"CPA who can't sell" mailbag

Philip Morgan

List member Anthony sent an interesting reply (shared with permission) to my recent rant about a CPA who had no process for engaging with a prospective client:

_My answer: my client was challenged by me in the first minute she spoke to me ever.

We’d already been introduced over email by a guy who we both respect as one of Australia’s top IT sales guys. I knew my prospect (now my client) had been selling consulting for 16 years.

My prospect on phone to me: “ sent  me to you, because I don’t know how to sell.”

Me: “you’ve been a consultant to government for 16 years. How did you manage to eat all this time? Who sold your services to the government?”

Prospect: “I did. I didn’t go through agents.”

Me: “well then, let’s not start the relationship on a false premise. So, what exactly makes you say you can’t sell?”


Great example of tactfully challenging a prospect early on in the sales conversation!

Again, there's an artful way to do this, and there's a not-artful way to do it.

In print Anthony's approach might come across more blunt than in real life, because in real life Anthony is very kind and thoughtful in how he speaks. So with the benefit of knowing Anthony, I can tell you that his "let's not start the relationship on a false premise" challenge would actually come across as very supportive of his prospective client.

In other words, he's found a succinct but provocative way to say "you probably are better at selling than you think, so what's the real problem here?"

I imagine that very quickly he moved the conversation past superficial issues and excuses and got more quickly to talking about root causes.

Well done, Anthony, and thanks for sharing!