One of the very first questions new tax professionals ask is, “How do I get my first client?” There are two basic methods to go about solving this problem.
- Put enough time and effort in promoting your services daily for an entire month, so that it comes out to 48 hours.
- Aim for the first client within 2 literal days.
How can this be achieved? Let's take a look.
First, you will want to put extra effort into promoting your services, plan on spending at least 2.5 hours a day doing so. Also, you will need a website containing a blog. On the website, you're going to briefly explain who you are, provide a list of services and your contact information. Next, you'll provide some content in the blog portion of your website. Some content ideas to post are relevant How-To articles, information regarding tax, and even posts about what makes you a great tax professional or Profit Enhancement Professional. ( Link How Selling Could Actually Hurt your Profits) This builds trust and loyalty within your market. At this point, you'll want to seriously consider specializing. A couple of the more profitable niches within the tax industry are the self-employed (sole proprietor) and the small to mid-size businesses. If you target these businesses, you could be earning $40,000 - $90,000 a year or more with just four to five months of work. (For example: Let's say you were paid $1,500 per business tax return x 50 clients = $75,000).
So how do you get from here to there? Start by using Google, and typing in the names of the businesses that interest you. You'll want to locate their site and locate them on LinkedIn. Next, you'll study the business and find out what their budget is. Are they able to afford your services? You don't want to waste your time on prospects that cannot afford you. It will require some due diligence and research on your part. You don't want just any clients, but instead, you're looking for a specific kind of prospect that will be a good match. You can also find out more about a company by going to Hoovers.com and Glassdoor.com.
Make it your goal to reach out and email at least 60 to 70 businesses a day, five days a week for an entire month. If you multiply 20 days times 2.5 hours, you'll get roughly 48 hours. (60 emails x 20 days = 1200 businesses reached.) Do you think you could snag 15, 25, or 30 new clients out of 1200 emails? Of course! All you need is the first one, and out of 1200 possibilities, you're bound to experience success. Really, it's all a numbers game. The more you reach out, the more clients you'll end up having. However, be prepared for a lot of rejection. You'll have much more rejection than acceptance, but that's part of the sales process. The more rejections you have, the better, because it means that you're that much closer to a “yes”.
Can You Get Your First Client in As Little as Two Days Straight?
Yes. Another method is to let all your family and friends know that you're in business as a tax professional. Ask your brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and extended family if they need any help with their taxes. Let them know that you are there for them, in case they need it. The important thing to remember is to see yourself as a helpful professional when you're dealing with people. While your aim is to make money and be in business, your top priority should always be to help clients and prospects solve problems. Your first goal is to be a problem-solver and solution-finder for your clients and prospects.
You can also pass out fliers and business cards at special events or in certain interest groups, like the Jaycees, bowling leagues, churches, Toastmasters, Chamber of Commerce, Meetup groups, or other groups. You can also take full advantage of Google, Yahoo, and the Internet to find your first client. UpWork.com is an excellent site that has plenty of people needing qualified tax professionals of various levels. So here's a list that will help you snag that first client in as little as two days:
- Yelp – Look for local and statewide tax businesses. Go to the low ratings of 3 stars or less. Read through the reviews and determine whether you could be of assistance to that person who wrote the review. You can use the Yelp Compliment feature to leave a quick note. Next, a private message that person and briefly introduce yourself. Let them know that you're sorry that they've had a less than satisfactory experience and that you're willing to help them if they want. Give them a link to your site and then move on to the next review. You're going to find hundreds of tax preparation chains with less than satisfied customers on just Yelp alone.
- LinkedIn – You can use this social media platform in many ways. You can search for small to mid-size businesses locally and nationally. The reason you're searching for small to mid-size businesses is that is usually a lot easier to reach the key decision maker, as opposed to large corporations. Corporate decision makers usually have several levels of gatekeepers that have been thoroughly trained in keeping you out. Once you locate a company that you're interested in helping, take some time to study their mission statement, websites, blogs, press releases and any other promotional content they may have. If you decide that they are a good fit for you, go ahead and click on the “people” tab in the LinkedIn portal. You're looking for the key decision maker. You may have to register for the paid service, but that can be well worth it.
- Twitter- This is another great tool to find clients and other tax professionals to bounce ideas off. On Twitter, you’ll use #hashtag #keywords that have the # symbol in front of them. For example, to find other tax pros you'll search these hashtags: #TaxPrep #TaxProfessionals #TaxPro. You can also search phrases without the # symbol. There is really no limit as to the number of hashtags and keywords you can search for. Study your competitor to see what's working and what's not. Ask yourself “Why?”. Don't be afraid to say “no” and let go of a prospect that you know you're not going to be able to help or that isn't quite a good match with you. You'll want to remember that you are a problem-solver and helper. You're there to make your clients' lives easier.
If after implementing and putting all these strategies into practice you still don't have a client, then remember that technically you already are your own client, when you do your own taxes. While that may not be quite the same as closing the sale with another person, you can still use this as a mental tool to keep yourself motivated and positive. With consistency, tenacity and persistence, you will snag your first client in no time at all!
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