You’re thick in tax season, so I wanted to send you some quick information which can make a real difference in the next 40 days or so we’ve got left.
Much of this came out of our monthly Clients-Only coaching teleconference last week, and I wanted to pass along some quick tidbits for the rest of my contacts and blog readers.
There are three BIG things you can be doing to ensure that these 40 days sizzle…
1) Contact ALL “not-yet-returned” clients from last tax season by phone to set an appointment. This can be easily handled by a staffer, and I’ve got some relevant advice for you below.
2) Plug your assuredly “leaky” phone procedures to ensure that EVERY phone contact results in an appointment. See the full thoughts below.
3) Make plans NOW to reach “procrastinators”. I suggest a simple advertising strategy, specifically designed to speak to the very real sense of stress which families and business owners feel as the April 15th deadline approaches. The best timing for this is something to hit in the first week of April–earlier than that and true procrastinators aren’t yet feeling the heart, and much later than that and you’ll lose effectiveness. These “procrastinator” ads were always profitable and effective when I directed the marketing for our tax firm, and in this environment–they’ll be even more so.
Now, to the Strategy Note…I’m going to re-print something I wrote some months ago, because I conducted some “mystery shopping” for a few of our clients–posing as a prospect–and even our excellent clients had some issues. Don’t be blind to what’s walking out the door (via phone) in your firm!
Converting Inbound Phone Calls To Clients
These are proven strategies to ensure that your receptionists or Customer Service Representatives (or you, which I don’t really recommend) extract maximum value from every inbound phone call…and you gather more clients!
Feel free to make a copy of this, and post it by the phone to get MAXIMUM value!
1) The main goal is to get the client to the office. When questions are specific, you answer them by saying, “Come on in, we will be happy to look at your information and let you know the exact answer. [YOUR NAME] is an expert.” Every time you answer the phone all of your responses should be inviting to the client to come in, so be sure to do this without making the client feel like you are putting them off.
2) Ask a closing question! This is the essential step which most people do not address when they answer the phone. These questions can be anything from: “Would you like to come in to see [YOUR NAME] tonight or tomorrow morning?” or “Do you know where we are located?” or “Can I set aside a check-in form for you?”. What matters most is that this question gets asked.
3) Attitude is everything. When we sound hurried and short on the phone, the client assumes this is how they will be treated when they come in. If you are stressed, take a deep breath before you answer the phone so you can treat your clients as nicely as possible. They deserve respect. Every question should be answered to the best of your knowledge along with the most enthusiastic invitation that leaves the client wanting to find out about the excitement happening in your office.
4) Use the client’s name to create a sense of obligation. It is commonly said that the most beautiful sound in the human language is the sound of our own name. Take a quick second to ask the name of the person on the phone and use it.
5) Use YOUR name. Tell them who you are and let the client know that you are personally looking forward to seeing them when they can come in.
6) Create a sense of urgency for the client to come in to the office. Tell them as soon as their information has been received to come into the office and allow [YOUR NAME] to take care of the rest.