Sales Secrets for the Phone and In Person (Part 1):
Life is Selling
Nothing Happens Until You’re SELLING Something!
I will argue the point with some of my “non business minded” friends that “Life is selling … and everyone put on this earth uses some form of salesmanship every day.” (Some people just don’t buy into this idea.)
I say, look, you sell your kids on getting up and going to school. You sell your spouse on going out to eat at a nice restaurant this weekend. You sell your employees on taking good care of your clients. If you don’t think all of these things have some form of selling in them, then I guess I’m going to have to keep trying to “sell” you on this idea.
(Why? The more you understand that everything going on around you is happening because somebody SOLD something, the better off you will be “selling” yourself and your tax services.)
Salesmanship counts! Preparing a tax return is one thing. Selling yourself and your tax services as the “best thing since sliced bread” as you prepare the tax return is even better!
Your ability to SELL yourself is more important than actually knowing how to prepare a tax return. (I’m living proof of that fact.) And I’ll tell you upfront right now, our tax business in many cases is VERY AVERAGE at preparing tax returns, depending on the location and time of year you are talking about.
Yes, I will readily admit that probably MOST of the tax business owners in my Real Tax Business Success Membership group do a BETTER job than our tax business at actually preparing tax returns!
Why is this important? Because it proves my point again. Sales is more important than the actual technical skill (in our case, tax preparation) in a business, especially a service business! So this means, you the “skilled tax technician” need to get better at this whole “sales thing” or your tax business will never reach its full potential!
(Now I hope I’ve sold you on being a better salesperson in your tax office. If I haven’t keep reading.)
Answering the “INBOUND SALES CALL”
I personally think answering the phone PROPERLY in a tax office is one of the most important things you can do to increase sales in your business. I can point to numerous times when we have had the “right” person answering the phones in a tax office and just because we had one of our better “selling” employees on the phone, that particular office would see an extra “bump” in business that day.
The opposite is true too. I’ve seen our tax office have a “not so good” salesperson on the phone most of the day taking calls, and sure enough you could see it in our numbers at the end of the day. This is why we didn’t let ANYONE answer our phones unless they were a manager, key employee or they had been specifically trained to sell over the phone. (It is that important.)
What kind of person is best for answering the phone? Well, I like to start with people that like talking to other people (especially on the phone). If they enjoy “engaging” other people in dialog, they’ll usually do well at qualifying a prospect over the phone on the kind of services they are looking for, explaining why our tax business is a good option for the person and then using some simple closing technique. That’s all we are talking about. (It’s not rocket science.)
There are plenty of people out there that are just naturally good at “persuading” others to follow along with a simple “sales” presentation over the phone and asking them to come to our office and do business with us. (They might not know anything about taxes and that’s OK. You can find plenty for them to do other than the actual preparation of taxes.)
If the person answering your phones can LISTEN to what the other person is saying, ASK A QUALIFYING QUESTION and then CLOSE THEM, then you’ve got yourself an excellent phone sales person!
One bit of arithmetic for you to think about:
If the person you have answering the phone “sells” only three more new clients per day (that otherwise you use to not get), multiply that by the number of days in a tax season (about 90).
That means a phone person doing “just a little bit better” on the selling side can bring you an extra 270 new clients into your office. (Those kinds of numbers can take some tax businesses from an average year to an excellent year all because of the person on the phone.)
Am I selling you on finding the right person to answer your phones this year? I hope so.
(By the way, it shouldn’t be you. In the beginning it’s OK, but you need to be concentrating your efforts on overseeing “everything” not just one task like answering the phone.)
Chauncey Hutter Jr.
Tax Marketing Expert
Chauncey Hutter, Jr, is a best-selling author and leading marketing consultant and success coach to the tax industry. Mr. Hutter grew his father’s $50,000 per year tax preparation business to a multi-million dollar empire with 24 locations, 400+ employees and over 27,000 tax clients all coming from his marketing campaigns.