What would it mean to you to be able to add 10 new clients to your tax or accounting practice?
Here are 10 brilliantly simple ways to find yourself 10 new clients each. Most of these methods are free, but take up some of your time.
1. Attend leads groups. An oldie, but a goodie. Check with your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI, or even form your own leads group. These groups typically restrict themselves to one representative from an industry category, so you might have to wait for a spot to open up in an existing group. Be sure that the group is actively engaged in the referral process, not just a social gathering. If you’re getting legitimate referrals from other group members, you should easily be able to acquire 10 new clients within six to twelve months from a leads group.
2. Conduct seminars with other financial professionals. Find yourself an estate planning attorney, a mortgage broker, and a life insurance professional or financial planner (if you’re not one yourself), and organize a small 3-hour workshop on a Saturday afternoon at a local hotel. A decent meeting space can be rented for only a few hundred dollars, and each participant uses email and direct mail to invite all of their clients to the seminar. Each speaker has 45-minutes to present information of value to the attendees, and each presenter makes an offer to everybody. Organize one of these each quarter, and you should be able to pick up quite a few tax clients.
3. Sponsor a local event. Is there a regional trade show of some sort in your area? How about a Chamber of Commerce mixer? An annual festival? Get yourself a table or booth at these events and hand out copies of your book or other lead response “widgets” to attendees. For example, back home we have an annual music/food/beer festival every August called New West Fest, and numerous local companies that have nothing to do with food, music, or beer participate and set up booths in the park and Old Town areas. Banks, lawyers, chiropractors, etc., all participate. It’s a good opportunity to be seen in the community, and if you’re smart about it, to generate actual leads.
4. Write a book. Nearly three years later, the first book I ever wrote, a tax resolution guide for individual consumers, still gets sales on Amazon. Sprinkled throughout that book are calls to action to visit my tax practice web site for more information. While the lead flow from it has definitely decreased over the past year, I still get a couple decent leads per month from it. Having a book is a also an excellent thing to have to set you apart from your competition when you’re at events like 1, 2, and 3 described above.
5. Get on the radio. Most towns have small talk radio stations, generally on the AM channels, that are always looking for guests. These stations have 24 hours of air time to fill every day, and that’s more of a challenge than you’d imagine. Many moons ago, I worked at a tiny 1,000 watt AM radio station part-time as a broadcast board operator, and there were literally times when the station had nothing to air and we had to broadcast reruns of past talk shows (which advertisers didn’t like). Contact these local radio stations and make yourself available for interviews. You can even try to get your own “Tax Talk” show. If nothing else, you can buy yourself a 30-minute radio show for not a lot of money. There is significant PR value in this for you, and people that call in are potential clients.
6. Write for your local newspaper or business journal. Basically the same idea as the radio show, but in your local newspaper, business journal, or a specialty publication. The specific services that you offer and your IDEAL™ client profile will dictate what publication is best and what you should write about. Being seen in these publications, and doing Q&A in them, is a great way to get in front of people that you otherwise wouldn’t. The occasional call you get from these columns should more than pay for the time it takes to write something occasionally.
7. Send contact letters to old clients. Unless you’re just starting your practice, you most likely have a long list of old clients that never came back to you. Assemble that mailing list, and send them a letter. Be blunt: Ask them why they didn’t come back to you for tax prep, or why they took their accounting or payroll business somewhere else. Bribe them if you have to in order to get them to get in touch with you. Ethical bribes could be a copy of your book (see how much mileage you get out of that?), a tax planning session, investment portfolio review, a free lunch…whatever it takes. Getting back old clients (that you want back, that is) is one of the easiest ways to boost your revenues.
8. Contact new movers. Mailing list of “new movers” are probably the single most common mailing list bought and used in the entire country. They’re available from literally any and every list broker — this list type is definitely a commodity. When people move into your area, they need everything from a new favorite pizza place to a new tax adviser. Be that tax tax adviser. Mail, telephone, and live events are your friends for reaching out to this group.
9. Contact new business startups. If you offer business tax, accounting, or legal services, new business filings are the equivalent of new movers. These lists are probably the second most commonly used mailing list in the entire country, I’d reckon. When a new business starts, they need everything from legal services to bank accounts to stationary to web sites to tax, accounting, payroll, and other services that fall into our realm. Again, direct mail, the telephone, and live events are your friend for reaching out to this group.
10. Contact tax liens. Come on, you didn’t think I’d leave this one off the list, did ya? 🙂 Tax liens aren’t just for tax resolution. A person or business with a tax lien is somebody with an underlying problem in how they handle their financial affairs. These folks need tax returns prepared for prior years. They lack functional bookkeeping systems, and often have no books at all. They need payroll services, full write-up work, etc. When it comes to tax liens, don’t get caught up on the assumption that your offer to them needs to be about tax resolution. Differentiate yourself from the tax resolution stampede, and don’t even mention tax resolution programs or the tax lien. Offer your other services, instead.
So there you have it: 10 different strategies that each can help you acquire 10 new clients. None of these strategies are particularly difficult, but as with all things you have to sit down and make a plan on how you’re going to approach it.