A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.
– Lao Tzu
We’re getting close to the end of “peak” for many tax businesses–when I ran the marketing for our tax firm, we had taken in about 65% of our tax season revenue by the third week in February.
We knew that our clients wanted to get their returns handled quickly, get a refund (or at least know where they stood), and get moving on with their lives.
But many tax professionals miss the NEXT step, and it’s crucial to the long-term health of your business.
Send Your Clients More Than a “Bill”
You want to know why I fired my accountant a couple years ago?
Simple: he was terrible about keeping in touch . I’ve been around the tax industry for years now, but I still trust my books and taxes a real pro–but to be perfectly frank, the work *itself* can sometimes be a bit of a commodity. Get the stuff done right, don’t miss deductions and make sure my business is well-positioned for maximum tax advantage.
But you know what ISN’T a commodity? Relationship with clients.
And, simply put–my CPA was not “just” slow to respond to my queries (and my staff’s), but the only thing I ever got in the mail from him was a bill. (I mean, as a marketer, I would have been happy if he had even just sent me a *pitch* for other services, for crying out loud!)
So I fired him–and found one with a commitment to relationship.
Now chances are good that your clients–while perhaps not being so carefully attuned to marketing dynamics and relationships as I am–feel the same way.
It’s no fun to trust someone with such a deeply personal task as preparing your taxes, and to not feel appreciated through friendly, frequent communication.
Which is why you MUST have a plan to follow up (regularly) with your clients after their tax work is completed.
Oh, and if you do it right, you end up stimulating many more referrals, and creating more business from those very same clients.
Here’s what happened for one recent client, James Oliver (taken directly from a conversation I had with him):
“So it has been a very, very nice tool — a marketing tool to just kind of touch my clients after tax work to keep your name out there. I’ve had clients who’ve called me about several different things, saying: hey, james, I’m going to get together with you. I got your letter. Can we sit down and do some tax planning? I have an uncle who needs his taxes done . So things have probably (and I’ve been doing this business for a long time) prompted calls I’ve gotten since this newsletter went out that I haven’t gotten before.”
So look–it doesn’t have to be difficult. The POINT is to give them valuable information, let them know that you actually care and that you’re a real person. *That* seals a long-term relationship, and knocks the rest of any marketing you do into overdrive.
So, whether you use our newsletter or not, know this: your client list is shriveling unless you do more than send a tax planner and a bill.