We humans have evolved to pay attention to all sorts of seasons as the years go by. I’m not just talking about the usual spring, summer, fall, and winter. I’m talking about holiday seasons, hunting seasons, football seasons, and the like. But none of those are more important than the one that starts Tuesday, after you put away those summer whites that Emily Post says you shouldn’t wear after Labor Day. I’m talking, of course, about Tax Planning Season.
Most people think Tax Season ends on April 15. And that’s true, unless they choose to file an extension for post-season play. But the real deadline, for most of our best clients, is December 31. That’s the last day to organize or reorganize business entities, launch new retirement or benefit plans, take advantage of income-shifting opportunities, and generally suck the marrow out of the 70,000 pages of opportunity that Washington has engineered into our travesty of a tax code.
Now, nobody wants to think about taxes while they’re clinking gin & tonics and hitting croquet balls at their summer homes. But once Labor Day passes, it really is time to start reviewing finances and taking advantage of those opportunities.
If you’re like many TaxCoach members, you’ll bill more in planning fees between now and December 31 than you’ll bill in April for tax preparation. But if you’re not already there, you’re going to need a marketing plan to fill your pipeline with prospective clients. That’s where we come in.
You could create all sorts of elaborate marketing campaigns, online and off. You can book seminars and speaking engagements, attend networking events and chamber meetings, and test eight-step email campaigns to carefully targeted segments of your list. And you should probably try all of those!
But there’s an easier strategy that just takes a little discipline, and it will probably serve you just as well as any of those campaigns. It’s based on what we call the “magic question”:
“When was the last time your tax pro came to you with an idea to save money?”
Pretty simple, right? Most tax pros focus on compliance – and even when they do make proactive suggestions (which is more often than clients realize), they go in one ear and out the other. So asking the magic question can open a prospect’s interest and drive an immediate wedge between them and their current advisor.
So what do you actually do with that magic question? Here’s the system. I even put it in a bullet point so it looks more official:
- Find one bona fide prospect every day and ask them the magic question.
That’s it. Seriously. That’s all it takes. I’ll grant that the discipline is the hard part. But if you can muster up the discipline to ask just one question, just once a day, you’ll be amazed at how easily the rest of it falls into place.
While you’re at it, there’s one more thing you should consider this fall, and that’s attending our three-day Tax Strategy Conference here in Cincinnati, November 15-17. You’ll learn all sorts of tax-saving strategies that you can use to fulfill the promise you imply when you ask the magic question (specifically, the promise that you have the strategies the current tax pro isn’t presenting).
You’ll learn how to market and sell high-fee tax-planning engagements, how to present and fulfill them, and how to incorporate retirement planning and financial advisory services into your practice. Finally, you’ll gain the confidence you need to charge what you’re worth for it all. It’s can’t-miss information that you need to incorporate into your practice!