[WWN] Sealing The Deal After Tax Season

Well, you're either on vacation (checking this on your mobile, perhaps), or you're in "recovery mode" from tax season, cleaning up the final detritus from it all.

I remember those days well -- and this is the time to seal relationships with your clients AND your seasonal staff.

This is the perfect task for the next week or so, because it feels pretty great to do it AND it has the primary benefit of moving your business forward.

So, here are some ideas to make this process easy, fun, and profitable...

1) Throw a staff party. Hopefully, I don't have to tell you to do this -- but especially if you had seasonal staff pitch in who did a good job, it's crucial. The numbers behind what GOOD  (happy) employees and/or contractors add to a business versus what ill-appreciated and poorly-performing staff do are simply startling. Depending on your revenue size, it can mean a 4 to *6* figure difference (per my friend, Barry Shamis from Selecting Winners).

Here are a few ideas for it:

* Hire entertainment. I'll only tell this to clients. Promise you won't tell anyone 🙂... my FIRST exposure to the tax industry came back in 1997 when Chauncey Hutter, Jr. hired me and a college pal to "spice up" his staff/family picnic. We dressed up as country hicks (this was a Virginia crowd), and ran "Country Games" for the kids and the braver employees. Apparently, it was a hit :). He hired me six years later to run his marketing.

* Invest in parting gifts for seasonals and thank you gifts for full-year staff. Doesn't have to break the bank, but it truly is the thought that counts.

* Write a personal thank you note to each of your key staff. Tell them directly how grateful you are for their hard work -- the ol' handwritten note is even more powerful now than it ever was.

2) Identify your top referrers and send them something NICE. You should be able to pull out your Top Ten champion clients. Send them to a great dinner, or, even better, bring them all together either in your office for an after-hours cocktail party, or at a nice local restaurant and let them mingle with each other. Everyone loves a free meal at a nice place.

3) Client Appreciation PARTY. See above, related to the staff party. The psychology here is that everyone wants to be let in on the "inner circle", and doing a Clients-Only party will build buzz, ensure loyalty and even offer you the chance to talk about other services you can offer them, in a friendly way. Do NOT "pitch" at this party, but things will inevitably come up, as you talk about their lives and businesses.

4) Creative client gifts. Again, for cost-purposes, you might consider only doing this for your key clients, but don't just send them gift cards or chocolate, etc. Do something which reflects your firm, or refelcts your home town. You might even integrate information you learned in the tax process, about their children (gifts to their children are a WINNER), their interests or other such information which is readily-minable in your data.

What's great about this process is that it can be FUN. And, even better, it will drive your revenue for next season if you do it right. Now is the time.