Pricing can be a daunting topic. When you talk to your clients about your prices, it may feel like you’re tasked with having to sell yourself and your services. Which may feel uncomfortable for you.
In many ways you are selling yourself. But you can feel a lot more confident about this once you take some time to better get to know your firm's value and what support you offer your clients and their business.
Here’s five top tips to help you confidently tackle those pricing conversations. And how you can successfully tailor the conversation to better sell your value and grow your firm.
Five tips to guide your pricing conversations
1. Best understand what your client needs
The first top tip to nailing your pricing conversations is to get into the mind of your client. Thinking about how they’re feeling, the position they're in and what they really need from you.
This can help you knuckle down on what value you need to offer and how to spin the conversation to help them value the price you're offering.
Ask your clients things like, “What is your current pain?” The Journal of Accountancy states “we should spend time talking to them about opportunities that we can help them pursue. Ask them what growth plans they have. Ask them “if price wasn’t an issue, what role would you want us to play in your business?”
Getting to grips with how they perceive value, can help you tailor your approach to best communicate the service you provide. Whilst also giving you insight into how you can help them, what they expect from you and what pricing strategy would best suit.
This simple first step opens the door to a more successful approach to a pricing conversation. Making the client feel like you better understand them and what they need. And encouraging them to look at price as less of a monetary loss and more of an opportunity for growth and support.
2. Know the ins and outs of your pricing strategy
One of the most important tips before you enter any pricing conversation with your clients, is to confidently know your strategy. What prices you offer, why you offer these prices and how these prices work.
Research found that often accountants don’t confidently know their prices, often leaving initial conversations with “let me go away and think about it, and I’ll send over a proposal.”
This can suggest to clients a lack of a definitive and informed approach to the prices you set. Often causing clients to feel less comfortable with the cost at hand. They may think, “how was this price decided upon?”, “what prices do other clients get offered?”
Try entering pricing discussions with clear rates which can be explained confidently. Encouraging the client to feel at ease and trust the proposition.
With less than half of accountants feeling confident about pricing non-compliance services, we’ve got you covered. Read our article on how to price your advisory services, to learn more about the different methods you can consider when deciding upon your strategy.
3. Communicate your value proposition
We’ve touched on the importance of tailoring your value proposition to the needs of your clients, supporting their objectives and being confident in your own skills to do that.
Yet, being able to successfully communicate this directly to clients in your meetings - is just as important.
Using structured processes to support the delivery of your pricing message can be both straightforward and time-saving but also stress-relieving. You’ll have a one-stop process in place, which is both clear for you and your clients.
Go Proposal and Ignition are two online platforms that help accountants with this. Offering easy access to highly professional proposals and revenewals, instantly and effortlessly. Helping you to prepare impressive documents that are easy to sign and easy to understand.
Having set out, easy-to-access proposals and pricing discussions mapped out can help you have transparent pricing discussions in your client meetings.
Go Proposal states “pricing must be logical, transparent and fair” where accountants using it, believe in it. And transparent so that the clients receiving it understand it.
It’s also good to remember to give your clients control in your pricing discussions - if your fees initially appear to exceed their budget, consider how you could adjust what you offer.
Provide two or three options which you’re happy with and allow the client to make the decision which suits them best. For example, if the outcome is uncertain (such as a funding assignment or the acquisition of a company) would they prefer lower fixed fees or higher contingent fees, or a combination (subject to the rules around audit clients).
Help your client understand the price at hand. If the price is too expensive - do they want monthly meetings or would quarterly or a telephone call suffice, cutting down travelling time, for instance.
4. Be patient and make time to answer questions
Part of successfully communicating your service cost is patience. Making sure you're willing and open to take any questions and offer reassurance to your clients in regards to what your prices are and why they’re set the way they are.
Often small businesses are conscious of costs to their business - which is very likely heightened due to the socio-economic factors they are currently facing including rising energy costs, supply chain delays and so on.
Listen to their concerns and help them see the benefits of what you can provide them. In fact, we surveyed small business leaders and found 60% were planning to engage with a mentor or coach this year. Offering advisory support and reassurance here can show the level of support you can provide as part of your service.
A great way to humanise the price for your clients can be to offer case studies from your previous clients. To show how your service can really have an impact on a businesses ability to grow healthier and reach the goals they strive for.
5. Confirm in writing as soon as possible
Our final tip for you is to encourage you to follow up pricing discussions swiftly. Make sure you leave your client conversations and promptly send across your agreed final proposal and terms of engagement in a follow-up email.
Using electronic signing software such as docusign means that the documents are easy to share and simple to return. In fact, your client may sign it on their phone before they leave the meeting!
Clear and confident pricing
Clear and confident pricing is key to your success and ability to grow. It’s true what Go proposal say “you’re not an accountant or a bookkeeper or a firm or a practice. You’re a business. And the primary function of a business is to make money”.
By having good pricing in place and confident conversations that both advise and explain costs to your clients, you’ll not only secure your own firm's success but also build quality client relationships built on trust and efficiency moving forward.