How Tax Planning Professionals Handle Objections for a Tax Client

12 minute read

Your biggest problem to becoming an extremely successful accountant is likely the difficulty you have in answering objections for a tax client during the sales process. If you fix this one problem, you’ll likely make many more sales—and hence, more revenue. First, we’ll discuss general objection handling strategies for accountants, then we’ll give you a specific example of how to handle a common objection many tax clients use. 

Principles Successful Accountants Use to Sell a Tax Client Over the Phone

What are some of the reasons that you tell yourself for not being able to grow or get new tax clients? Maybe you say that customers are just skeptical. Or, perhaps you make the excuse that you don’t have a CPA license, the tax client doesn’t have any money, doesn’t see the value, or doesn't want to pay high prices.

The point is, many accountants and tax planning professionals have a story that they tell themselves about why they can’t be successful, a tale that they believe about why a tax client says “no” to them.

If you believe, “All people in my specific accounting niche are just skeptical”, try to flip it on yourself and ask, “Am I skeptical?” Or, if you say, “No one in my niche has any money”, then flip that on yourself and think about how you view yourself and money. Do you see yourself as someone that has no money? If prospects don’t see the value, do you see the value in the things that you purchase?

You carry with yourself an intangible mindset that can impact your success on sales calls. The problems you’re having with clients are oftentimes a living case study of your own problems! This is why it’s important to examine your mindset and pinpoint beliefs you have. Tax planning professionals who can intentionally flip their mind on certain topics, can help fix that problem when it comes to clients!

Keys for Handling Objections for a Tax Client

In addition to changing your mindset, a big key to handling objections is using massive levels of silence and brevity. When you do talk, it needs to be quiet and slow. Make them ask you for every little step of the way. Never Sell. Make them buy! 

Using Silence in Sales Calls with a Tax Client

So, how can you use silence? Perhaps the easiest way is if the prospect does not ask a question. Unless there is an inflection at the end of their sentence and a clear question, just stay silent. “I need to talk to my spouse” or “I’m going to have to think about this” are statements, not questions. So, just stay silent. 

When you stay quiet, they will ramble. Eventually they will ask a question, but until that point, just stay silent and let them come to you. Silence is an incredibly powerful tool from a persuasion and sales perspective rather than trying to sell them and close the deal yourself. Tax planning professionals let clients come to them and ask them a question.

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Using Brevity in Sales Calls with a Tax Client

Use brief answers. If the prospect comes to you with a question, and a good line of thinking, reward them with a brief answer. For example, if they ask whether you can definitely fix their problems in four to six weeks, or if they ask whether you will need access to their accounting file, that is a buying signal. You want to give them as short an answer as possible such as, “Yes, about four to six weeks” and let them continue their current train of thought. 

If they ask a question with a bad line of thinking, such as: “I need to talk to my spouse; is this the best number to reach you at?” then you want to give a direct but vague answer and redirect attention. That question is a bad line of thinking which shows you that they are trying to end the call as quickly as possible. They don’t want to move forward right now, and when that happens you need to be direct but vague in your answer, then redirect their attention back to the problems they are having. 

You can respond, in such cases, like this: “We can definitely set up another time if we need to…. if we decide that we want to work together…” [USE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING] 

  • While we still have a few minutes today, are there any other questions you have about working with me? 
  • And does this sound like something that you do want to do? 
  • Are you a hundred percent that you do want to do this and you just need to get your spouse on board…or are you still thinking about it? 
  • Do you need to let your spouse know or do you need to get their permission?

You want to keep hitting on either the objection itself, or the original value proposition depending on how bad their line of thinking is and where it was directed. In this way you redirect their attention with more probing questions. Use silence and only answer the specific question at hand. If the question can be answered with “yes,” answer it with “yes.” Don’t say “yes and you know I did this for another client and… in just a few weeks…” STOP. Remember, whoever talks the most loses. 

While you feel like you’re trying to help, you’re not. If you respond yes and they want even more details, they will ask. But if you start blabbering on, while you think you’re helping, they think you’re trying to sell them. They find things to doubt, get skeptical, shut down, and don’t move forward. What you say matters just as much as how you say it.

sales are vital for accountants

When you’re talking in the objection stage, your tone and voice need to slow down massively. You need to use big levels of silence, talk slower, and in a more meek tone. People are expecting you to be salesy to try to close the deal. But, when you’re silent, it appears as if you don’t need it. They get needy, insecure, and wonder why you’re not talking. They start doubting themselves, “Was I supposed to say something?” 

When you’re less talkative, people feel safer and more comfortable moving forward. This is ESPECIALLY important when you’re asking for payment information. Truly listen, truly care, and be present. If a person seems on the fence at the end, they can be won, but only if you’re truly present and aware, not only of what they’re saying, but what they mean. Complete silence is needed—no checking emails, no doing work, nothing but total focus and attention on this person, their history, the journey of this call, the future of their life, and the relationship you’ll build together helping them with some of the most painful aspects of their life. 

Imagine the tax client is going to be your most successful long term client whom you build an amazing relationship with for the long run. When you successfully answer an objection and close them, write it down. That’s a verbal key to unlock that person’s specific objection and you can use it in the future.

Also remember, when they have an objection, you have to dig into it. Find out if that’s the true objection or if it’s a ploy for something else. “Okay, so you need to talk it over with your spouse which makes sense. I guess, are you 100% and you just need to check with her, or are you still thinking about it yourself?” Don’t just take what they’re saying at face value, dig deeper.

Example of Handling Objection for Tax Client

“So, you won’t be able to work on site?”

Prospect asks you: “Why can’t you work in our office?” 

You: I’m going to make sure that we do whatever we need to do to get results. If we both determine that we need to come on site to get results, then that’s what we’ll do. And I guess [ask question to redirect attention]… 

Explanation: Notice how important the wording is: “Whatever we need to do to get results”, that doesn’t include working on site from our view. You’re taking the conversation to the higher level and while it feels like committing, you’re not. 

We both determine that we need to come on site.” We’ll both have to determine that (and we won’t determine that). The truth is, if it’s a large engagement and they’re in the area, you can go over for one kickoff meeting, but it’s very important to manage the relationship remotely. 

There are many more specific objections that accountants and tax planning professionals often receive that can be handled very well if you stick to a specific script.

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