Offering real solutions that benefit your tax prospects

Yesterday, we discussed the use of a Q&A session to gather information from your prospect that will allow you to offer concrete solutions. Today, we are going to discuss how to create that solution, and how to communicate the benefits of your solution to your prospect.

As we discussed in yesterday’s article, a tax debt always has an underlying cause. Through your Q&A session, you were able to identify that cause. It’s not uncommon for it to be something that is difficult for the prospect to talk about, especially when there is a family member involved. As a tax professional, once you understand the real problem, you are already several steps ahead of your prospect in regards to solutions. In most cases, your solution is going to consist of three components:

1. Fix the underlying problem.
2. Get into current compliance with tax laws.
3. Fix the tax debt.

Fixing the underlying problem is actually the most difficult. If it’s a family owned business and one employee/family member is embezzling money, that employee needs to be fired immediately and legal action taken in order to create a reasonable cause basis with the IRS. If the family is unwilling to take these measures, then there is actually very little lasting recourse for resolving the tax liability. If the problem is a complete lack of a bookkeeping system, then this can be easily remedied.

This starts to create what I call the problem -> solution-> benefit sales chain. Here is how that works:

1. With a thorough understanding of the prospect’s problem, you can now repeat the problem back to the prospect in a summarized form: “Based on what you’ve explained, the real issue seems to be….”

2. Repeating back the problem creates a segue into your solution: “Based on the issue at hand, my suggestion would be to….”

3. After briefly stating the big picture solution, you can then talk about the benefits of implementing the solution: “By doing this, you will then be able to…”

Why do you want to discuss the benefits to the client? Because, people don’t buy prospects or services. People buy what the product or service gets them. The old saying goes like this: Everybody’s favorite radio station is WII-FM, What’s In It For Me?

Keep in mind that your solution not only needs to meet the prospect’s need, but you need to sell based on the benefits your solution provides, not the features of your solution. As a tax resolution professional, I don’t sell IRS payment plans or settlements or penalty reductions. In reality, what I sell is “getting the monkey off your back”. I sell piece of mind and reduction in stress. In fact, more than anything else, I’m convinced that my clients pay me to do their worrying for them more so than they pay me to negotiate for them.

What is the difference between features and benefits? It is important to know these distinctions, since customers buy benefits, not features, and your solution provides a benefit that meets their need. That right there is the core principle of this post, by the way, so I’ll repeat it:

Based on the questions you ask to understand the customer’s need, you formulate a solution that provides the benefits that meet your customer’s need.

Here are some definitions.

Feature: What your product or service IS or DOES.
Benefits: What the feature GAINS your customer.

The features of tax preparation software include things such as having all the right forms, doing all the math, and filing electronically for you. But do you care about all this? No, of course not. What you care about are the benefits: The tax software takes something fairly complicated and makes it easy for you. What you GAIN is simplification…ease…accuracy. Those are the benefits.

The same holds true for tax resolution. What the client really wants is to not have to deal with the IRS. They don’t want the stress. They don’t want to wake up to their bank account being drained. They don’t want to have uncomfortable conversations with employees, customers, or anybody else. The benefit they are after is peace of mind. By hiring you, they are making the tax debt somebody else’s problem.

Hopefully, you now realize that you are selling benefits. Tomorrow, we’ll delve into some psychology and look at what makes people buy the things that they do, which is useful not only when you’re selling something, but when you’re being sold to yourself.