By Andy Frye
After a grueling tax season, often the last thing you feel like doing is contacting your tax clients. After all, we got into this business so that we could not work for nine months out of the year; therefore, any attempt to force us to work year-round will be 1) treated with contempt, and then 2) ignored. Am I right or am I right? 🙂
And that’s OK, because we don’t necessarily think our clients want us to contact them after tax season, either. Probably all of us have tried, at some point in our careers, the “check in” call during the summer. You know, the miserable, utterly humiliating phone call that goes something like this:
Andy: “Hi Jim, this is Andy, from Pronto Income Tax.”
Andy: “Andy. At Pronto. You know, the people that do your taxes?”
Jim: “Is something wrong? Am I getting audited?”
And it just goes downhill from there…So brutal!
Instead of making horribly awkward phone calls that are more likely to result in you losing a client than anything else, have you considered sending a few strategic emails?
You probably have considered it, and you’re probably not doing it. You know you “should,” but you’re not (we’re guilty too). Is it because you don’t know what kind of emails your clients would actually want from you?
Let’s fix that problem right here in this blog post.
Here are the three emails you can send to your clients this summer, that will actually make you look good–and may even result in you making some extra money.
Email #1 –> Thank You
First email you want to send is just a very simple, but heartfelt thank you.
Here’s some verbage you can cut and paste if you like:
Hey [Client’s Name]!
I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for being my client. That’s all. Just want you to know what I really appreciate the trust you place in me and I’m going to continue to work very hard to make sure that you’re always taken care of when it comes to your tax needs.
If you have any questions of course feel free to reach out to me. Meanwhile, I am wishing you a great summer!
That’s all. It really is that simple. And that easy.
Email #2 –> Trump Tax Changes
This email takes slightly more thought but if you can walk and chew gum at the same time, you’ll be able to pull this off too.
People will be talking this summer about what changes President Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will or won’t be making.
If your clients can hear from YOU how that would affect THEM, then you’re putting yourself in a position of authority and expertise. This email thus becomes an easy and simple way to prevent your client from wondering why they’re paying you to do their taxes instead of just doing it themselves online or going to another, cheaper place. This one quick and easy email will answer that question for the client–even if they don’t read the email!
Check in on the progress of the tax reform plan from time to time, and, when the time seems ripe, pick out a limited number of items that may affect your clients. Build a short “bullet list” of changes, or potential changes, that may affect your clients. Depending who your clients are, these bullet points will be different.
Be sure to not only say what the change is from a technical level (e.g. double standard deduction), but focus on how the changes will affect your clients (e.g. lower taxes for renters).
Include a limited number of bullet points. 3-5 max. Don’t be like Andy Frye and beat people over the head constantly with way too much information.
Maybe you don’t see any reform passing Congress. Nevertheless, this email still is a good idea. In that case your email can say something like:
Congress is talking about making a lot of changes, I personally don’t see it happening, it’s really a bunch of speculation and you don’t need to be overly concerned. If that changes, and changes are actually going to take place, I’ll definitely let you know how the changes would affect you. Until then, just relax and enjoy your summer and know that I am keeping a close eye on these developments, so that you don’t have to.
Picture yourself something like a guard dog–your client wants to know that if the tax collectors start coming around wanting more of their money, you’ll start barking.
Email #3 –> Story that Shows Year-Round Trust and Value
One of my favorite sayings is, “Tales equals sales.” This is something we teach in our new Sales Training for Tax Professionals Program. When you can tell a story of another person who has trusted you and found value in your service, people can “envision” themselves having a similary positive experience.
The saying may sound cheesy but the results speak for themselves.
In this third email, let’s imagine that I’m your client:
I need you to tell me about something great you did for one of your other clients when it’s not tax season.
Examples could include:
- Tax problem you solved (“Terry tried to do her own taxes online, to save some money, and it didn’t go as planned. She brought me a stack of letters and we went to work…”)
- Question you answered (“Terry wanted to start her own business, but she had a few questions. We enjoyed a phone call and now she knows the tricks and traps that face new business owners when it comes to taxes…”)
- Something positive you’re doing in the community (“People ask me why we’ve chosen to support the reading program at the local library. I guess it all goes back to when I was a kid, I had trouble reading. The teacher would call on me to read aloud and I would shake with fear. It was only because I found a reading program at the local library that enabled me to build the reading skills I use every day while I work to decipher this 77,000 page tax code we live with…”)
It’s a good idea to make the story factually true.
And, if at all possible, something halfway entertaining.
Conclude the email with something like this: “Anyhow I just thought I’d share this with you so that you know that I’m here for you if you need me–anytime of the year.”
PRO LEVEL TIP:
Do not give away a bunch of free work when clients contact you based on this email. Turn response emails or phone calls into opportunities for paid work. This email is NOT an invitation from you to the client to come get free work from you. This last email is intended to help you generate some additional income, if you so desire.
PRO LEVEL TIP PART TWO:
Ask the client to share this email with a friend or family member who may need some help similar to what you displayed in your story.
The Friend that Only Comes Around When They Want Money
Ever had a friend (or relative) who only comes around when he or she wants money?
That’s how a lot of tax preparers are: we only contact our clients when it’s time for us to get paid.
You can keep taking that approach if you like but I’m pretty sure, if you look around, you’ll notice that clients now have about a MILLION other options for where to do their taxes.
If you don’t have a personal relationship with your client, and put some work into nurturing that relationship, it’s only a matter of time until that client is gone.
Luckily there are some very SIMPLE and EASY ways to tell clients that you care. Sending a few strategic, non-annoying emails this summer is one of the simplest and easiest ways around. It’s not going to take up barely any of your time and won’t cost you a single dime.
Give it a try and I bet you’ll get some good results.
And don’t forget, after you finish your emails, get down to the beach or go hiking or do something else that does NOT include working year-round like the rest of these suckers! 🙂