To your clients and prospects, you are more than just a tax professional.
The image that you portray to your clients will determine whether they come back, whether they refer their friends, and whether prospects become clients in the first place. Your goal should always be to be something more than just a tax advisor, more than just a CPA, EA, or attorney.
In fact, you should be a a super-hero.
Ahem, a what?
Yes, that’s correct. A super-hero.
You’re not just a tax pro: You’re tax slashing, IRS-slaying, expense-finding stealth ninja, fighting for justice and saving the American dream. Or something along those lines.
All of us have elements of our personality that are much “bigger” than other elements. Many people try to suppress these parts of themselves, in the name of professionalism. And yes, with some clients, you’re going to have to continue doing this, because it’s why they come to you. But it’s also important to remember that people do business with people, not businesses.
When you let your personality shine through, and are able to put a slightly grandiose spin on what you do and how you do it (“sell the sizzle, not the steak”), you’re going to get more clients, keep more clients, and just generally engage better with everybody around you.
There’s more here than just client retention, copywriting, and sales, however. People do business with people they know, like, and trust — we’ve been over that many times before. And part of building that trust, and getting people to like you, is to come across as a person, not just an accountant (come on, we all know the jokes!).
We not only need to engage and excite our prospects and clients, but we need to make them aware of our abilities. Very, very few clients care about your degrees, certifications, and experience — they really want the comfort of knowing that you know what you’re doing, and are going to solve their problem. That’s it, that’s what people really want from you.
That’s such an important concept to embrace that I want to phrase it another way: People will give you money if you can demonstrate that you will solve their problem.
What kind of problems? Anything from the IRS poking around their business, or the annual exercise in futility and frustration we call a 1040. Most people absolutely hate dealing with tax and accounting issues — if they loved it, they’d be one of us!
The tax code is complicated, boring, and stressful. Your mission isn’t to make taxes exciting. Rather, your mission is to make taxes EASY for your clients, and you need to communicate this to them effectively. In the process of doing so, your clients and prospects need to find YOU exciting, trustworthy, and skilled at your craft.
In reality, we’re talking about two related, yet distinct, components of the same idea. The first has to do with YOU, the second has to actually do with the work that you do.
Do a brief exercise. When you’re sitting around with friends swapping stories, what are the stories you tell about yourself? What stories do others tell about you? What exciting, interesting things have you done, do you do, or are you doing?
These tales are the things that your prospects want to know about YOU. These stories should be woven into your content marketing, into your newsletter. People want to see you as a human being, remember. On top of that, our society’s general fascination with “reality TV” should be all you need too see in order to understand this concept. People want to know what’s going on in your life, and your family. It’s partly out of nosiness, sure, but it also has to do with genuine curiosity, especially if you are in any position of leadership or authority within somebody’s life (and as their tax advisor, you are an expert and authority figure in the minds of your clients).
So we’ve covered the “you” element. But what about your work? Again, this has nothing to do with your degrees, titles, certifications, etc. This has to do with results. This is where the success stories of your clients come into play. You’ll notice that in the “Done For You Client Newsletter” that I provide to premium subscribers each month, there is a section to add a client success story. People love reading that, and it creates massive credibility for you in the eyes of your clients and prospects.
Now, let’s talk testimonials. So many business owners, especially tax practitioners, think that testimonials are cheesy, and not worth trying to get. The reality is that testimonials from your existing clients always have, and probably always will, carry far more weight in the minds of other people than what you say about yourself. Ask your clients for testimonials. If they make a comment or send a letter about how awesome you are, especially if it is in regards to a direct result you obtained for them, then ALWAYS ask if you can share that with others in your newsletters and marketing.
By sharing your life with your clients and prospects, and sharing the success that you’ve created for other clients, you rise above the herd of tax practitioners out there. You become a small celebrity in some regards, and boost your know/like/trust factor with your target audience.
That is how you become a super-hero, loved by all, paid by many.