Marketing lessons from a 310-million-year-old fossil.
Growing up in the 1970s, I remember watching Star Trek and seeing Captain Kirk and the rest of his crew talking face-to-face with Klingons, Romulans, and various other threats to the galactic order on the big monitor on the bridge of the Enterprise. That show was set roughly 240 years from today.
Fortunately, you don’t have to invent a time machine and travel to the 2260s to videochat like that. Just pop into your local Verizon or T-Mobile store, grab yourself an iphone, and you can FaceTime all you want. Even your parents can handle the technology! (Now, if the folks in charge of the future could just come out with those jet packs and flying cars we’ve been waiting on . . . . )
Unfortunately, now it’s tax season, and you’re too busy to talk with Mom and Dad. You’re spending a different kind of face time with your clients. Are you making the most of it?
I’ve worked with tax professionals for north of 16 years now. (If you think it’s depressing I’ve been around that long, how do you think it makes me feel?) One thing I’ve learned is that most tax pros look at “marketing” as its own little silo of activity – something you make a choice to do, and something you carve out special time for.
You may think that spending more time on business development is a good thing. And it is – remember, you’re not in the business of selling tax services, you’re in the business of convincing people to pay you for tax service. Marketing your business, creating demand for your service, and demonstrating why you’re more valuable than your competition are the keys to growing any business. That’s especially true when so many clients perceive you as providing a commodity like tax prep. It’s your job to surround that core service with extra value.
So . . . if marketing is so important, why wall it off into its own separate sphere? Shouldn’t you be doing it all the time? (Spoiler alert: yes!)
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So, January – April is “tax season” when you “do the work” you spend the rest of the year selling. But tax season is also face time season, when you (or someone on your staff) is in contact with every single one of your clients. How can you take advantage of that face time to build your business, even with those clients who already know you, like you, and trust you? (After all, there’s nothing wrong with working to get them to know you, like you, and trust you more.)
Consider these idea, and sit down to make a plan to incorporate them into your business:
Face time with clients is precious. Every time you see or talk with a client is an opportunity to continue marketing your business. It would be a shame to waste all those opportunities!
The Briefs is a weekly column on marketing and business planning for tax professionals and financial advisors looking to better serve clients and grow their business.
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