How to overcome client hesitation when it comes to advisory services

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The difference between offering advisory services and doing a tax return is simple for tax pros: One service they are paid to give clients something clients want, they sometimes don’t know it, and the latter is compliance work that clients have no choice but to complete.

When it comes to offering advisory services to your clients, new and old, it’s essential to start at step one: What does the client want?

Tax professionals will find most clients want to reach financial goals they set for themselves and are interested in more guidance from their tax pros to help achieve it. The caveat comes when clients voice they want additional services at the same low price of simply filing their taxes. So where should tax pros go from here?

Clients need to see the facts as it relates to their lives. Work on pulling together a plan that would quantify the results you can provide as it relates to their small business or financial trajectory. When clients are able to see the money saved or the goal achieved because of advisory services, they will most likely pay the fee to see the return on their investment.

Everything is relative, and if you show your clients that in the grand scheme of things the money they spend on advisory services isn’t expensive compared to the money you will save them, you have successfully advocated for your expertise in a way they can see the financial win.

After you understand your clients’ perspective, it’s time to shift your mindset from reactionary to proactive. Instead of only contacting them once a year for their tax return, start implementing a subscription-based model, or setting a certain cadence for meetings to discuss a roadmap. When you put in the continuous effort to strengthen their financial state, they are able to see the value in what you provide. You have to train your clients to understand they can seek your advice when needed because you are up to date on their finances and have their goals top of mind.

On the topic of mindset, you also have to overcome fears that so many tax pros face—admitting you are worth it. You have seen the numbers and done the math, and you understand advisory services help so many clients in the long run. Now you have to sell not only your clients, but yourself on taking the leap. Use this time to educate yourself with all the resources available. Talk to other tax pros on how they made the shift, absorb all the knowledge you can, and remember you are the expert in this scenario.

How do you broach the topic in the first place? As I said before, clients need to see facts as it relates to them. Think about cell phones in today’s day and age. Never in my life did I think I would spend $1,000 on a phone, but that phone gives me everything I want: the ability to watch TV on the go, FaceTime family across the country, and navigate me to the next location. Suddenly, I’m willing to spend that money because it provides me with so much on one device.

If we can put advisory services in the same light as cell phones, clients are able to understand the long-term benefits of it. We can help people improve their profits and make better decisions at the end of the day, which makes the advisory service fee seem so small in comparison to what they’ll save and achieve.

Advisory services is not something clients will adapt overnight. It takes constant effort and proactiveness to showcase it’s worth it. Start by understanding what each client wants and help shift not only their mindset, but your mindset, too, in the process. It all starts with a conversation, so get working on what you’re going to say to help overcome your clients’ hesitation. Not all clients may want advisory services, but it’s up to you to identify the clients and show the benefits you provide  in the long-run for them and your practice.

Editor’s note: For more information on this topic, check out the AccounTrends podcast featuring Dominique Molina (If you listen on Google, click here). This article was originally published by the CPA Practice Advisor.

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