Today’s economic landscape is not as cheerful as we had hoped it might be. Despite a strong stock market the prospect base isn’t growing, and that’s leaving accountants having to compete for a limited client base. To make things worse, improving technology has more and more people doing their own taxes, leaving us in the awkward position of having to compete with software solutions for a dwindling number of customers.
For many clients this recovery has had little to no impact, but for others the last recession is still ringing like a warning shot across the bow. They are really worried about their jobs when the next round of mergers and acquisitions occurs. This is likely to happen fairly soon thanks to a windfall driven by recent corporate tax breaks.
Hard times are a problem for everybody, but they also offer opportunities.
Visit with your business contacts, new leads, and contacts that are well-connected and offer special considerations just for them. Stand out with your willingness to offer unique, highly personalized services.
Start encouraging your contacts to take advantage of 4th quarter tax planning sessions. An uncertain economy creates an opportunity to explain the importance of impact planning to your clients.
The key metric for measuring the impact of successful tax planning is, of course, money. Boosting client confidence has real value, too, however. Being aware of this and taking advantage of a clients desire to feel a sense of security offers a real competitive advantage for your business. Your leadership can give them real hope and confidence, even increases their dependence on you.
By offering your clients comprehensive financial services as part of their tax planning; investing, managing cash flow, and in some cases, planning an estate; you not only increase your billable hours. You also help your clinets reduce their day to day stress. That’s how you turn clients into raving fans and generate referrals.
OK so you’ve planned your session. Now what?
- Listen to and validate the concerns about the current economy. You don’t want to sound too optimistic or you will not seem realistic. Your client is not thinking optimistically.
- Relate the client’s concerns to their situation in particular. A soft recovery affects everyone in different ways. It is not as effective to speak in abstract terms as it is to relate the economy to their particular situation.
- Be realistic that filing taxes is nothing more than a fact of life. This shifts the client’s focus to their lives instead of the act of filing taxes.
- Effective tax planning can bring a sense of security. You need to present strong guidance. One idea is to offer a CPA website reference library, that has coaching topics. This will aid you in providing a sense of direction for your clients and help to improve their lives.
Conducting tax and fiscal planning with well-connected customers is the most successful and inexpensive method of increasing your firm’s visibility within your local area. Your clientele will tell others how your practice did much more than just file their tax return. They will say that your business took the time to help them plan for the future and manage their lives.