Clients Make a Business
Let’s face it: without clients, we don’t have a business.
This is true whether you work on the “retail” face of the tax industry in preparing tax returns and offering advisory services to the general public in some capacity, or you work in the “wholesale” side of the business and market your services primarily to other firms.
How do you get clients? Better yet, how do you keep them and when do you have to let certain ones go?
Having Clients in the First Place
There are many different ways to go about getting clients. You may get them as a result of basic canvassing methods such as advertising in your local area or to a specific niche you prefer to service using SEO and other such targeted tools. If you’re coming from a firm, you may be taking clients with you when you leave. Highly active in a particular community or (sub)culture? Client bases frequently are born this way.
However, referrals from current clients is almost always how an independent practitioner or small firm gets most of their client growth.
Client Retention Plans
In the tax business, client relationships tend to be long-term given the nature of advice and consultation that people come to rely on financial professionals for. Having strong attrition rates with satisfied clients giving you lots of referrals is what will ensure your own growth.
However, it’s not merely a matter of that client always getting a refund they’re happy with or feeling that they owe their financial triumphs to your level of expertise that will keep them coming back. Independent practitioners have different concerns when it comes to client retention that even small firms, let alone mid-size and larger, due to the often constrained marketing and communications resources at hand when it’s just you or a very tiny group of people. There’s only so many hours in a day that can be devoted to keeping your clients from straying while you also try to gain new ones.
First, isolate the clients who bring you the most business: whether it’s in the form of how many services you provide them, the number of referrals they give you, or the fees you tend to receive from them. Form a retention plan by organizing how often you communicate with each client: when you reach out to them regarding pertinent filing deadlines, but also employing personal communication when there’s been a change in the industry they work in that could affect their taxes, or perhaps provide other advantageous information. Show that you have been listening to them, as this is what separates you from the larger firms that provide cold impersonal marketing emails meant to go out to thousands of people. That personal touch is what will keep people coming back.
Even something as innocuous as personally acknowledging an A-list client’s birthday, marriage or business anniversary, or housewarming will go a long way.