If you’re a CPA who’s working on improving your marketing, and you’ve already made the time for marketing, positioned yourself as the expert, and packaged your services…and you have a steady stream of leads flowing in--the next step is “meeting with the prospect” and “selling” them on your service, right?

The good news is that closing the sale is actually very simple, when you know how to do it, without feeling pushy and without the prospective client feeling like you’re pushing them to sign on the dotted line.

I’ve been experimenting with the soft close over the last 7 years now on many hundreds of different prospects, and I’ve made every mistake in the book, most of which cost me potential clients. But along the way, I kept getting better and better at it, and started crafting a process that I now consider pretty reliable.

Here’s the process I have in place when a business prospect calls my office wanting to meet with me:

1) When the prospect calls, the admin person in the front office collects all their information on a preliminary interview sheet, including their contact information, how they heard about my firm, questions about their existing CPA relationship and the reason they want to meet with me.

2) Then the meeting is scheduled with me after 5-7 business days.

3) A packet of information is mailed to them before they meet with me. They receive the packet from me that contains several things: a sheet on the team members, special report or my book, testimonials, past newsletters…it’s a thick “shock and awe” packet of information. We also include a “confidential application” in the packet that they must complete.

4) The prospect comes to my office to meet with me. Keep in mind that no one likes to be sold, but everyone likes to buy. With that in mind, I ask the prospect how they heard of my firm. I ask to take a look at their completed application so I can get a better overview of their revenues, their goals, books they have read, etc.

I probe into their needs, what has lacked in their existing relationship with their CPA and why they are looking for a change in their CPAs, what are their major challenges, what are their long and short term growth plans?

All the while I am making notes. I take a brief look at their business and personal tax returns.

I am listening ninety percent of the time and only interjecting to encourage the prospect to dig deeper into their issues.  This is important; most CPAs go astray here, because they are not asking good questions and they are not attentively listening.

By engaging the prospect with good probing questions, you have differentiated yourself from the rest of the practitioners in your area. I use my notes to recap the list of things they need help on.

5) I briefly talk about what differentiates my firm from the rest and the service packages we offer and then I go into fees.

And differentiating my firm and me is important because when I come to the portion of my meeting when I talk about my fees, I don’t want the prospect to say “but this other CPA quoted me this.”  I have changed the playing field such that the services they will receive are perceived to be very different than what my competitors would offer.

6) I get the appropriate signatures and payment and my firm has now got a new business client.

7) After the client is signed up, I will briefly meet with my Senior Manager to hand off to her the client paperwork. She takes it from there. She will call the client two days later to officially welcome them to our CPA practice and schedule their orientation meeting two weeks later. In the meantime, the admin person will send them a fruit basket and a “welcome aboard” card. I am looking at this as a lifetime relationship and a strong referral source so I am prepared to invest in it from the get-go.

Good closing techniques are very important as the final step in converting a prospect into a client. The good news is that closing the sale is actually very simple when you follow the process I have identified in this article.

Salim Omar, CPA is a best selling author, thought leader and mentor for CPA firms. He is considered by many as THE “CPA Practice Coach” because he owns and runs a successful CPA practice so he understands what it takes to create and sustain a thriving firm. To learn how you you can transform your practice, go to www.CPAmarketingGenius.com.