Just got back from Vegas from the NATP Tax Pro Forum… and, well, it’s good to be back on the home front with my five children running around. I’ve had more speaking invitations and travel in this past season than ever, and while that’s a fine thing, it’s also a cause to remember the beauty and joy of HOME.
I’m sure you can relate to that, at times.
But enough about me … I received this note from one of our clients recently, and it brings up a common problem for many professionals these days … perhaps you?
I want to say that in terms of the weekly email campaign, I have had so many clients reply to those emails. Some are responding to what the email say. But in a lot of cases, I think that these emails are triggering a thought that they wanted to email me about and they are replying with an email relating to that. In any case, I am getting more and more emails … to the point where I have to figure out a way to manage it all!
Yes, *especially* if you’re sending a personal, weekly email to your clients and prospects (like we did for Dennis), you may be getting slammed with — billable 🙂 — work and communication flow.
So how do YOU manage it?
Here’s a couple suggestions, from somebody who’s seen a *monster* flow of emails in his day (both in the tax business, and in various other businesses I’ve owned or been involved with) …
1) I recommend you set up a special email address, set up exclusively for inbound client communication. Mark it prominently on your website (along with your phone number), and have it sent to an assistant–trained to prioritize and respond.
Look, email CONTINUES to explode as the preferred method of communication for your clients. According to a recent survey, 65% of the demographic between the ages of 18 to 34 STILL favors email to communicate with businesses. (Habeas)
So, it makes sense for you to have somebody TRAINED in salesmanship–over email, as well as over the phone.
And their most important characteristic? Not being YOU. 🙂
2) Encourage client communication–but within YOUR boundaries. So many tax professionals become enslaved to their mail app because their clients are constantly bugging them about specific questions in their file, etc.
I remember speaking at a tax industry seminar a little while ago, and I asked the few hundred tax professionals there to raise their hands if they felt too tied to email. Many hands went up … and then I asked them if they get more billable work from email … and most of those same hands stayed up.
So, the work is nice — but the constant interruptions ain’t so nice. I recommend you adhere to TWO set times in your day to check email: when you first get into your office, and at the end of the afternoon at 4PM or so. Emergency concerns often aren’t as “emergency” as they initially appear.
Even better (I’ve had a few clients use this technique successfully and profitably): set up three “membership tiers” within your business — with the upper level tier getting unfettered access to you (as well as other perks). Oh yeah — and charge them for the privilege. $497/month or some similar amount will do it.
“But Nate, nobody will pay me that rate!”
First, you might be wrong on that assumption! And second … the primary purpose of this tier-structure is to implicitly communicate the value of access to YOU, the principal of your firm. You’ll garner more respect, and a few clients will even pay you for the privilege. Mostly, it is a fence around your time so that you can focus on creating value, and growing your firm.