So, I’m moving a bit slowly this morning.
Last night, my little sleepy town of Charlottesville, VA hosted four particular Irish gentlemen and they played some tunes for me. Well, me and about 60,000 of my friends, that is. You may have heard of these blokes–they go by the name “U2”, and they’ve been a particular obsession of mine since childhood. I still remember seeing them live in 1991 at RFK stadium in DC–quite literally, the stands were *shaking* that evening. I almost didn’t even go last night, as I wasn’t sure that experience could be topped.
I’m still a bit overwhelmed by the spectacle of it all, and as I mentioned–I’m moving slow … mostly because bedtime comes early in the Hagerty household with the two little guys running around, and my head didn’t hit the pillow until after midnight. No alcohol involved–just sleep deprivation :).
The stage was something to behold–especially the 360-degree video board which expanded and contracted like a Mexican finger-trap, delivering unreal video effects during some of the tunes.
Now look–the stage alone reportedly cost upwards of $40 million, and neither you nor I are willing to shell out that kind of dough to deliver a “wow” experience for our clients. But it CAN be done–in advance of any client meeting–and, when done properly, it completely changes the game for show-up rates, and closing. That’s the bottom line, and it’s the subject of this week’s Strategy Note.
I must also acknowledge Alexis Martin Neely, one of my strategic partners who built a million-dollar law firm based on strategies such as this, for reminding me of these essential truths.
“Profit For Life”
Tax & Accounting Business Marketing Strategy
Set Up Your Prospects AHEAD of Your Meetings For Maximum Success
This was a subject in which I worked very closely with a few coaching clients in the past, because it’s a “little tweak” which can deliver outrageous results. You see, someone calls your office and schedules an appointment to meet with you…then what?
If you’re like most tax professionals–nothing happens, that’s what. Your secretary simply blocks the time on your calendar and you sit back and wait. If that’s the case, you are missing a primo opportunity to pre-sell your prospects before they even ever sit down with you, making it far more likely they’ll write you a check when they do make it into your office.
What you want to do instead of nothing is send out a killer pre-meeting package that will wow your prospects before they even step foot in your door. This is also known as the “Shock & Awe” package.
Now, one thing to note – only send out the package to people who have made an appointment to come into the office and meet with you. When done right, it’s too costly to fling around indiscriminately.
But, perhaps obviously, the most difficult part of sending out a well-structured package is putting your very first one together. So to make sure you’re doing things right, you’ll want your package to include the following:
1. A professional Linen Folder- Don’t settle for something cheap and flimsy to package your materials. Understand that a good, quality folder shows the prospect that you really care about them and their relationship with your firm. You can even go one step further and order a custom linen folder with your logo on the front for best results.
2. Credibility Boosters- You’ll want to stuff your folder with plenty of information designed to boost your credibility and convince your prospect that you are the absolute best person to work with them before they ever set foot in your firm. Credibility may include articles that have been written about you, interviews on CD, press releases, a copy of your book or other “press materials” and if your State board rules allow it, a sheet of testimonials by former happy clients. It’s may be that you don’t have these things already, but everything I’ve listed can be easily created within three months from now, so get started.
3. Pre-Meeting Homework – Your package should include some form of interactive paperwork that your prospect must complete and return before their meeting. Not only will this help you come to the meeting prepared to serve your prospects with the information they need to say yes to you, but by taking action before the meeting, your prospects are more likely to say yes when they make it in.
4. Firm Story- Your folder must include at least one document that conveys your firm story and why you are different from everyone else in town. This is really the clincher of the package and something you should spend time getting right.
5. Humanized bios of you and your staff- While it’s great to convey how just how smart you are and how many awards you’ve earned, you also want your bio to be personal so the prospect feels like they “know” you and your team on a much deeper level. People do business with people they know, like and trust. You have to convey who you are, not simply where you went to school and the awards you won, for this to happen.
Finally, to finish things off, you’ll want to mail your package in a USPS priority mailer so it looks and feels “important” and doesn’t get tossed aside as junk mail. I can’t think of anyone that ignores a priority mailer sent to their house, so it’s in your best interest to spring for this final touch.
Now look–if you don’t believe your normal fees can justify this kind of expense, I suggest you do one of the following:
1) Raise your fees. (or)
2) Adapt this concept (in a less-expensive manner) for the “front” of your tax business during tax season. You don’t necessarily have to go through the FULL package to at least achieve some of this effect with folks who walk through your door.
But no matter what type of tax business you run, make a commitment to design a package for your firm within the next 30 days. Then, send this package out to every prospect who requests an appointment with you and continue to record your results. If done right, you should see a nice increase in your bottom line over the weeks and months to come!