Delayed Gratification & Growing Your Tax Business

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“One person with a belief is equal to ninety-nine who have only interests.”
– John Stuart Mill

The bullets are beginning to fly, and tax season is kicking into gear for many tax professionals about now. There sure is a lot of turmoil this year, and in the national industry press, a lot of confusion about what the picture really looks like.
But what my clients are telling me, is that they’re seeing the fruit — gathered from the year-round harvest of relationship-oriented “nurture” strategies, combined with a direct-response approach which is rare for our industry. Whether it’s social media <> , email marketing <> , or the ever-more-powerful print newsletter <> , it’s never been more critical to form lasting relationships with your existing clients, and to have an actual system (read: more than a hope and a phone call) for communicating with prospects, on a regular basis.
Back when I was directing the marketing for the large, multi-million dollar firm (and before I was executing it for hundreds of tax businesses around the country, as I now of course do), it was tempting to sort of sit back, and let the pre-arranged marketing work … and focus simply on the immediate day-to-day operations.
That’s a big mistake.
YOU are STILL the one responsible for driving sales in your firm. You can’t simply trust it to reps, or to “hope” that your name is sufficiently “out there.” But the aforementioned flying bullets of tax season — and the steady flow of daily email — might keep you from retaining this singular focus, as the Chief Marketing/Sales Officer for your firm.
You see, it all comes down to marshmallows…

Can You Afford To Defer That Task?

Recently, I was reading about a study done years ago regarding the effects of instant gratification.
Edited excerpt from Wikipedia
Mischel’s famous research study, “The Marshmallow Test,” showed the importance of impulse control and delayed gratification for academic, emotional and social success.
In the 1960s at the preschool on the Stanford University campus, Mischel put marshmallows in front of a room full of 4-year-olds. He told them they could have one marshmallow now, but if they could wait several minutes, they could have two. Some children eagerly grabbed a marshmallow and ate it. Others waited, some having to cover their eyes in order not to see the tempting treat and one child even licked the table around the marshmallow!
Mischel followed the group and found that, 14 years later, the “grabbers” suffered low self-esteem and were viewed by others as stubborn, prone to envy and easily frustrated. The “waiters” were better copers, more socially competent and self-assertive, trustworthy, dependable and more academically successful. This group even scored about 210 points higher on their SATs.
Fascinating study…So what’s this got to do with you?
Business thought leader, Jim Rohn could see it a mile away, when he wrote about the harvest.
Paraphrasing Mr. Rohn, it’s about planning, focus and execution (and later…harvesting) vs. chasing the fad of the week, getting distracted and wasting time you can’t ever get back.
How many “get rich yesterday guru” emails did YOU get today? How many “pressing” client/staff questions did you manage, rather than focusing on revenue-generating tasks for your firm? How much time do they waste? How many rabbits can you chase at one time?
Now, more than ever: Plan, focus, execute and harvest.
Be ruthless about your time. Don’t let the guru of the week waste it by trying to convince you that there’s a golden goose and only they know where it is. The real experts produce results for themselves AND help multitudes of others do the same. The guru of the week produces results for the guru of the week and his insider buddies. Don’t bite. And, chances are very good, that you’re executing tasks which could be easily-handled by a $15/hr employee (or $8/hr even) … and freeing you to pursue what only you, the owner, care most about: growing revenue. There really is a tyranny of the urgent. Fight against it.
Instead: Do at least one thing today to get, or keep, a client. That’s your most important task.

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