The natural way to close sales

In my last article, I discussed one of the things that causes the most stress for tax professionals: sales resistance. In this article, we’ll discuss closing, and how closing really isn’t stressful at all if handled properly.

As mentioned the other day, most of the job of “selling” ourselves is done via our educational marketing. Remember, if they’ll meet with us, they’ll hire us. As long as you maintain this frame of mind, sales really isn’t stressful at all.

The end goal of a prospect meeting or consultation is, of course, to have the client hire us. While most sales people have to use various sales “tactics” in order to close their sales, there really are no tactics, tricks, or techniques required for us to close a sale.

Why is this?

After reaching an understanding of our prospect’s problem, we do what we do best and lay out the steps to solving that problem. Once our prospect understands what we’re going to do for them to fix their tax problem, the next logical step is to get implement that solution.

The segue between offering a solution and “closing” is so simple for us that sales people in other industries should be jealous. In order to implement a tax resolution process, we absolutely must have a signed Power of Attorney. This fact is generally mentioned somewhere along the line in our presentation of the tax solution steps, so our prospect knows that it’s coming.

All that we need to say is, “In order to get started with researching what the IRS has on file, we need to have a signed Power of Attorney on file…” After they have signed a Power of Attorney, they have a pen in hand and are now mentally in the mode of expecting to sign things. This makes a signed engagement letter easy to come by next, which is naturally followed by obtaining a check or signed payment form.

This natural progression from one necessary element to the next is definitely unique to our industry. Having been in other sales professions in the past, I can tell you that it really is a different closing situation when selling other products, such as newspaper advertising or well drilling (both of which are things I’ve sold in the past).

Next week, we will be releasing our next training course. This sales training course will cover the complete tax resolution sales cycle from initial … Continue reading

If they’ll meet with you, they’ll hire you

The component of new client acquisition that stresses out most tax practitioners more than anything else is the sales component. I believe that the sales component is actually the easiest part.

Even though a consultative nature tends to be well ingrained in most tax and accounting professionals because of our academic training, putting on a “salesperson” hat makes most professionals cringe.

I’d like to share two realities of sales as a tax professional, however. Both of these realities completely take away the two biggest stressors of the sales component.

Unlike many other sales professions (yes, we’re in a sales profession — this is a fact that every practitioner simply has to accept), there really isn’t a whole lot of sales resistance once we’re actually face to face with a prospect. In fact, most other sales professionals would be envious of the position we’re in.

By the very nature of what we do, our closing ratio is unusually high. While many sales professionals in numerous industries (such as advertising media, household goods, industrial equipment, etc.) are excited to close 1 in 20 prospects, such a closing rate would be abysmal for us. While 100% isn’t to be expected, high double digit percentage is.

Basically, here’s how I sum up the “sales” side of being a tax professional: If they’ll meet with you, they’ll hire you.

With out marketing, we establish ourselves as an expert in our field, and position ourselves on the “right side of the desk” in the eyes of our prospects. By the time they actually come in for a consultation, they’re essentially already sold, otherwise they wouldn’t have met with us.

Again, not every person that meets with us is actually going to hire us on the spot. But, with proper long-term followup via a regular “touch” program, it’s possible to get pretty close to 100%. A 20% to 50% closing rate on the first appointment is not only achievable, but quite common.

I have had clients that hire me on the first meeting. For example, I did a first time consultation with a new prospect over the telephone this morning, and a few hours later I have a signed 2848 in hand and a check is in the mail. However, I have had other clients that I had to keep in touch with for more than a year before they ever hired me.

Most of the job of selling ourselves is done … Continue reading

Marketing to your ideal prospect list

Last week, we discussed assembling a list of your “ideal prospects”, and creating a special marketing effort specifically to them that is on top of your regular lead generation marketing and follow up marketing.

This deal client prospecting campaign is established with the distinct goal of creating a relentless, never ending effort to literally have 100% of these prospects become your client. For most firms, this list won’t be that long. It may run from as little as a dozen ideal prospects, to at most a couple hundred.

Who is on your ideal prospect list? It really depends on the nature of your practice and your areas of specialization. Here are some examples of ideal prospect lists:

  1. All companies within a 25-mile radius of your office with 50 to 250 employees.
  2. All tax debtors within a 4-state region that owe more than $500,000 to the IRS and earn 7 figures annually.
  3. Owners of homes assessed at greater than $1.2 million within one ZIP code that are also boat owners.
  4. 941 tax debtors owing more than $150,000 and annual revenue greater than $5 million within your greater metropolitan area.
  5. Families in your city with more than $2 million in liquid assets.

As you can see, these prospects are special because they have specific characteristics that are desirable to us as clients. They represent high-value clients that will pay us substantial fees and will stay with us as clients for years and years.

These high-value prospects are worth a special marketing effort that essentially never ends. I would suggest a marketing effort that contacts these ideal prospects at least monthly, if not bi-weekly or even weekly, with some sort of “touch”. Since the cost of a typical touch is only $1, or even less, you can market to a list of 100 such prospects on a weekly basis for only $5,200 per year, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the value of of one such client in terms of the fees that just ONE of them will pay you over the course of a business relationship.

What does a year-long, weekly touch program look like? It can be as simple as this:

  • 12 monthly newsletters (covering tax advice, asset protection, wealth management, etc.)

  • bi-weekly postcards offering a free report, briefing, webinar, live seminar, interview recording, etc.

  • one phone call per month

  • Birthday card, anniversary card, Thanksgiving card

  • Invitation to a private client event (BBQ,
Continue reading