I see it all the time, well a lot of the time and it’s this:
‘First consultation is free’.
Is your Practice guilty of this? If so, STOP DOING IT!
Because I’m confident that this doesn’t get you many new clients, if any at all. Is it a marketing tactic you’ve been tracking? If so, what is your conversation ratio.
I’ve lost track of the number of Practice web sites that boldly display this offer.
Let me ask this:
When was the last time you went to a store with a sign in the window saying: ‘Your First purchase is free’.?
Even on the one in a billion chance you did, the question you’d have to ask yourself is ‘WHY?’.
What I have seen is a package of 3 or 4 products/services being offered for the price of 2 or 3 of those services. This is a valuable marketing tactic called ‘bundling’.
I’ve never seen a Barber or a Hairdresser or an Electrician offer free services so I wonder why are so many Accountants suffer under this false belief that it’s a good strategy (tactic) that is almost guaranteed to get you a string of ‘good clients’.
It makes no sense to me.
If a customer wants something that you offer for sale, you should expect them to pay for it. Anything else almost smacks of desperation.
‘What I have to offer is so undesirable and lacking in value that I’m going to give it away’.
Even the guy who comes to fix my washing machine or refrigerator charges me $95 up front which includes the first 15 mins of repair time. Nothing for free!
I need his help and he’s going to fix my problem so I’m happy to pay!
The Credible Alternative
What I advise Practitioners who enrol in our Business Advisor ‘Fast Track’ Programs to consider is, never offer a ‘free’ consultation. What I advise as an alternative is to offer a ‘free DEMONSTRATION’ and this is different.[social_warfare]
The reason it’s different is you are not giving away your valuable’ intellectual property but you are creating awareness of what value you offer a new client which may not already be provided to them by their current Accountant.
The ‘free consultation’ should in fact be a simple demonstration of your expertise and what value you bring to the table for your clients should they become one. Glossy brochures unnecessary. A whyte board or flip chart demonstration is more valuable in my experience e.g. how to calculate the Break-even Point of a business and why it’s an important number.
A prospect who takes you up on your offer is not really interested in your ‘free advice’. They are really interested in what you can do for them that will improve their present circumstances and which is not being provided by their current Accountant.
And once they know this and more than likely, if you’ve proven yourself (your value proposition) they’ll jump on board and move their affairs over to you and pay you for what you do.
It’s bit like going to a sports store or a jewellery store, you can see the merchandise and if you want it, you will have to pay for it!
What about referrals?
Simple, they’re different so you need a different strategy.
You will need a strategy that will reward the referred prospect and confirms the value of your clients recommendation to meet with you to ‘demonstrate‘ the expertise and value you currently provide to your clients and that they too can access this if they become a client.
And a monthly newsletter is unlikely to tip the scales in your favour. But maybe your eBook on the 4 ways a business can be valued and which one is most likely to be the one for them will have more appeal.
Then add them to your e-mail list to get invitations to your regular business webinar series.
These become ‘infomercials’ for your Practice. Tell your audience what makes a business successful or mechanisms that can be used to minimise ‘tax payable’ and then offer your $900 consultation (with defined outcome) for $600.
Important Note: You’re giving away $300 (saving not discount) to hopefully secure a new client with a lifetime value of say $100,000.
Get Set Up for Success
When they do this they are immediately showing a point of difference that most other Accountants can not.
Re-think your marketing strategy and demonstrate your value and once done successfully, your prospect (who will now be your client) will be happy to pay you for the value you bring to their financial and business affairs.