Case Study: How One Small Tax Firm Built Their Sales & Marketing Machine

This is the story of a small CPA firm (three partners) in New York City that hired me in January 2011 to help them grow their tax resolution business. I worked with them to create a written, systematic, and scheduled marketing process to drive sales of this service, which then fed sales of their other service offerings.

The firm employs no sales closers, and they rely exclusively on old tax lien filings (3 to 6 months old) as sales leads. They use old leads because, after a couple months, the vast majority of tax resolution firms have quit calling them, and they are therefore able to pick up clients with very little simultaneous telemarketing competition.

The firm’s telemarketers (“openers”) call these tax liens to verify that they’ve got the correct business, confirm that the tax lien is still an issue, and collect an email address and/or fax number and obtain permission to send “free information regarding how to get the IRS off their back” — there is absolutely no “selling” involved in a traditional sense. They then immediately receive a two-page introduction letter via fax and/or email, and they also receive a 12-page info packet (a 9 page sales letter, 2 page engagement letter, and a payment form) in the mail that comes in a specialized red “Rush Priority Express” envelope.

Every 5 days for 60 days, without fail, completely on automation, the prospect gets an email and/or fax with a short blurb (about two paragraphs) about a tax topic, and an offer — free consultation with a CPA (NOT a salesman), a free review of their latest IRS notice, X percent off representation, free end of year 940 prep, two 941’s prepared during the course of representation, etc. These “touches” are a highly effective follow up program from the very beginning, and their phone rings off the hook.

The key to this tactic was the creation of the series of emails (duplicated as faxes) that go out over the course of a couple months, every 5 days. Prospects are bombarded with the risks of being in collections, the problem with going at it themselves, and what the firm can do to fix the situation. This follow up program puts the CPA on the “right side of the desk”, as prospects then call in for help, rather than the CPA having to be the aggressor and chase the prospect down.

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The licensed partners close all the sales, completely on inbound calls, so it’s an easy sale, and they pay no commissions — to anybody. The telemarketers are paid hourly. They have 3 licensed CPA’s, all of whom are full partners in the firm, 2 openers, 2 unlicensed tax preparers/paras, and a receptionist/office assistant that answers the phone and mails out the packages. Since they pay out no commissions, they have plenty of money to mail out a package to everybody.

This is a small CPA firm that works in the tri-state area around New York City. Their tax resolution work feeds their accounting, QuickBooks Pro advising, and tax preparation business, as they don’t turn and burn the tax resolution clients, but rather keep them on board for other services. The firm is now three years old, having just finished their third full tax prep season, and one of the partners came from the tax resolution industry, the other two did not.

The CPA that came from the tax resolution industry was doing the telemarketing and sales closing work over the phone himself when they hired me, and they didn’t have enough work to keep their unlicensed tax preparers on board after the 2010 tax season, but for 2011 they didn’t have to lay them off, plus they hired the two telemarketers.

In other words, the heavy concentration on follow up marketing is working extremely well for them, prevented two layoffs, and created two new jobs for the local economy. The implementation of systematic marketing increased their monthly tax resolution revenue by more than fourfold.

Are you following a systematic approach to your marketing?