Don't Just Sell the Shelf


I made the crazy decision that a Saturday trip to IKEA was a great idea this weekend.  After being carried along in the crowd around the store, I noticed the same thing with virtually every product.

IKEA have planned their whole store to encourage you, the shopper, to spend more money with them.

They have a few base products, and then add-ons to allow you to personalise that product to your requirements.  

They don't want you to buy a KELLAX shelving system at £39.  They want you to add four cupboard doors to it at £9 each, and a few £12 boxes.  Maybe even a £19 drawer.  

When compared with the original product, the upsells alone can be much more than the base cost.

Then they want you to buy other complementary products.  They don't display just the shelving. They add some products to show it off which you can also buy in store.

IKEA want to sell a complete solution, not just one part of it.

As a bookkeeper, are you just selling your clients the shelving, or are you upselling and cross selling too?

The easiest way to do this is using a menu pricing system where you can offer your clients a range of service options.  If this sounds complicated, we have a spreadsheet that makes it really simple.

Don't fall into the trap of thinking that you know exactly what your client wants or the size of their budget.

Then make sure that you remember to offer your complementary services.  Does the client need some add-ons like credit control, or payroll? Are they on the right VAT scheme?  A paid for VAT review might help. Do they need to register for VAT or self assessment or PAYE? That's another cross sell.

Also, think about other people who provide services that don't compete with yours to the same Ideal client.  Can you do a deal to cross sell each others services? Perhaps a financial advisor, or printer. Maybe a local business bank manager (if you can still find a local bank) or an insurance broker.

Sometimes this can feel uncomfortable so it's important that you build it into your sales system, but also into a system of annual reviews.

IKEA don't feel awkward selling cupboard doors to people buying their shelving systems.  Instead they feel proud to be able to offer their customers exactly the right product for their lives.  They want the customer to be able to create a unique end product with the same options that are available to everyone.

Change your mindset from selling to helping your clients to build a bookkeeping service that is unique to them and customised to suit their lives.

Make sure that you are also reviewing the services you offer your clients at least annually.  Arrange a meeting to talk to your clients about the year just gone and their plans for the year ahead.

If they have big plans, how can you make sure that the services you offer help them to achieve these?  Is there an add-on that they don't know you offer that would be ideal? Don't assume that they will remember you told them about it once, three years ago.  Remind them.

It's your job to make sure that the services you offer to your clients exactly fits their needs.


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