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Jan11

Cross-sell more services this tax season

Too busy to sit and talk with your clients during tax season? In a recent post, Kreston International discusses how you can prepare for a meaningful conversation with your clients and offer more services without taking up too much of your time.

Marketing New Services During Tax Season

Does your firm have a technology consulting practice? Or do you offer strategic planning services? Or, can you help your clients with recruiting, mentoring, or other personnel related services? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, are your partners and staff taking full advantage of the client contacts that will occur over the next few months to market these services? Kenneth M. McCall, Boomer Consulting, Inc explains.

Far too many firms seem to scale back their marketing efforts during this busiest season of the year. Yet, this is actually one of the best times to talk to your clients and update your joint assessment of their business dangers, opportunities, and strengths. As you meet with clients to gather their year-end tax information, ask amplifying questions, and finally deliver their completed tax returns, you have their focused attention. This is a great time to educate them on other ways your firm can help their business grow.

Many accountants would instinctively agree that this is indeed a good opportunity to talk to clients, but they are simply too busy to sit down and have an extended discussion. The key to getting the most information in a brief period of time is to be well organized and have a list of talking points to cover.

At Boomer Consulting, Inc. we try to focus our clients’ attention on the factors of Performance3: Planning, People, and Processes. These factors can form the basis for a brief but meaningful conversation with your clients. A few minutes of focused discussion during the busy days of tax season can result in great opportunities that will cement your value to your client all year long. Consider the following list as a starting point. Expand it as necessary to fit with your own service offerings.

Planning:

· Does your company have a strategic business plan?

· Do you have a technology support plan?

· Do you have an ownership succession plan?

· Do you have a disaster recovery / business continuation plan?

People:

· Are you successful in recruiting the right numbers of the right people for your staff?

· Have you been able to build effective and smoothly functioning teams?

· Do you have a firm-wide learning and training program?

· Do you have a meaningful development and mentoring program?

· Do you have a meaningful performance evaluation and feedback program?

Processes:

· Have you documented your key business processes?

· Have you analyzed these processes for efficiency and the application of technology?

· Are your processes standardized throughout the business?

· Are these business processes understood and followed by those who use them?

In the course of this conversation, you will likely learn what is keeping the business owner awake at night, what opportunities he or she is anxious to exploit, and what strengths he or she is prepared to build upon. This knowledge, in turn, can be the starting point to discussing ways that your firm can assist the business owner in meeting those goals. Many firms will find that they already have the expertise needed to meet these client needs. For those who don’t, if the same answer comes up multiple times, then that should be an indicator that your clients are looking for something you can’t provide and you should either acquire the expertise to deliver that service or form a trusted alliance with someone who can. Either way, your client will remember that you were the source of their help.

Remember, this is the time of year when your clients have you foremost in their minds. Don’t let these opportunities get away. Build yourself a quick list of talking points, run through them with your clients when you meet, and you will reap the benefits for months to come.