Like most CPAs, tax preparation is probably the bread and butter of your business. Making the most of your time and energy is crucial if you want your business to be as profitable as possible, and your time to be well-spent. Collecting and retaining tax clients is vital towards that end.
It’s still only June, but before you know it, April will be upon us once again. Start planning strategies now that will get you there! Growing any tax practice steadily requires a plan.
Plan to Send Email Reminders Early Next Year
Retaining clients should be easier than finding new ones. Happy clients from years past will hopefully refer more clients to your firm. But people are people. They have a lot on their plates, they’re forgetful, and they want an easy button. Just because they were satisfied with the job that you did this year doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll remember to reach out to you again next year. They may just opt to click on the banner ad that pops up in front of them next March 31st. Make it easy for them to remember you and locate you again quickly!
Send out a reminder next January that tax season is coming up again, and that deadlines will be approaching before they know it. Suggest they set up an appointment with you. (That part is a piece of cake if you’ve got a system like workflow software working in your favor!) They already like you and you have their vote of confidence, you just need to remind them that you filed for them last year, and the time to file again is approaching.
Referrals, Referrals, Referrals!
Many accounting professionals will admit that referrals are the biggest source of new business, but very few of them have any systems in place for generating those referrals. Why?! You’re probably sitting on an absolute gold mine of referral business that you only have to ask for. Take advantage of that!
As Tax Coach System points out, referrals are much better than other clients because:
- They decide to do business with you more quickly
- They’re easier to train and manage
- They’re more willing to pay premium fees
- They’re more willing to refer you to even more clients
Take advantage of that!
Developing a refer-a-friend program is a really great way to incentivize your current clients to help you easily grow your client list.
Open Your Mouth and Tell People About It
I hate to break it to you, but you can’t just automatically assume that everyone knows what it is that you do. Or if they did last year, they may not remember by the time next tax season rolls around. Don’t be too proud to toot your own horn a little and get the word out that you are an accountant.
Networking groups are another great way to get in touch with a large variety of people and tell them about what you do, and they’re incredibly inexpensive. Pay attention to the group roster so that you can choose one that doesn’t already have an accounting professional involved.
In fact, you should have a 30 second commercial (AKA, elevator speech) designed to do just that. No, no. That doesn’t mean that you should break out into song and dance before telling a bad joke and spraying streamers in the air. Your 30 second commercial should be a quick, clear way to describe what you do, and the services you provide. It should be clear and informative, while conversational. Remember, you’re using it in conversation, not as a TV infomercial. It’s meant to give people a little taste of who you are.
Tell everyone about it! The more your friends and family know about what you do, the more likely they’ll be to recommend you to their friends. That goes back to that referral thing we talked about above!
This sounds like such a simplistic idea, but do you really have a good, strong presence online? This is a huge part of your marketing, so don’t overlook it. Check your website thoroughly to be sure it looks good, is up to date, and accurate.
But that’s not enough. You’ll need to actually drive people over to your site somehow! They won’t know to look up your website if they don’t know it exists. The way to do that is to gain a following on social media: facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Don’t wait until April 10th to fire up your account. Get people thinking ahead of time, posting and tweeting tips and tricks for taxes all along. When people like or enjoy what they read and see, they’ll be sure to share it with their friends and family! Next thing you know, you’ll have a whole hoard of followers watching you. . . . .making it all the more important to be sure you’re mentioning your website!