commitments and close more business.
Check back regularly to learn how KRC is progressing. In the meantime, feel free to use any of the ideas listed above to help rev up your firm’s marketing engine.
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