My first response to this question is “You may not.” We are really big on making sure you are a good fit for our firm, because a mistake in judgment here costs you and it costs me.
If that one doesn't work, then I have a series of questions/rebuttals/comments that will hopefully answer your question. The last thing I want is for you to pay me and not gain any value from it; conversely, I am not fond of wasting my time with work that isn't valuable to you, my prospective client. See how we have the same concerns in mind?
Here are examples of replies when I begin to talk about my services and prices:
But I don’t bring in very much money.
I get that, but I assume it is your goal to change that situation as quickly as possible. If it is, then I encourage you to consider our fees an investment in your company and use our expertise to help you make more money. We are generally the first ones to say “This isn't a good fit for our firm.” Assuming we haven’t yet told you that, we know we can help you. It’s up to you now to make that decision of spending the money to have unlimited access to our knowledge and expertise, or move on to someone else. The most important thing to consider: If we aren't delivering value to you, then we aren't the right firm for you.
But my business isn't very big.
Here’s the thing….the size of your business has nothing to do with profitability. Of course you’re not GM. Hardly anyone actually is that large. Some of my most profitable clients are family-owned businesses, operating out of a home office. But, even if it’s just you, there are complexities and strategies with which we can help you. One of the proudest moments I had with a prospect involved my offering him to serve as his Pricing Committee for the first year of his business. I would sit down with him, review all of his contracts for new customers, and make recommendations on how he could be more profitable. He couldn't afford the monthly cost of that service in the beginning, but his eyes lit up and he said “I never would have thought of even asking you to do that with me. That’s an amazing service.” See how creative we can be! The most important thing to consider: No, you aren't that big yet, but you want to be, and we can help you get there.
I just don’t think it’s that complicated/I don’t think it’s that involved.
This is where I get confused. You called me and asked for this meeting, so I assumed you thought the work was more complicated than you could handle. I have yet to meet anyone who came in, admitting that their work was extremely complicated and they absolutely had no way of knowing what to do. Most often, it’s the opposite, and they think that the QuickBooks Pro file they just handed me is Hop On Pop. You may think it’s not that complicated, but trust me, it is. The most important thing to consider: You want things done right. You may not be able to pull that off. You aren't an accountant, because if you were, you wouldn't be in my office. You owe it to yourself and your family to invest in expertise to make sure the information you rely on to make business decisions is accurate, and that you are doing everything in your power to be successful.
I just don’t know why everything has to cost so much.
It’s at this point that I realize we are not a good fit, if nothing else has thrown off the red-flag alerts before now. If you’re a start-up, I know that every single person you've talked with before me (and let’s face it, I’m usually the last person you meet with, even though everyone from your father-in-law to your banker has told you to call someone like me before now) has asked you for a retainer or your credit card number. You’re tired of spending money. Maybe you have a home office, little to no overhead, and the thought of plopping down 2-5% of your revenue to a CPA firm makes you hive up. The most important thing to consider: Here’s the deal, my friend. You’ll realize more benefit than you’ll ever pay me. Period.
And this is the real world. Everything costs something. And around here, we either do it ourselves or we pay someone else to do it. Isn't that what you want your customers to do?
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