Properly prioritizing marketing in your practice

I Love MarketingTo say that I’m a big fan of all things marketing would be a gross understatment. Zealot might be a better term.

Some would say that it’s unrealistic of me to expect all tax professionals to have as much giddy enthusiasm about the subject of marketing as I do. But I do think it is reasonable to exhort upon you the importance of making marketing a priority in your practice.

Your level of marketing activity should be directly proportionate to your desired income. In the quest to hit the magical $35,000 per month in new client fees, marketing activities became no less than half my work day. In fact, it occupied my entire morning most days. If you have partners or assistants, you can spread that work load around a bit, but it’s still going to take at least an hour of your morning.

And morning time it should be. This is when most people are at their most alert and productive. Marketing is an activity that you want to dedicate your best hours to. You don’t want your marketing time to be during any time of the day when you hit some sort of wall. Personally, I experience a massive brain drain at around 2pm on most days. That’s the time to be making calls to other brain dead people, such as the Tax Practitioner Priority Line.

If your objective is to grow your practice, then new lead generation marketing is the absolute highest priority of your day. You should be doing at least one hour of marketing, if not more, per day. Every day, do something, one thing, anything, to fill the pipeline for future business.

This is how you break out of the feast/famine cycle of business. This is how you get out of the purely seasonal nature of most tax practices. Schedule an appointment with yourself for however long you need, and get your marketing work done. This is your most important appointment of the day.

A lot of practitioners will say that they can’t make this commitment because of other things going on. The extended filing deadline is coming up. Quarterly 941’s are due. Payroll processing is today. You’ve got six voicemails from a panicked client about a levy.

Yes, you still have to get your client work done, there’s no doubt about that. However, your client work seriously is secondary to working ON your practice. Your practice is your livelihood, and maintaining and growing that should be your biggest priority.

Never forget that other people’s emergencies are not your own. Unless there’s blood, fire, or a gun involved, it’s not an emergency. It’s not your fault that a client didn’t get you their stuff back in March to file their return, despite your constant reminders to them. It’s not your fault that a client didn’t make Federal Tax Deposits for the past six months, and now has a levy, despite your warnings of the consequences. These are not emergencies, and are not your highest priority.

If you don’t make marketing a high priority, it usually won’t get done. There will always be client work to do. Your spouse will always have errands for you to run. Your golf, sailing, or other hobby friends are always going to be trying to get you to come play. All these other things in life are always going to be there — they’ll never go away. If you want your practice to grow, you have to make time to make it grow.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “Successful people do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do.” And it’s true. Every financially successful tax professional I know makes a conscious decision to make marketing themselves a top priority — all of them. They make an appointment with themselves every day on their calendar for whatever time it takes to do the activities that generates the revenue they desire.

Every tax practitioner I’ve ever talked to that is NOT achieving their financial goals doesn’t do this. Every one of them, without exception.

If you want to make more money in this business, you either need more clients, or need your existing clients to spend more money with you. Both of these require marketing (communicating with your existing clients is still marketing).

So the reality of running a business comes down to this: Are you willing to do the things required to increase revenue, or not?

It’s a yes or no question, the answer to which determines your financial future.