Tax Resolution Referrals: Overcoming the obstacle of poaching clients

In yesterday’s article, I gave you the raw numbers that drive the marketing tactic of generating referrals from other tax professionals.

Today, I will answer the most frequently asked question about this particular marketing method: Why would other tax professionals be willing to refer me their clients? Won’t they feel threatened by my presence?

These are perfectly valid questions. However, from experience, I firmly believe that it’s an overblown concern, especially if you specifically position your relationship to be constructive rather than competitive.

First, the big picture. Any tax professional worth their salt should understand and embrace two core ethics principles that directly relate to this conversation:

  1. As long as the client is paying you and playing ball, we need to do what’s best for them.
  2. No tax pro should practice beyond the scope of their own competence.

I think these are two basic things we can all agree on. So with that said, any professional colleague in the broader financial services industry should be expected to refer out their own clients to other competent service providers for services they cannot provide if the client genuinely needs those services. Honestly, it almost feels like I shouldn’t have to spell this out, but there it is.

So for this reason, and this reason alone, the vast majority of those 670,000 tax preparers I mentioned yesterday are willing to refer work to YOU that is beyond their expertise (including willingness to acquire expertise).

Second thing: Since the concern over poaching clients can and does come up, you can and should proactively position your relationship with your new referral partner to address this concern up front.

For example, if you are working tax resolution referrals from an attorney, simply Kovel yourself under the law firm and work the case.

Another example: If you are a tax resolution-only practice, and you don’t even do tax prep or bookkeeping (which is how I operated, and many of our members do likewise), then overtly state this to your future referral partner during the initial conversation. Tell them that they get to do all the tax prep and bookkeeping — they’re still engaged with the client, and you’re kinda working together on the case.

Final example: Let them collect the resolution fee, and pay you your cut. Now I do have to say that this isn’t something I would ever do, because I’m too much of a control freak … Continue reading

Tax Resolution Referrals: If you’re not doing this, you’re flushing away at least $50k/yr in tax resolution revenue

Let’s review some data that you’ve likely heard from me before.

Ready? Set? Let’s go!

Less than 10% of CPAs in tax practice offer any sort of representation services (per AICPA).

Less than 2% of EAs in private practice do anything that even requires their EA license (per NAEA).

The vast majority of lawyers that call themselves “tax attorneys” engage primarily in trust and estate tax work, not IRS Collections representation.

Lastly, there are approximately 400,000 unenrolled preparers (meaning, tax return preparers that are not an EA, CPA, or attorney), that legally can’t sign a Form 2848 to represent a client in front of Collections or Appeals, even if they’re an AFSP participant or a state-registered return preparer.

Add all those folks up, and you have approximately 670,000 tax professionals across the United States that either refuse to engage in taxpayer representation, or are simply unable to do so because they don’t hold the proper license.

But guess what?

All 670,000 of these tax professionals have tax resolution clients.

These are the tax professionals that prepare the majority of the tax returns for the nation’s 13 million tax debtors.

These are the tax professionals that see the payroll or bookkeeping problem long before anybody else does.

These are the tax professionals that know who the future tax debtors are before even the IRS does!

Are you picking up what I’m laying down?

These 670,000 other tax professionals — your colleagues — are coming face to face with tax problem resolution clients all the time. They are at the front line of the tax debt problem, and the vast majority of them don’t know how to help these clients.

That’s where you come in.

Since you hold the proper license, you can sign a 2848. Since you’re here, and have learned how to do tax resolution work, you can provide this valuable service to the clients of other tax professionals.

Let’s do some more math. If you look at IRS Collections data in the annual data book, you’ll see that roughly 1 in 14 American tax returns has a debt and enters IRS Collections. Assuming that 1 in 14 average carries across all tax prep clientele (it doesn’t, but it’s the best proxy I have), and if we assume that an average seasonal preparation firm does 300 returns a year, that means the average tax preparer sees 20 or so tax debtors per year.

Let’s say … Continue reading

The Absolute, Number One, Single Most Important Element of a Successful Speaking Opportunity

This week, we’ve focused on utilizing public speaking as a marketing tool.

We’ve covered why you should be doing public speaking, how to become a better public speaker, and tips on where you can find speaking opportunities that will naturally translate into tax resolution lead generation opportunities.

But today I want to give you the absolute most important tip that I could possibly give you.

No, seriously, it is.

If you skip this one, single component of your public speaking opportunities, you shouldn’t have bothered speaking in the first place.

As a matter of fact, this doesn’t just apply to public speaking marketing. Rather, it applies to ALL of your marketing, no matter what it is. But when you’re deploying a presentation marketing system as part of your lead generation mix, it becomes much more “in your face” that you need to do this one thing if you want to see results.

What is it? What am I stretching out this sentence for in an effort to add further drama and suspense? What amazing revelation could possibly exist beyond the end of this paragraph?

With just a bit more ado, it is…. Making an ask.

Also known as making an offer.

If you fail to make offers in your marketing, you’re simply wasting time and money in doing the marketing at all.

Without an offer, marketing is just… Writing, speaking, and hanging out.

Without an offer…without making an ask of your attendees…You’re not going to generate the lead.

Now, if your purpose is NOT to generate leads — such as my presentation last week to James’ real estate investor club — then it’s OK. I had no personal economic reason for being there, I taught the class simply because I like to teach and I wanted to give something back to somebody that has done so much for me.

But if you’re delivering a presentation for the purpose of generating leads into your accounting or tax practice, then you have to make an offer. You have to ask people for their business.

And as much as I despise the “free consultation” (it’s a basic public expectation these days, not a super-effective lead magnet like it was in 1962), inviting people to book an appointment — and doing nothing else — is vastly superior to making no offer at all.

That’s important, so I’m going to repeat myself.

It’s better to make a basic offer … Continue reading