Category: Selling Tax Services

If I was broke and homeless, here is what I would do to start over (again)

It was April 24, 2001, and I had just shut down a tax prep office with 15 preparers that completed a five-figure 1040 volume, and that hadn’t even existed five months earlier.

It was my last day on active duty in the U.S. Navy, and I was heading back home to Oregon. I only made it to Colorado, but that’s a totally different story.

As I left Norfolk, VA that day, I was obviously thinking about my future. Given my nuclear training, I assumed that the legacy of my Navy experience would be a career in nuclear power. The strange task of building a tax prep office from scratch to service the largest concentration of military personnel in the world was something I viewed as nothing more than the grunt work I had to do because I was on the short end of my enlistment.

I never thought it would become my career.

And that’s one of the great things about life: You just never know where it’s going to take you.

If I had had a crystal ball at the time, I would have treated that tax season differently. I would have actually learned how to prepare a return, rather than just treating it as an IT problem, among other things. It could have been a tremendous learning experience, if I had allowed it to be, and it would have put me several years ahead in life.

As I started civilian life, tax or accounting never even crossed my mind. And later in 2001, I chose a woman over a nuclear power job in New York. Then I somehow ended up in real estate. Then I ended up divorced, bankrupt, and homeless.

So seven years after my first tax season, I ended up having my second, entirely out of necessity. I consider it somewhat … Continue reading

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So what happens to the pudding?

Last night, while rocking out to Pink Floyd’s iconic “Another Brick In The Wall”, one lyric in particular lodged itself in that part of my brain that never stops thinking about sales and marketing:

“If you don’t eat yer meat, you can’t have any pudding. How can you have any pudding if you don’t eat yer meat?”

Before you go thinking I’ve totally lost my marbles, allow me to explain.

In the movie version of The Wall, the lyric pertains to the schoolmaster yelling at children that they must finish their meal before they can have dessert (“pudding” is a general British slang term meaning any dessert).

Most parents in the United States probably apply the same rule to their own children. My upbringing was no different: No dessert before dinner.

This frames a really nice analogy for how we have to view the growth of our tax practices: Marketing activities must precede getting new clients.

I’m going to take this weird analogy a step further. If you sit down for a nice dinner at a restaurant, your meal normally progresses in this order: Appetizer, salad, entree, dessert.

Our new client acquisition activities essentially follow this same pattern. Appetizers are the visitors to our web sites, the names on our tax lien mailing lists, the folks listening to our radio spots. When these individuals raise their hand to request information from us, they become a lead, which is our salad. Once they then progress to actually speaking with us — an actual consultation — they become a prospect, and we get to eat our meat. Once they engage your services and pay you money, we get our dessert — a delicious new client.

This entire chain of events, commonly referred to as a sales funnel, is the sequence you must lead all clients … Continue reading

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Getting past “maybe” with your tax prospects

Yesterday, I shared two sales closing tips that will help you sell more tax services. Today I’ve got one more for you.

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Did you miss Tuesday’s webinar with Nate Hagerty, “Dominate Your Local Online Market“? I twisted Nate’s arm a bit, and he agreed to make a replay of the webinar available for a couple days, but he’s taking it down on Friday. Watch the webinar replay now.

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One of the worst possible things to hear during a meeting with a prospect is the dreaded phrase, “I need to think about it.”

When a prospect gives you a maybe, it’s not really a maybe. In all actuality, it’s a “no”. In all my years in various sales professions, I’ve never once had a prospect change from a “maybe” to a “yes” completely of their own accord.

Converting your “maybes” into a “yes” is the easiest way to increase your revenue. The prospect is sitting right there across from you or on the phone. You’ve already spent the marketing dollars and time to get them to this point. It makes no sense to make a weak effort to convert them from a prospect into a client.

Remember also what we discussed yesterday: Your attitude about the value you provide your clients has a huge impact on your ability to close sales. The same thing applies to your ability to convert a maybe into a yes. If you have any doubt about the value of your professional services, then you’re far more likely to accept a “maybe”.

When a prospect says “I’ll think about it” or “maybe”, what they’re really saying is that they don’t feel that the value you’re delivering them is worth the fee you quoted.

In other words, you can think of their “maybe” or wanting … Continue reading

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