Update your email signature.
Estimated time: 10 minutes
Most email signatures I see from tax professionals fall into one of two buckets, both of which are equally bad.
They’re completely barren OR…
They’re excessively cluttered with useless information.
First off, are you still including that lengthy Circular 230 disclaimer in your emails?
REMOVE IT. Seriously. Take it out. It’s never been necessary to include it in your email signature. Literally. Never. I have no idea where the misconception even started that you needed to include it on your emails. The fact of the matter is that the disclaimer language was only ever intended to be used on covered opinions, not every communication that leaves your office. The covered opinion rules under Circular 230 no longer even exist.
Don’t believe me? Take it straight from Karen Hawkins in this pronouncement from 2014 when she was still head of OPR at IRS.
Next, what about the rest of your email signature? I see too many graphics, too much clutter, and too much stuff that doesn’t matter.
What should be in your email signature? Name, telephone number, website, and a Call to Action. That’s it.
Yes, a Call To Action (CTA). Your daily email communications are a marketing opportunity that you shouldn’t pass up. Include a CTA with an offer. Probably the best offer to make is to request referrals. If you have a tax season Refer-A-Friend cash program, use that. If you’re a non-attorney and can pay referral fees for tax resolution clients, say so. Have you written a book? Offer free copies of your book to any of the email recipients friends and colleagues that want one.
Simplify your email signature. Remove extraneous information, especially the unnecessary IRS disclaimer language, and add a Call To Action asking for referrals.
Start a MeetUp group.
Estimated time: 30-60 minutes
Are you frozen out of your local BNI group because they already have a CPA?
Do you find that your local Chamber of Commerce leads groups are nothing but social hours?
Then start your own.
Most big cities have small business MeetUp groups. This is where people get together in a mastermind format to discuss business issues, such as marketing, customer retention, pricing, etc.
But what about the suburbs, or smaller cities? You’d be surprised how few small business groups exist outside of downtown areas. Look on MeetUp and see if there is a potential hole in the marketplace that you can fill.
MeetUp costs a little bit of money to administer a group for 6 months, but it’s worth it if you’re proactive about building the group. Invite every business owner you know, which is probably already several since you’re in the tax world. Do a 2-minute Tax Talk at every meeting yourself to help establish your own authority positioning (which drives referrals), and invite group members to speak about their businesses. Invite guest speakers, such as lawyers, local economic development zone reps, etc.
You’d be surprised at how effective this strategy can be to grow your business. So much so that you should expect to hear more about this tactic from me in the near future.
Determine staff satisfaction with you as an employer.
Estimated time: 30 minutes
Happy staff, happy clients.
Never forget that the impression your staff leaves upon your clients is a direct reflection of you. If your staff are grumpy, it’s going to show, and it’s going to impact prospect conversion and client retention.
Even if you only have one part-time staff person or seasonal staff, this is still important. Do you actually know whether your staff like working for you? Heck, do your staff like you personally? Do you know about any interpersonal conflict impacting the office environment?
It’s time to find out. Start asking. Hold a team meeting. Let it be known that you care and are open to suggestions for improvement. Let people moan, groan, gripe, and complain a little bit if they need to vent.
Basically, the take the pulse of your staff. Their happiness is important to your success, and their suggestions can actually be very valuable.
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