Solution Selling, the Key to Up-Leveling Your Client Relationship

Gusto Editors

Add solution selling to your repertoire

In the accounting industry, selling is sometimes seen as a dirty word which causes even the best firms to hesitate selling additional services. This misconception is often based on an outdated view of sales. The modern approach, coined solution selling, is radically different than old-school ‘hard selling’, and more closely connected to the consultative nature of accounting. Solution selling is not about pushing one product over another, but rather working with your client to identify problems and offering a consultative solution based on their needs.

The key to solution selling is up-front discovery to unpack the clients’ needs so you can make an informed recommendation on a solution. Sometimes, this up-front discovery will lead to the recommendation that the solution is not a good fit, and that’s OK. If done properly, this solution selling solidifies the relationship between you and your client and elevates your position as a trusted advisor.

How to solution sell Gusto to your Client

The solution sell is broken down into four parts:

  1. High-fit client identification
  2. Discovery and problem identification
  3. Solution recommendation based on top problems
  4. Joint evaluation and objection handling

1. High-fit client identification

Go through your book of business and use the table below to identify high-fit customers for the services your firm and Gusto provides. The more attributes a client has that match the left column and don’t match the right column, the higher their fit with Gusto.

High fit attributes Low fit attributes
1 – 100 employeesRequires check delivery
Majority of employees paid with direct depositLarge number of international employees
Majority of employees on salarySpecial industry payroll regulations (i.e. agriculture, household workers)
High volume of employee hiring or turnoverSwitched payroll provider within last 12m
Uses cloud solutions for accounting, time tracking or expense managementAdvanced job costing requirements
Using multiple systems for payroll, benefits and HR
Forward thinking, modern businesses
Offers or would like to offer small group benefits and/or 401(k)

2. Discovery and problem identification

The goal of the discovery process is to better understand the business priorities, current challenges and ideal solutions of your client. Start the discussion with the clients that have the highest fit score from the above rubric. If you discover that Payroll and HR are a high business priority or there is a lot of pain in the current process then there is a potential need for a new solution.

The key to a successful discovery process is active listening and using open ended questions to probe further, this will allow you to identify root causes and not just surface level symptoms.

For example, a client might be spending a lot of time on their bank reconciliation process every month which could point to an inefficiency in the accounting workflow (the symptom) but the root cause might actually lie in the payroll system which is not integrated with their accounting package which causes the client to manually track and reconcile a high volume of payroll checks every month.

Questions that you can ask to understand business objectives:

  • What are your company’s business objectives over the next 12 – 24 months?
  • How does improving payroll and HR processes rank within these objectives?

Questions that you can ask about to understand payroll and HR pain:

  • Understand the status quo – how does your client feel about their current payroll provider?
  • Have you run into problems with your current payroll solution?
  • How long does it take for you to run payroll?
  • Do you have problems with accounting integrations?
  • Do you have problems with time tracking?

Questions that you can ask to understand the ideal future state:

  • How would you envision this process to work if there were no constraints?
  • What would an ideal solution look like for you?

3. Solution recommendation based on top problems

Now that you have recorded the status quo, it is time to map the value your firm and Gusto provide against the pain points and goals you discovered. We call this a “Value Map”.

Here are the some commonly seen pains and how they map to Gusto:

Client Pain Gusto Value
It takes too much time to run payrollGusto’s full-service payroll and comprehensive automation features make running payroll a breeze.
I am concerned about the cost of my payroll solutionGusto offers a simple all-inclusive price. No hidden fees and as a Gusto partner our firm is able to pass on exclusive discounts.
My payroll software is clunky and hard to useGusto gives you total control over your payroll through an intuitive, mobile-friendly online interface.
My current payroll provider provides poor serviceGusto’s USA-based care team is composed of expert, friendly payroll professionals. With the highest customer satisfaction in the industry!
Hiring and employee onboarding takes too much timeYour new employees can enter all of their info online, plus they can download their paystubs and W-2s, even after they leave.
They’re looking to rapidly grow their businessGusto helps fast growing companies scale by offering comprehensive automation. And high growth customers report they save up to 60% on manual processes by switching to Gusto.
They’re looking to add benefits or 401kGusto offers beautiful, integrated Payroll, Benefits and 401(k). So you can get out of the maze of spreadsheets and back in front of your team.

In addition to this list, you should add the unique benefits that your firm’s service provides. Tailoring the value map to match your firm’s value proposition will ensure you communicate to your client the differentiated value that your firm and Gusto can provide.

4. Joint evaluation and objection handling

Walk through the Value Map you created with your client. Confirm that these are in fact pains for their business. Confirm that if Gusto is able to deliver on these improvements, it would make sense to switch.

Often times, while you feel that moving to Gusto is in your client’s best interest; they may still be hesitant to switch. Here are some common client objections to switching, and a few ways you can ease their concerns:

Client Objection Response
I like my current provider (ADP, Paychex, IOP).There is a generational shift from legacy to modern solutions. Modern solutions have greater automation, better integration, and a more intuitive interface to help save you time running payroll. Plus modern solutions are just as reliable as legacy providers.Gusto has seen over 600 customers switching from ADP and 800 from Paychex in the past 6 months alone. Don’t be left behind, switch today to realize the time savings Gusto customers are realizing.
Moving providers is too much workGusto makes moving a breeze. By offering free setup, Gusto does the heavy lifting of transferring information from your previous provider.
Too expensive Gusto’s pricing is an “all-in” and includes everything. There are no hidden fees and you get unlimited payroll runs. Year-end W2s and 1099s are included. And, there are no extra fees for additional state or local returns. Gusto is a full-service solution, unlike cheaper alternative like Intuit Enhanced or Xero payroll.
I don’t know who Gusto is, how can I trust them with my payroll?Gusto is the fastest growing payroll provider in the country, serving over 40,000 customers nationwide. Gusto also has the backing by some of the best investors in the world, such as Google, to make sure they continue on their long-term mission.

Your client’s nodding their head and sold on Gusto, what’s next?

Identify a mutual migration plan when it make sense to transition to Gusto. For example, the beginning of the quarter typically is the easiest time to self-onboard. Or contact your Gusto partner advisor to schedule a free migrations project and move your client at any time during the year.

Great job, your client will now see you a business partner to help them manage and grow their business.

Ready to move a client to Gusto? Speak with a member of Gusto’s Partner team by emailing [email protected] or visit
Gusto Editors Gusto Editors, contributing authors on Gusto, provide actionable tips and expert advice on HR and payroll for successful business management.
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