Here’s Why You Need a Bone Saw

Our Wednesday member call-ins are a lot of fun, and they’ve become my favorite regular appointment of the week. Yesterday’s was especially lively, and resulted in a spike in surgical equipment sales (!) that will probably have the analysts at the Department of Commerce scratching their heads.

We all use a lot of sophisticated software tools in our business. If you prepare taxes, for example, you use tax-prep software. But clients can walk into any Staples and buy the same program themselves. If you’re a financial advisor, you use software to model asset allocation and investing strategies. But clients can go to Fidelity or Charles Schwab and get those tools online for free.

So, why do clients need us? Well, for one simple but crucially important reason! Just because they can go out and buy the tool doesn’t mean they should be using it.

I made that point on yesterday’s call, and decided to have a little fun with the concept. So I posted the cringeworthy image above on my screen for everyone to enjoy.

In case you don’t recognize it, that’s an old English torture device orthopedic bone saw. And the best part is, it’s only $22.75 (plus $6.99 standard shipping). With a price like that, why would you not have one in your house and cut out all those expensive doctors!?! (Are any of your clients orthopedic surgeons? Those cats average $432,552 per year!)

Surgeons invest years studying and training to use tools like their bone saw. So do we. We invest years studying and training how to help clients navigate the tax system. Yet, patients who would never dream of performing surgery on themselves and their families think they can download TurboTax and perform surgery on their tax bills. They understand how complicated the human body is. But have they ever taken a look at the tax code?

Members on the call had all sorts of comments. Cheryl Morse said it was just like with the latest fashions — “just because they make it in your size doesn’t mean you should wear it.” Ken Meyer was distressed that there were no product reviews on the saw. Kevin Moser thought it was a ripoff, and said he found it somewhere else for $19.95 with free shipping.

But Donna Bordeaux seized the real opportunity when she said, “I’m pretty sure I’m going to buy a bone saw for my office.” What a great idea! What a great prop for prospects and clients who think they can do it themselves. (Seriously, if the folks who give out those MacArthur Foundation genius grants haven’t called her, there’s no justice in the world.)

Donna wasn’t the only one who saw the possibilities. Eric Levenhagen and Kym Mahler both said they would bring bone saws to presentations and networking meetings. And several members actually bought bone saws online while we were still on the call. (What would we do without the internet?) I would have done it myself, except I had to run the call. But I ordered mine as soon as we got off the line, and it’ll be here by Monday.

This won’t be the last time you hear about bone saws at TaxCoach. Next week, we’ll be rolling out a “bone saw” marketing postcard, and we’re open to your suggestions for more resources. But if you haven’t already ordered your saw, do it now. (I want the folks at Amazon to wonder why so many tax professionals are ordering so many surgical tools!) And be ready to pull it out the next time a prospect or client wonders why they should pay you to use a tool they can go out and buy on their own!