I recently read a very interesting article that was inspired by research from Columbia University. The research proved that choice can often paralyze people, leading to buyer apathy – doing nothing is easier! The study involved setting up a market stall on 2 separate days in the same location selling a variety of jams. On the first day, they offered 24 varieties of jams and a week later they offered 6 varieties. It’s no surprise that the larger range attracted more browsers, but the statistics on what was actually sold is staggering. On the first day, 3% of people purchased jam, on the second this rose to 30%. Why? When confronted with a large amount of choice, the buyers simply thought “this looks too complicated.” and moved on.
In today’s world we are constantly assaulted with choice and information – I don’t think my parents had the option for a medium, skinny, Columbia blend Cappuccino with almond flavoring and an extra shot.
If accountants are serious about moving from compliance to advisory services then they need to be curators rather than information sharers. I often hear “we need to offer greater choice” or “we leave it up to our customers to make the choice – we’re not sales people.”
As accountants, you are in a unique position as trusted advisors with a large degree of credibility. You absolutely need to ask the right questions, understand the client’s unique requirements and give options. However, to simply offer a menu of options, shrug your shoulders and say ‘up to you’ does not make the most of your position, your skills and your experience. Be honest, how much time do you spend with clients asking really searching questions, looking to the future rather then the past and offering strong recommendations?
Throughout 2016, we will be offering a range of free seminars to partner firms, facilitated by industry experts focused on how to market and price your services. If you’re interested, then let’s talk.