When it comes to selling things, the human tendency to package can make life easier. When you’re marketing yourself and trying to sign on new clients, you’ll want to take full advantage of aspect of human psychology. Bundle services together and suddenly a new client will be bringing you as much business as two or three clients in the past.
When it comes to buying things, packages are attractive because they seem to simplify the client’s life. If an insurance company offers me a package deal on car insurance, home owner’s insurance, and life insurance, suddenly I have so many fewer decisions to make–and I don’t have to deal with three different insurance agents. I might save some money, but even if I don’t, I save aggravation and time, and most people value their time as much as their money. Costco or BJ’s Club are good examples of packaging in the retail world, and the number of people that flock to these giant stores indicate the popularity of packaging. Fast food places have the value meal, which is a package of a sandwich, fries and a drink.
What is also important is to offer different packages, i.e. to give the client options. When I first started out, I offered piecemeal services at standard rates. Then I realized that clients work in a different way. Many people like options. They don’t want to be “forced” into taking something that doesn’t suit them. They want the option of small, medium and large. Going to the example I gave of the restaurant, they have a small value meal, medium or large.
“Small, medium, or large” doesn’t quite work for accounting services. The principle I use to distinguish between levels of service is this: the more accessibility to me and to my staff a package offers the client, the higher the fees. So while we can custom tailor the service package to fit their needs, nonetheless the services are packaged based on frequency.
In addition to packaging your services, you should consider cross-selling. Many years ago I learnt while attending a seminar by the legendary marketer Jay Abrahams that there are 3 ways to grow your practice:
1) Increase number of new clients
2) Increase the fees paid by each client
3) Increase the frequency of purchase or sell the same client more services
Cross selling is the way the CPA practitioner increases the frequency of purchase.
When you have a relationship with the client, you can offer them other services that will help the client. How does one go about finding out the services that your clients need? Not to oversimplify it, but really, the best way to find out is by asking. We recently conducted a survey and we called up most of my business clients to ask them how we were scoring and what else we could do that could help them. It’s really very instructive to hear the clients’ perspective on things. I have also found this to be one of the best ways to find out other services we should be providing.
Here’s a partial list of additional services to offer:
* Financial planning or wealth management services
* QuickBooks consulting – Outsourced accounting (A couple of years, we packaged our QuickBooks consulting services as either a 10-hour package or a 20-hour package, to be used in one year.)
* Audit protection
* Business consulting
* Business valuation services
* Payroll services
* Controllership services
Using this list as a starting point, talk to your clients and find out what services they need that you could offer. Specialize in what your target clients want, and you’re just about certain to grow your practice.