3 mistakes accountants make in prospect meetings

By Susan Clegg, AVN marketing and content creator.

Are you making these mistakes in your prospect meetings?

You’re sitting down with a potential client – and they look like a perfect fit for you. But somehow, despite you explaining all about your services and giving them a fantastic sales pitch at the end, they walk away and don’t come back.

What went wrong?

Here are 3 big mistakes accountants make in prospect meetings.

Mistake 1: Not asking the right questions

Getting to know your prospect is crucial. To really understand what they’re looking for, you have to go beyond the standard questions like their business entity and if their tax returns are up to date.

After all, if you don’t understand what they want and the challenges they’re facing, how can you offer the right solutions?

The key is to dig deep with some searching open-ended questions. Find out what they want to achieve in their business, what the pain points are, what the number one challenge is that they want to resolve.

Prepare your questions ahead of the meeting and research the business as much as possible. Make sure all your questions are designed to help you get clarity on what your prospect needs

You can’t offer a solution until you know what the problem is.

Which brings us on to …

Mistake 2: Talking instead of listening

You know how frustrating it is to be in a meeting where you can’t get a word in edgeways. A lot of accountants approach prospect meetings with the attitude of ‘I need to tell them how brilliant we are and all about our credentials and the background to our firm, then they’re bound to say yes.’

That won’t win you new business.

Focus on them, not you. When you ask a question, really listen to the answer; don’t just jump in with the next thing you want to say.

And don’t be afraid of silence. If you ask a question and they don’t respond immediately, the temptation is to keep talking – silence makes us feel uncomfortable. But those silences mean your prospect is thinking deeply about what you’ve said and this is often the point when they will really open up to you.

Mistake 3: Trying to sell

It sounds wrong, doesn’t it? This is a sales meeting after all. But – as with the points above – if you’re trying to sell, you’re focusing on you, not your prospect.

If you feel like you’re being too ‘salesy’ in a meeting, you can be sure your prospect is feeling that way too. And that’s a sure-fire way to put them off.

When you explore their issues in depth and show them a way to solve their problems, they will want to buy from you. You won’t have to sell.

One final point – don’t convert at all costs. If the prospect isn’t right for your firm, don’t take them on. Do you really want a client who’s only interested in the lowest price or who’s looking for lots of free advice? They won’t be profitable and they’ll take up more time and energy than they’re worth.


For more tips and resources on winning more of your ideal clients, go to the AVN KnowHow Hub.