One of the things I like to do (for kicks … sort of), is to “play prospect” with tax professional businesses, whether it’s with clients of ours, or other firms.
And I’ll tell you right now — there is a MAJOR gap in most tax and accounting firms right now, which needs fixing STAT.
Heck — many tax professionals fall down in even having a system in place to move their website visitors, callers or even WALK-INS to becoming real client engagements.
Many of them figure: “If they want my services, they will follow up with me!”
Or they worry: “If I bother them too much, I’ll come across as needy”
Here’s the thing: While you’re worrying about bugging a prospective client or telling yourself that maybe “they’re just not that into me,” someone else is following up and sealing the deal!
“No” is just a little bump on the road to “yes.” Remember that most people do need time to make a decision, but they also need to hear/see/feel your message repeatedly.
Also remember, they are busy people too, so when someone expresses interest in your services, but they aren’t quite ready to sign on the dotted line, they can often be persuaded with a polite follow-up.
And listen to what they say.
For example, maybe you’re trying to convince a local business to have you review their financial systems (free). They might say, “This sounds like a good opportunity, but I’ve already got a system in place” (even though you know it doesn’t work!).
By following up before the beginning of the next quarter, you could get on your contact’s radar and get his business while he’s in the planning stages.
Here are some other follow-up methods to consider:
Ask office callers if they’d like to receive tax-strategic updates from you. Or a free report (if you have one) is even better — the point is to have SOMETHING which will incentivize callers to receive good information from you (and, of course, so you can stay in front of them!).
Create an automatic email series.
Also called an auto-responder series, this is a programmed set of emails you set up in your email program. You can create a series of mini-lessons on tax planning, top 10 IRS tips, 5 key strategies, etc. and have each delivered a few days apart. What’s especially useful here, by the way, is if you give your leads a sense of how working with you is better than TurboTax or other firms, and they get a feel for your personality.
Send a card (or something else in the actual MAIL).
The holidays and birthdays are a great time to reconnect with prospects and spread seasonal cheer. But consider sending a card at other times of the year, perhaps a mid-fall greeting or a Thanksgiving card (not often used and it can actually be a good time to snag new business). This way you’ll become more memorable and have an excuse to connect with people outside of the regular occasions. When you collect a lead online, you could even ask for their address so your staff can automate this process.
Hold an event.
Consider hosting a discussion group on a timely topic, a networking breakfast, or a free seminar on an issue that will interest potential clients. And go beyond the standard “Quickbooks Seminar”!
Invite prospects who are on the fence and use the opportunity to also bring in new leads. When you are seen as a leader and connector, you are perceived as being a top authority — and everyone likes working with people like that!
The bottom line with all follow up? Be persistent, always be polite … and have a SYSTEM in place for it!
Oh, perhaps something like … this.
Whether we do it for you, or not — put that system in place! And your firm will never be the same…