Were your results everything you wanted for this past tax season?
Many of our clients did VERY well this past tax season, but I’ve heard from a few (non clients) that they definitely didn’t hit their numbers. Nor did the industry overall, btw — as you’ve probably heard by now, returns prepared by professionals were down over 2% this year, which represents a TON of households turning to the big (bad) software.
Whatever your results, you’ve got two options right now:
1) Find additional streams of revenue for your practice outside of tax preparation. I’m not talking about the standard “financial services” pitch, or even tax planning — both of these have their great merit, but they can be very hit or miss, in terms of effectiveness, marketing, etc. That’s why next week I’m bringing in a very good friend of mine who will open a door for you to a rarified world of different revenue opportunities typically only realized by Goldman Sachs and their ilk. Watch out for that, as I’ll be giving you information about that starting on Monday.
The other option is a non-negotiable.
2) Utilize the best marketing tool you ALREADY have.
Yes, you heard me right — every tax pro has this. Your existing client list from tax season.
The sad reality is that most tax & accounting professionals — with reams of client data sitting under their feet — don’t take full advantage of this powerful intelligence.
So let’s fix that for you this morning. It can be a Friday or weekend project for you … and I guarantee you that if you take it seriously, that you will add 5-6 figures to your annual revenue stream. In fact, this time of year is the PERFECT time to set this process into your annual calendar (especially if you are primarily in the tax prep business).
1) Gather your client data into a “sortable” format. Shoot, many of my accounting clients are a whiz with Excel … but they don’t apply those skills to a datasheet of their clients. Let’s fix that. I hope it’s not you doing this work (a high school kid, or a low-paid staffer can do this quite effectively), but it simply must be done.
Here are the MOST important data selectors [PER CLIENT] which you should cull from your client records, and include in this analysis:
A) Revenue per client
Perhaps the most critical data point, so you can identify your “top 20%” and more fully design your firm to cater to these exceptionals. However, this number should be modified by the next couple selectors.
B) Marginal cost (i.e. how much does it cost you to service THIS client, over and above fixed-cost operations)
Res ipsa loquitor.
Again, put those accounting skills to work, my friend. A-B=C 🙂
D) Business Owner?
Accountants, you know what to do with this data point: CROSS-SELL. You can also reach out to these existing business owners and work out a joint promotion or formal referral-sharing agreement which can be much more powerful than any BNI or other such group.
E) Demographic data
Here is where you go on a “treasure hunt” within your client list. Is there some sort of affinity trend showing up within your list? I.e. are there disproportionate numbers of doctors in your client list? Don’t go with your “gut” on this issue! You may *think* you have a lot of a certain kind of client, but don’t believe it until your numbers back it up.
Are there income trends? Specific, micro-geographic trends which aren’t obvious (i.e. is there an area not immediately around your office which you seem to pull from)? Psycho-demographic trends (i.e. are many of your clients into fly-fishing, etc.)?
2) Use this data, and profit. First off, give *serious* consideration FIRING your bottom 5% least-profitable clients. There’s a good chance that your staff will thank you. Next, identify the BEST ways to reach other clients, similar to your “top 20%”. Chances are, the statistical trends happened for some ancillary reason — so fan those flames, and be intentional about pursuing more clients like them. Buy a list from a list-broker, find other businesses which serve these clients (fly-fishing gear dealers, for example) and strike a referral deal with them.
The possibilities are endless.
But you have to take the time to grab them. Do it now, before the summer comes, and you’ll be armed with an entire marketing plan to grow for the next 12 months.