Sales Secrets for the Phone and In Person (Part 2):
Close The Sale
Make sure you “ask for the order” and close the sale!
This is such a simple thing and there is NO high pressure about it! Most tax professionals don’t use any of the regular, “proven to work of over time” sales closes at all.
Four basic sales closes we use are: ASSUMPTIVE, ALTERNATIVE, “PUPPY DOG” and the RISK REVERSAL close.
- First, let’s talk about the close that “assume” the sale. This is an easy one. You just assume every person who ever calls your office wants to do business with you. (There’s no doubt about it in your mind or even in your voice tone.)
Many times the prospect just goes right along with you as you “walk them right into doing business with you” instead of someone else. (It just seems like the right thing to do since you are so confident about it.)
The language choices you use change from words like “if” you come to our office to “when” you come to our office etc. Another example of assuming the sale would be, “Our parking lot can get full sometimes so when you come today, look for spaces across the street, too.” Or, “By the way, my name is Karen. When you come in ask for me and I’ll get you one of those discount coupons I was telling you about.”
- The alternative close is simply giving your prospect two or three choices. You don’t care which one they pick as long as they choose one of the alternatives. (Choosing one of your choices means, you’ve made the sale!)
We used this close more when we took appointments for our “white collar” target clients. After we had qualified them over the phone and given then the specific reasons why we are their best option to have their taxes prepared, we tried the alternative close on them.
“Now Mr. Jones, it sounds like you need some professional help with your taxes this year. Did you want to try and come in tomorrow or is a Saturday appointment better for you?” Another example would be, “Mr. Jones, we are really busy today. Did you want to wait about a half an hour in our lobby this afternoon, or will setting up an appointment later on in the week be better for your schedule?”
- The “puppy dog” close works mostly when you are first starting out and you don’t have a lot of clients yet. You can make a bold promise in your advertising and then back it up with this kind of close.
Your ad says, “I guarantee your satisfaction with my tax services or your money back!” And when the phone rings you can “puppy dog” close them by saying, “Look, I’ll prepare your taxes for you up front and I’ll bill you in 30 days. If you don’t like my services, I don’t want you to pay me!” (It’s effective, especially if you need clients.)
- And finally, the risk reversal close. (One of my favorites.) We usually used this right up front in our advertising. We’d run a headline that says, “I guarantee you’ll be satisfied with my tax services or I’ll give you all your money back, plus a $20 bill for your time and trouble!”
This reverses all the risk right onto me. So the prospect calls on the phone and practically reads my headline back to me and I say yes, you don’t have anything to lose and $20 bucks to gain! (Do you want to come into my office today or is tomorrow better?) ** That’s assuming the sale and giving an alternative close at the same time!
Anyway, use what works best for you, just USE a close when you are selling your prospects on using you as their tax professional!
A few more “quick tip” sales techniques to use in your tax office
There are many hundreds (maybe thousands) of sales techniques out there in the sales world for you to “take” and apply to your tax business. Here are a few of my favorites that we used in our tax offices.
* Make your tax office “pleasurable” for your clients. You have heard of the “WOW Experience” Tom Peters has made famous. Well, along those same lines try to make your office as pleasant an experience as possible.
Example: A DVD/TV in the lobby for kids to watch videos. Offer snacks, candy or drinks for clients having to wait. Offer discount coupons from area merchants within walking distance from your office. Those clients having to wait over 40 minutes can go shop and “kill some time” and not lose their place in line. We set up deals with our “business neighbors” before tax season starts.
* Prepare a list of “negative objections” before your client uses them. You should know ahead of time what possible objections your target client might have about some of the services you offer. “Play the devil’s advocate” with your own tax office. Why? Because you want to have your answers ready to overcome the objections when they come up.
Example: Over the phone, the prospect says, “Your prices sound high.” You can overcome the objection by saying, “We will never be the lowest price in town, but I’ll guarantee you we are cheaper than H & R Block or any CPA in town.”
* Keep all of your SALES MESSAGES as simple as possible. Clarity is important. Being easily understood will help you sell more tax services. Whatever you do, DON’T GO INTO A LONG DRAWN OUT, COMPLICATED “SPEECH” EXPLAINING YOUR TAX SERVICES. Keep your selling phrases short and sweet while you are on the phone or with a client in person.
Example: Say, “We prepare MOST tax returns in the same day.” Instead of saying, “We prepare some tax returns while our clients wait, others if they are more complicated take longer and we have to get them reviewed etc. Oh, and if you don’t have all your information ready, well we won’t be able to finish the return in one day and …” (In the beginning when you are trying to SELL someone to use your services, stick to your “selling script.” You can always explain the details later once the person is SOLD on you being their tax preparer.) I’ve found this area is consistently one of H & R Block’s biggest “Achilles’ Heels.” Take advantage where appropriate.
* Be “down-to-earth” as you provide “professional” services. Nobody likes dealing with a “know-it-all, ego on wheels!” Just be yourself with your clients. Down to earth and being a REGULAR person is good when you are preparing someone’s tax return. Being a “regular guy” that happens to know a lot about taxes is a good selling position to be in.
Example: Look at how well Dave Thomas (former spokesperson for Wendy’s) did. His low key, regular guy approach sold a lot of hamburgers! Don’t be a “stuffy and stiff” tax professional. Loosen up and make a friend while you are preparing the return!
These are just a few extra sales techniques we used to increase our business while talking on the phone or speaking with a client in person. We used them because they consistently helped us prepare more tax returns than our competition down the street!
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.