How to Get Clients to Act

Yesterday, we got a great question on the Wednesday Member Call-In:

“Do you have any suggestions for how to get tax planning prospects to actually send in all of their tax returns? I’ve had several people lately send in part of the tax returns but seem to be lagging on getting the rest of the tax returns sent in. I don’t know if this is just because they are suffering from summer-itis.”

Getting prospects and clients to actually do something is a constant challenge. It’s a busy world, and who wants to put together paperwork for a tax plan when there are Pokemon to catch?

The solution, when clients don’t feel a sense of urgency to act, is for you to give them that sense of urgency. How? By appealing to their wallets, of course.

Here in America, we grow up with certain dates embedded in our brains. January 1. (Football! Hangovers!) July 4. (Hot dogs! Fireworks!) October 31. (Candy! Costumes!) December 25 (Presents! Figgy pudding!)

Eventually, April 15 seeps into our consciousness, too. And for most clients, that’s as urgent as taxes get. (For some clients, of course, that’s just the date for filing an extension – they can procrastinate until the leaves are falling off the trees!)

But our calendar is full of dates that you can turn into deadlines to motivate clients to act:

  • If your client pays quarterly estimates, the next deadline is September 15. That’s just six weeks away. If you’re waiting for a planning client to get you their stuff, they need to do it now or risk wasting money on taxes they don’t have to pay, with the very next check.
  • If your client collects a paycheck, the next deadline is their next paycheck. Every pay period they procrastinate is a missed opportunity to file a new W4 and stop wasting money on taxes they don’t have to pay, with the very next check.

Clients engage you for tax planning because they want to stop wasting money on taxes they don’t have to pay. But even that compelling message may not be enough to get busy clients off the dime. Giving them a deadline where they might not even see one is the best way to get them to act!