Connecting With Your Clients

You will often hear me discuss the concept of making sure that you proactively do things to ensure that you keep the clients that you already have. After all, getting a new client is roughly 10 times more expensive than keeping an existing one.

One of the simplest ways to ensure that your existing clients stick is through good ol’ fashioned communication. If your clients here from you regularly, not just at tax time or when you update their Quickbooks, then you forge a stronger relationship over time with them.

Maintaining regular communication with your clients really isn’t that difficult, nor does it need to be expensive, especially these days with “social media” being all the rage (just don’t get caught up in all the hype — you’re not going to get millions of new clients from just using social media).

Here are some ideas to stay engaged with your clients (and prospective clients):

1. Encourage them to follow you on Twitter and “like” your Facebook page.

2. Mail all clients a monthly newsletter.

3. Create an email newsletter to send.

4. Invite clients to monthly or quarterly educational seminars to cover financial topics. Bring in outside experts, such as financial planners, attorneys, or insurance agents as necessary to cover appropriate topics.

What are some things you are already doing to stay in touch with clients? Leave a comment below to share with other readers so that everybody can benefit from shared knowledge.… Continue reading

Filling your tax season appointment calendar

Tax season is right around the corner, which means that right now is the time to be doing two things to ensure you have a great tax season:

1. Get in touch with all your past clients to schedule their appointments for 2012.

2. Advertise to get new clients in.

Simple postcards or letters to your past clients should be going out now to remind them to schedule an appointment to get their 2011 tax return prepared.

For getting new clients, here are some suggestions for where to advertise:

1. Your local MoneyMailer or ValPak, which is a thick envelope of coupons delivered to houses in most cities.

2. Local special interest newspapers with an offer targeting that interest group. Examples from my local area include weekly Spanish language and senior citizen newspapers, a monthly outdoor/sports enthusiast magazine, a weekly business newspaper, and a weekly printed newsletter targeted to farmers and ranchers.

3. Send direct mail offers, either postcards or letters, to the residential postal delivery areas closest to your location.

4. Put up flyers with detachable coupons or phone number at supermarkets, flea markets, parks, malls, and anywhere else with free public flyer boards (I’ve seen entire tax practices built from this simplest of all marketing methods).

5. Put up small signs along roads and major intersections. Check with your local authorities to determine if this is legal and if you need a permit.

6. Deliver flyers or door hangars door-to-door in your target residential neighborhoods. Again, check local laws and permit requirements for this.

Any ones of the above 6 methods can fill up and entire tax season for a solo practitioner or small tax office. Used in combination, the results can be simply astonishing. On top of that, most of these methods are not all that expensive, and some are even free.

If you haven’t already, you can get copies of proven tax season ads, flyers, and mailers by purchasing them directly from our web site with our Tax Return Preparation Marketing System

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Cultivating Long Term, Highly Profitable Client Relationships

Let’s talk about a very important business concept: Lifetime Customer Value (LCV).

What exactly is LCV? Quite simply, it’s the amount of money you can expect a single customer to spend with you over the entire life of their business relationship with you.

Quick tax return example: A customer with a simple 1040 return comes to you every year, and you charge them $200. If they come back year and year, and you never raise your rates (which you should, by the way!), then this customer is worth $2,000 over the course of a decade….$6,000 over the course of 30 years in tax practice.

Instead of looking at a customer in terms of a single transaction, LCV as a concept forces you to look at each of your clients as a long-term business ally. On a balance sheet, your client list should literally exist as the single most valuable asset in your entire tax practice.

Most tax practitioners I speak with think largely in terms of either their seasonal tax customer base, or their monthly accounting clients. Most tax professionals do absolutely nothing to foster long-term relationships with their clients, and simply view them as a tax return that walks through the door once a year.

There are a number of problems with this thought process.

First of all, if you view each client as “just a tax return”, then you are obviously caring more about yourself than your client, and this is just a bad business mentality. Legendary sales trainer (never forget, you *ARE* a salesman, no matter what the initials after your name say) Zig Ziglar is quoted as saying, “You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want.” What Zig is saying here is that if you look out for your clients, they will reward you financially.

Second, if you only think about any particular client in terms of doing their tax return once a year, or doing their books once a month, or handling their payroll every two weeks, you are missing out on a MASSIVE opportunity to be of greater VALUE to your customers. You are in a position to offer money saving tax advice to your customers and prospects. If you aren’t doing this already, then why not? Do you do mid-year or quarterly reviews for your clients to discover new tax savings? Are your monthly accounting customers spending … Continue reading