I get asked regularly what is the “best” marketing tool to bring in new clients.
Well the answer might surprise you — because you already have it.
It’s your client list.
Yes, you heard me right. And 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).
You’re gonna do an 80/20 deep dive …
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. It certainly doesn’t have to be you doing this work (a high school kid, or a low-paid staffer can do this quite effectively), but it simply must be done.
Export it from your tax software, (and this is where you might get some help) and make sure that you include all of the important data for our purposes here.
Here are the MOST important data selectors [PER CLIENT] which you should cull from your client records, and include in this analysis:
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.
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.
Firstly, give *serious* consideration to 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.
Enjoy your weekend … and as usual, I’ll be back next week with additional thoughts.