941 Marketing Challenge Day 2

At yesterday’s IRS-sponsored “Working Together” symposium in Seattle, the Tacoma Collections Group Manager presented material that was put together by Thomas Kramer, the IRS Collection Territory Manager for the area. In that presentation, two fascinating facts were presented that are relevant to our current line of thinking:

  • As of March 31, 2018, there were $60.3 billion in 941 balance dues, not including penalties and interest.
  • Year to date, 59% of cases that Revenue Officers resolve are business cases.

See why we’re doing this marketing challenge?

Today is pretty simple, and quite honestly should only take you 10-20 minutes, assuming you did yesterday’s exercise.

Here it is, nice and simple: Open up your telephone directory, and call FIVE (or as many as exist, if less than five) local, mom and pop payroll service providers.

Yes, payroll service providers. Small, local ones.

Look ’em up. Call them, say your elevator pitch, and tell them you’d like to discuss a referral relationship. They send you leads, you send them leads.

“Whoa, whoa, hang on a second, Jassen. If a business has a payroll provider, they don’t have a 941 problem!”

That’s what you’d think, right? Well, not so fast.

See, many small businesses with 941 debts did, at one point, have all their ducks in a row. Then, something happened. Maybe it was a loss of a big contract, a death in the family, a regulatory change, etc. All kinds of things happen that turn profitable businesses into clunkers overnight.

So, payroll service companies see this. Because one day, the total payroll + taxes debit doesn’t go through when the payroll service provider tries to run payroll. In fact, they are the first ones to see it. And maybe 1 in 200 of these kinds of payroll providers offers resolution services. So, this is your chance to build referral relationships with one type of non-competing service provider that you can help them, and they can help you.

Tomorrow, we’ll discuss how to take this little tactic to the next level. But for now, go call some small payroll providers, and get the conversation going, elevator pitch in hand.… Continue reading

Why you should become a Certified Taxpayer Representative™

You shouldn’t.

Seriously. You shouldn’t. It provides you with ZERO marketing benefit as a practitioner, because the general public has no clue what it means.

Same thing goes, by the way, for literally every industry certification that exists. As a practitioner in private practice, the vast majority of industry certifications are utterly worthless.

This is a song I’ve been singing for years, and it’s one that I’ll never stop harping on about: The only thing that matters is your license to practice. The rest is just noise.

Industry certifications were created, as in made up, by companies and trade associations to advance branding and recognition of the company or the organization. They are all fabricated — totally made up. A tiny number of them have managed to get themselves codified into statute so that they actually do mean something. For example, many states recognize the Certified Financial Planner designation as a substitute for other testing and regulation for the provision of paid financial advice to clients. That’s a result of good lobbying, and nothing else.

Since the general public has absolutely no clue what our industry certifications mean, what’s required to obtain it, etc., it has zero marketing utility. None. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada. They are completely made up, artificial, industry-only jargon at this point. In fact, to many members of the public, the use of excessive alphabet soup comes across as pretentious, and can actually backfire. Funny British guy and YouTube star John Oliver has gone off about this a few times on his show, including this hilarious (NSFW) bit about financial advisors.

At best, the fancy certificate on the wall makes you look like smarty-smart. That might be about it.

With all that said, why on Earth do I offer not only one “credential”, but TWO?

It’s because YOU like credentials, and those fancy wall certificates.

Yes, that’s why these exist in industries like ours. It’s to make US feel like we’ve accomplished something, and to feel like we’re superior to our colleagues. It’s an ego thing, through and through. Since the general public has no clue what any of it means beyond “CPA” and “attorney”, the only rational explanation for the existence of credentials beyond our license is to make us feel better within our own ranks. That’s the only logical explanation I can come up with. Oh, right, and promoting the agenda of the organization supplying the certification.

So, … Continue reading

The Value of Client Reviews In Your Tax Firm Marketing Efforts & How to Get Them

Having your happy clients post positive online reviews of your practice have become an essential component of online marketing for your tax firm. In our crowded online marketplace, consumers may still find it difficult to ascertain whether your accounting firm, tax office, or tax resolution firm is a legitimate company. Intelligent consumers frequently read Yelp, Google, and BBB reviews to evaluate your company. Potential clients want to find out if your business provides mediocre, poor or excellent customer service.

Take Advantage of Known Marketing Strategies

If your tax practice has received unfavorable published reviews, a reputation management strategy via sound search engine optimization (SEO) techniques can make a difference. Establish the future success of your company by using strategies that promote your business online. Positive reviews enable consumers to know if your company is a reputable business and that you’re a competent practitioner. The following blog post will provide you with helpful information about the significance attributed to positive reviews posted by your satisfied clients. If you want to know how to impress your client base enough to warrant a sufficient amount of five-star reviews, study these helpful techniques.

Do not Underestimate the Views of Contemporary Consumers

If you are a CPA, EA, or attorney, you need to be aware of how prospective clients become aware of your tax practice. Today’s enlightened consumers have ways to check out your company before deciding whether they want to buy your products or subscribe to your services. Reviews make it easier for potential clients to make decisions. Restaurant reviews are good examples. With the help of websites that include Yelp reviews and Google reviews, consumers can read opinions of amateur food and wine connoisseurs before they make reservations at their local restaurants. Prospective customers want to know more about the menu selections and prices. Accordingly, people do not want to waste their time eating at restaurants with negative reviews. The same principle applies to you in your tax resolution marketing, tax prep marketing, bookkeeping marketing, etc.

Positive Reviews Enable your Business to Grow

Consumers do not look favorably on your firm if they are unable to find any reviews. A lack of reviews looks as though your business is either unknown or fails to make its mark in the online marketplace. People want to know whether other consumers are familiar with your services. Plus, the American public is anxious to discover whether your business practices yield poor, average, … Continue reading