Making room for better tax clients

We all want better clients.
And by “better”, I mean better quality…better mix of service usage…better timeliness…better paying.
In order to make room in your practice for better clients — without expanding your overhead — you have to trim the fat.
Remember those cheapskate clients I wrote about last week?
Once you fire the worst of the lot, you can fill their spots with better clients, and life will be better. I personally think that the cheapskate customers should be the absolute first to go, because they cause the most irritation. They’re the ones you lay in bed at night fuming over, so they need to go, and go now.
If they complain about your fees, fire them.
If they call or email you incessantly asking for free advice, fire them.
If they are actively blocking your efforts to resolve their IRS debt, then fire them.
Here’s an even bigger Practice Pro Tip (PPT, hmm, I should make that a thing): When you fire crappy clients, announce it to your leads, prospects, and clients.
You already know that you should have a CRM system of some sort, and you already know that you should be frequently communicating (at least bi-weekly, bare minimum) with your unconverted leads, best prospects, and paying clients. This is all part of your client engagement process, and long-term lead and prospect follow up processes.
But what you may not have ever given thought to is that, along with your client success stories, you also need to write about your bad client stories. Write emails, newsletter articles, film YouTube videos, etc. discussing those bad actors. Don’t name names, obviously, but use those firings. Here’s what this does:
1). By providing concrete illustration of the kind of clients you don’t want, you will help to filter out those leads and prospects that might ultimately engage in similar behavior. They will unsubscribe from your emails, unfollow you on social media, etc.
2). You will be signaling to your unconverted leads that you have time for new clients. You can make specific, targeted offers for folks to schedule consults now that you have all this free time available to help people that really want to resolve their tax problems.
Here’s some inside baseball: Between the “Name Your Own Price” promotion on the 60-day videos and the ensuing emails I sent regarding the “cheapskate” issue, a whopping 8%
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The Single Best Thing You Can Do This Week To End Tax Season Stress

With the filing deadline just two weeks away, most tax professionals are gasping for air right now, barely able to keep their heads above the mountain of 1040 work that they’re drowning in.

Some practitioners, however, have made a choice not to live that way for the next couple weeks. You can make that choice, too, and all it takes are a couple very simple procedural changes in your business.

At our tax resolution boot camp last September, Chrisa Anderson, CPA shared a brilliant strategy for attenuating the April madness: Just stop taking on new returns. Anybody that doesn’t have their documents in by this week simply goes on extension. Problem solved.

Another Premium member, Dan Henn, CPA, has taken it a step further. Not only does he have a document cutoff, he also imposes a Rush Service fee for any returns that an individual absolutely insists on being completed between now and the filing deadline. And it’s not a small priority service fee, either. In fact, he charges the client an extra 50% of their regular tax prep fee.

So if you are normally scrambling like a crazy person to complete returns for the next two weeks, it’s time to make some policy changes. And this doesn’t need to be a “we’ll do that next year” sort of thing. No. Do it now. Today.

Anybody that calls in today or later… Anybody that sends you an email… They simply get told that they’re going on extension or need to pay a priority service surcharge. It’s as simple as that.

Have a nice, relaxing rest of your filing season!… Continue reading

Marketing: Cheap vs Done For You

One of the more interesting preliminary results coming from the summer survey is that a lot of practitioners indicate that they want marketing solutions to grow their tax firms that don’t cost much money, but also want direct mail and digital marketing done for them.

There’s a serious disconnect there, and I thought it was worth addressing really quick.

You know the old joke…

Fast, good, or cheap. Pick two.

That’s what we’re really talking about here. “Fast” and “cheap” in particular don’t live well together when it comes to marketing, so you must set realistic expectations. If you want it all done for you, it’s not going to be cheap.

For example, if you want to hire me to create a 100% custom, self-contained, turnkey, multi-media, multi-channel tax resolution sales and marketing funnel for your firm, you’re going to pay me between $75,000 and $100,000 to build it all, and it’s going to take 3 to 6 months. On top of that, I won’t even entertain the idea of doing it unless you’re willing to commit no less than $5,000 per month for two solid years in order to implement the system. (Just for the record, I no longer offer this service).

Contrast that with the “poor marketing” model, where you have more time on your hands than money to invest into growing your tax firm.

Under that model, you can, just as an example, invest just $67 into my detailed, step-by-step ebook for Creating Online Tax Client Lead Funnels and start with at least the digital marketing component yourself. It’s going to take you a lot longer. You’re going to spend a lot more time testing different headlines and offers to find what works for your firm and your target clients. You’re going to have periods of frustration. You’re going to end up with lots of questions along the way, and have to spend time seeking answers.

BUT…

You can get it done within the confines of a tight budget.

I know this might sound a bit discouraging. But I think it’s important for all tax firm partners and owners to run their practices from a solid foundation of reality in order to properly managed limited resources.

Managing limited resources appears to be a topic of interest, so expect to see more of that on the blog going forward.… Continue reading