Now that the March 15th deadline is behind us (phew!), it’s time to head into the home stretch of tax season.
At this stage of the game, it’s tempting to let things slide their way home, across the plate, if you will. But if you want to look back on tax season as the runaway success you hoped it would be, this is exactly when you need to press in — and, in particular, on the “owner level” tasks which only YOU will be thinking about come May and June.
So what does that look like?
Well, next week, I’ll share with you some “guerilla” tactics to start attracting all the filing “procrastinators” you can reasonably handle … but in the meantime, here’s what you should have your staff focus on.
(Yes, I know they’re probably slammed with tax prep — but that’s why I exhorted you above. Remember that you are running a BUSINESS — not just a prep service — and that your staff should, first and foremost, be helping you achieve your BUSINESS goals. Which, for many of you, includes bringing in *more* clients than you had last year.)
1) Go through your existing client files and clearly identify the ones who have not yet made contact — and call, email and/or fax them.
Yesterday, I received a question from one of our clients after I sent out our “Clients Only” Strategy Note, who asked:
First off, thanks for going the extra mile by providing these nuggets of tax practice wisdom. They seem to come at just the right time. Anyway, regarding the calls, do you think it’s best to call multiple times or only once? I have been making the calls and sometimes I don’t get a return call from the client. Also, if I don’t receive a return call from the client, is it a good idea to follow up with a letter? I personally sent a letter to the clients with a rubber band taped to the front with the headline, “Bounce, bounce back.”
First of all, this is a great way to reach out — and cuts through the clutter. It’s a great idea. But yes — call multiple times, not as a “solicitor” (after all, they’ve been a client), but simply because you want to make sure that all of their questions were answered and that they didn’t have any problems filing their taxes this year. It’s received as an “above and beyond” courtesy gesture, rather than a sales call.
So, yes — make sure you touch all of them so they come back.
2) If you have time, do the same for clients from years previous (“lost”) clients. You’d be amazed at how many of them will appreciate hearing from you again, and just might jump back on board — especially if you give them an incentive to do so.
3) Prepare a press release to the media on the topic of tax procrastinators, and all of the special ways your firm is assisting and supporting them. Send that to the media during the first week of April — especially TV and print media. Use the fax to do so — that’s still the most effective way to reach many reporters, simply because many people lazily rely only on electronic means.
4) Make sure you thank your already-filed clients — and ask them for referrals! I’ve written on this before, but very little happens on that front unless you ask. So make it a priority this month to do so. Again, this is a great task for your staff to handle on your behalf.
God bless you and your firm — and don’t relent this month. This is the time for you and your staff to zero in on growth, and not just tax return preparation.