How to pre-qualify clients and avoid time wasters

value pricing Oct 08, 2019

You know those bad clients that waste your time when you meet with them? Everyone has them.

Not all clients are good clients. Some are great, and some are terrible. Your time is precious, you shouldn’t be wasting it on bad clients. I have three tips for avoiding those time wasters by pre-qualifying them.

You can watch the video here.

#1 - Position yourself

It’s really important that you position yourself correctly so that you only attract appropriate clients who are going to be genuinely interested in your services.

Consider how you position yourself on your website.

What type of firm are you? What type of clients do you want? Put that on your website.

#2 - Customer Intake Form

If somebody wants to meet with you because they are looking to change their accounting professional, then a great tool that some very switched on firms use is to ask people to fill in a questionnaire first.

This could be on your website, or through something like SurveyMonkey.

The client has to complete that questionnaire before you meet with them. You can ask them questions to understand what they are looking for. From their responses you can determine whether they seem like the right type of client for your business.

Are they just looking for low level compliance work, or do they value an accounting professional who can help them save tax, increase their profit and grow their business.

#3 - Initial Consultation Fee

Most accounting firms, accountants and bookkeepers, offer a ‘Free Initial Consultation’ on their website.

There are a couple of problems with this.

The first is the word free. People don’t value what they get for free, so they don’t see any value in your meeting.

The second is the fact that if you look at the majority of accounting and bookkeeping firms’ websites, they all say ‘Free Initial Consultation’. If everyone says the same thing, nothing is making you stand out - nothing differentiates you from other businesses.

Some of the best firms that I work with now charge a fee for their initial consultation. They give it a nice name, and generate a perception of value with a price.

The is the most effective pre-qualification process because if someone is not willing to pay you a couple of hundred dollars to have a meeting with you they are likely to be the wrong client. They are probably looking for a cheap accountant.

You may be thinking ‘Is there enough value in my initial consultation to charge for it?’

I know there is.

As a profession we want to give massive value. We want to help our clients, we want to impress them with our abilities. 

When I first started my own accounting firm in the 90s, I was giving away so much value for free. But people don’t value what they get for free. When I explained the value and started charging, most were happy to pay for such valuable services.

If you need more help, I run an online monthly mentoring session with a different topic every month. You can attend and ask me questions which I will answer live. Register here and I’ll send you an invitation to the next session.

And if you would like to join a community of like-minded accounting professionals learning to price more effectively and confidently, you can join my Facebook Support Group here.

Wishing you every success on your pricing journey.

Mark Wickersham

Chartered Accountant, Public Speaker, and Author of Amazon #1 Best Seller “Effective Pricing for Accountants”

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