“Do not confuse motion and progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but does not make any progress.”
– Alfred A. Montapert
You’re probably gearing up for the long, “Labor Day” weekend. For some reason, our country still celebrates this holiday…even though the circumstances of its origins have changed pretty drastically. There was an article in which I wrote about some of this in the September issue of Wealthy & Wise…the print newsletter many of my clients send to their own clients. October edition is ready, and coming at you early next week.
I didn’t get this “controversial” in that article, because my point here is for business owners only–like you.
You see, the days of 7 days of 12-hour work (Labor Day started in the heyday of the Industrial Revolution during the late 1800’s, Upton Sinclair not yet even having written The Jungle) have passed by in this country, and in most of the developed nations worldwide.
Now, before I get TOO offensive, let me first say that I firmly believe that corporations and employers have an obligation to treat their workers right, ok? But I hasten to add that far too many business owners have an “employee mindset” when it comes to running their businesses…and to serving their clients.
Sure, many wage-workers out there are glad to get the day off on Monday (especially since we business owners usually pay them for it). But for the smart tax business owner, “Labor Day” and other Federal Holidays like it don’t have much meaning any more. It’s a knowledge-based economy–and that’s especially true for the tax & accounting business.
Now where this gets interesting for YOU is in how you position yourselves (and even your staff) to your clients and prospects.
I go into more detail in my Strategy Note for the week, because it’s a critical point that many business owners whom I’ve coached just don’t get.
I’d love to hear your thoughts…
“Profit For Life”
Tax & Accounting Business Marketing Strategy
“Thank you, SIR! May I have another?”
I’m here to do some mythbusting. It’s a bit subtle, but it’s an important point.
Some say that you must ‘prove to your client that you’re willing to work harder, drive more miles, and bend over further than everyone else to earn his business.’
And, at first glance it seems like foolishness to say that anything less than fantastic customer service is going to cut it in today’s marketplace.
But here’s the problem: Most businesses try to communicate this way too soon, in the process of being way too eager to win the client’s business.
So you end up chasing the prospect, saying ‘Call me any time, day or night, page me, here’s my home phone number. Shoot, I’ll jump out of bed and come and see you in the middle of the night, because man, lemme tell ya, I’m eager to win your business!!’
Of course, prospects know that after the contract has been agreed upon, they still end up dealing with a bunch of apathetic yo-yos in client service, and their tax return or write-up work will STILL probably be late anyway – regardless of how eager the presentation.
That’s why your enthusiasm doesn’t help you.
So here are some tips to fix this problem:
1) Don’t act so darn hungry to get the guy’s business. Your client service people ARE busy, and they don’t have time to hold the hands of problem customers. Don’t be afraid to tell your prospects that they have to *qualify* to do business with you. It’s counter intuitive, but when the client finds out that you’re not drooling all over yourself to get his return or write-up work, he’s going to respect you more.
2) *Guarantee* results to the client – with teeth. Guarantee on-time delivery, specific levels of performance, with negative consequences for YOUR business if it doesn’t deliver the level of accuracy or quality you promised. But you do not have to promise people the moon! You just have to keep the promises you DO make.
This requires support from YOU, the business owner and on down. And most tax or accounting firms don’t like to guarantee anything. (But when push comes to shove, you still have to deliver results anyway, right? Giving a guarantee often just means clearly stating what’s already true.)
If you aren’t willing to guarantee anything, why the heck not? Why should your clients take all the risk after they’ve heard a bunch of empty promises?
Even a modest guarantee can enormously empower your sales message. Define what you can and can’t deliver, go to the mat to keep your promises, and draw the line right there. Clients will be far more responsive and you won’t appear desperate.
People are cynical, and they’ll only believe what you can prove. Put something on the line…and they’ll trust you MORE.