30-Day Tax Firm Challenge: Day 3

A bit overwhelmed by the shear length of yesterday’s post?

What can I say: I love to write!

But, I promise to start keeping these a bit shorter. So let’s get right to today’s challenges…

Online Marketing

Claim your Google My Business listing.
Esimated Time: 10 minutes or less.

Go to Google and do a quick search for “tax preparation [your city]”.

What do you see?

When I do this for Seattle, the first 3 results are paid ads, then the next three results (all free) are Google Maps listings.

Google naturally prefers to give higher search placement priority to things it owns. This is why Google Maps, Google Store, YouTube, and other Google-owned sites and services appear at the top of many searches.

To make this happen for your business, simply go to google.com/business and walk through their signup process. This will allow you to show up on Google Maps, and perhaps more importantly, to list your website and start collecting client reviews which help boost your Google placement.

Offline Marketing

Get new business cards.
Estimated Time: 30 minutes

Take a look at your business cards. Seriously, grab one.

What do they say?

Most business cards just say name and contact information. A few might list services offered. And that’s a travesty.

Your business card is, essentially, a printed version of your elevator pitch. Or at least it should be. Unfortunately, very few business owners use it for this purpose. I have a stack of over 100 business cards sitting in front of me, collected from attendees at various seminars this year. Only ONE has an elevator pitch on the business card.

So your challenge for today is to simply order new business cards, and put your elevator pitch on them. If you have the infrastructure set up to deliver lead magnets online, then take it a step further and put a clear call to action for a special report on your business card.

Remember our basic self-promotion formula from Day 1 for our elevator pitch? One target market, one service, one benefit. Your business card is a vehicle for delivering this pitch.

Just as an aside, I never had business cards for my tax resolution practice. Never. Instead, I wrote a book about tax resolution for consumers, and always kept a copy or two with me in case I ran into somebody that that needed tax help or knew somebody that needed tax help. A book is the best business card you’ll ever have. If you have a book, order more copies and carry them around. If you haven’t written a book, then go write a book. 🙂

Practice Management

Add a tax return review process with your clients.
Estimated Time: 30-60 minutes

Believe it or not, the vast majority of tax professionals, including CPAs and EAs, don’t spend time with their clients to review their tax returns.

I’m not talking about your internal accuracy review process. I’m talking about the 15-20 minute follow on appointment where the client comes back to sign the 8879 and pick up their copy on USB drive. Most small tax firms simply have clients sign the return at the front desk, or collect the signatures electronically or by fax or postal mail.

I’m definitely a proponent of doing business in as virtual a manner as possible. But even if you operate a 100% remote practice and never meet face to face with clients, you should still have a telephone conversation with them to review their return, especially if you have other professional services to offer them.

Client have a five figure balance due on the return? You’d be surprised how many practitioners never have the representation conversation.

Is the client at a high risk for examination due to higher IRS enforcement of certain items? Then you should discuss “audit insurance” with them.

Does your client have rental properties? A business? Investments? Schedule A deductions? All of these are opportunities for you to have a conversation with your client about other services: Tax planning, financial planning, management advisory services, 1031 exchanges, etc.

To complete this challenge, simply spend some time thinking about the other services you offer. Map specific tax return items (by line or schedule) to those services in order to create a “cheat sheet” for yourself. For example, any client with Schedule C gross receipts greater than $20,000 can trigger a conversation about expense reduction consulting.

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