Regular Client Contact that Gets Read — Builds Loyalty and Referrals


 

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Here's How to Keep Your Clients Buzzing About Your Service!

You already know it's easier to keep an existing client than find a new one. Right?

And you already know that referrals are the best way to find new clients. Right?

So, are you putting your money where your mouth is?

Do you wake up every morning hoping new referrals fall into your lap? Waiting patiently for the practice of your dreams to grow by itself? Trusting clients to spread the word for you so you don't have to market yourself?

Or have you set up systems to keep your current clients and generate those all-important referrals?

Regular client contact is essential to creating the "top of mind" awareness that generates year-round referrals. But client contact is work, and we don't always have the time to do as much of it as we'd like.

Email can be the easiest and least expensive way to stay in touch with clients and prospects — if you do it right. You can't just send them the same generic news they find in The Wall Street Journal. Nobody opens those emails. And you can't write like a stereotypical boring accountant. Nobody reads those emails.

But who wants to learn how to set up and maintain an effective email communication system? Who has the time to write something worth reading, each and every week?

Well, we do. We've done it for the past four years as part of our flagship Press Club program. Press Club members tell us their clients rave about "their" emails. And now, in response to popular demand, we're unbundling those emails and making them available separately. We're calling it TaxCoach "Wire Service." And we're confident you'll agree it's a "must-have" addition to your marketing toolbox.

I've written dozens of sales letters since we launched TaxCoach six years ago. But this has been the easiest one yet. The testimonials pour in week after week. Unsolicited. Seriously, we couldn't buy comments like these. And given all the great feedback, frankly, we're amazed you're not a subscriber yet.

 
"I tried one of your competitors' client emails, and it was no competition at all. The feedback on yours was so much better I switched back after just three weeks!"
 
Dave Toney, CPA, CTC
Cincinnati, OH
 

 

Most Client Emails . . . Stink!

Before we talk about Wire Service, let's talk about most client emails, and what's wrong with them:

  1. They're boring.

    Typical accounting newsletters and emails discuss typical accounting topics. We all know it's important to remember non-cash charitable contributions, use up flexible spending accounts before they're forfeited, and consider prepaying property taxes before December 31. But expecting clients to read those emails is kind of like expecting them to eat their spinach. They know it's good for them . . . but do they really like it?

    Our Wire Service emails have talked about serious topics like the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. But we've also tackled Tax Strategies for Somali Pirates, and written about the former NFL quarterback who's spending a year in jail for beating the snot out of his accountant. Those are the sorts of emails that get opened and get read.

  2. They're boring.

    Accounting newsletters and emails sound like they're written by accountants, for other accountants.

    Wire Service email are short and to the point — typically just 400 or so words. They're written by Ed Lyon, who CNN called "the funniest tax guy in America." Your clients will open them immediately, read them attentively, and let you know they appreciate them!

    Walt Disney once said "I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained." We figure Walt knew a thing or two about building a business, so we've taken his philosophy to heart.

  3. They're BORING!!

    Typical accounting newsletters give readers "the facts" — but then call it a day. You can educate and even entertain your readers all day long. But if you don't motivate them to take action — like calling your office for tax planning, or telling a friend just how good you are — then you may as well not educate or entertain them at all!

    Wire Service emails call clients to action! They generate real buzz, put appointments on your calendar, and add cash to your bottom line!

Here's What Real Clients Have to Say

Now, don't just take our word for it. Listen to what our members hear from their own clients. We'll start with a client of Bev Stitely, in Hagerstown, MD:

"Bev — Thanks for the news and updates you share. I do read each one. The spin, sometimes satirical, does make for a read that is much less dry."

Here's another from one of Rick Lagomarsino's clients, in Sacramento, CA:

"I LOVE your newsletters. What a great style of writing you have! You should be knee-deep in writing a new book! Really, you have a gift beyond the realm of accounting...."

Here's one more from a client of Jim Tures in Loves Park, IL, who happens to be a school psychologist!

"It has now become apparent that you are in the advanced stages of DAH which can prove painful and injurious to those you know as well as yourself. Dry Accountant Humor is contagious and runs right through the internet and can create crazy like behaviors in otherwise normal individuals !!"

How about this one from one of Hal Rosen's clients in Salt Lake City:

"LOL. That's good. :-) I didn't know you had it in ya, Hal!"

And here are two more from a client of Craig Hawkins in Tampa:

"I wanted to give you feedback on this marketing mechanism you are using…I really look forward to reading these little vignettes….Hope others are enjoying them."

"Craig, you know those annoying e-mails that you and everybody sends; that nobody reads? I read yours. They are great. I know you well enough to know you do not write them and use a service. Can I sign up for the service?"

 

OK, How About Some Samples?

By now you're probably ready to see what all the fuss is about. So here's one particularly popular email we sent on October 5, 2010:

After Further Review, the Penalty Stands

Fall has officially arrived, at least according to the calendar, and most of us have settled into our fall routines. School is back in session, baseball fans are gearing up for playoffs, and the National Football League's gridiron gladiators are beating each other up on Sundays, Mondays, and occasional Thursdays.

Pro footballers enjoy high profiles in society, so they tend to make headlines when they misbehave. (Cincinnati Bengals owner Mike Brown has apparently made a specialty of hiring miscreants, with at least a half-dozen accused or convicted offenders currently wearing his team's jersey.) So it's no surprise that former Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Joe Bruner made headlines last week as he was sentenced for battery. The real surprise here is just who Bruner assaulted — namely, his accountant!

Bruner joined the Chiefs in 1976 after playing quarterback for Northeast Louisiana State University. After his pro career ended, he wound up back in his childhood home of northwest Florida, where he eventually wound up owning a local waterpark called Big Kahuna's in Destin. While Bruner may have delighted his customers, he apparently didn't delight the accountants who helped him manage his business.

Bruner's accountant, Wayne Montgomery, testified that Bruner punched him in the eye, pushed him face down into a recliner, and hit him repeatedly in the head, neck, and back at a meeting at Bruner's house last July. Bruner was apparently "upset" with the size of his refund, and accused Montgomery of working for a previous accounting firm that Bruner was suing at the time. Months later, Montgomery reported Bruner calling him at 4:38am and threatening him with the following words: "Battery, battery, battery. You just think battery. Next whipping I'm giving you real battery. I'm going to destroy you and your property in Alabama and Tennessee."

Bruner was convicted of felony battery in August, but acquitted of retaliating against a witness. (Sort of like confessing "I shot the sheriff — but I did not shoot the deputy, oh no . . . .") Unfortunately for Bruner, this wasn't the first time he fought the law — and this time, the law won. Circuit Court Judge John Brown cited five previous incidents where Bruner faced violence-related charges, then sentenced Bruner to 11 months and 29 days in Okaloosa County Jail. Brown also ordered Bruner to take anger management classes, submit to drug and alcohol tests, give up any weapons in his possession, and avoid contact with his former accountant.

The obvious lesson here is that hitting your accountant won't get you more money from the IRS! The less obvious lesson, of course, is that if Bruner had the right proactive plan to save taxes, he would have been happier with his refund in the first place — and therefore wouldn't have lost his temper with his accountant. So call us when you're ready for your plan, and you won't have to risk doing time to minimize your taxes!

 

Here's another . . .

Uncle Sam, Felon?

Recent years have brought us a steady stream of financial cheats, frauds, and scams. Bernard Madoff, of course. Rotting in jail. The guys who brought us Enron. Rotting in jail. Bernard Ebbers, head of WorldCom. Rotting in jail. And . . . Uncle Sam?

That's right, our own beloved Uncle Sam is arguably as guilty of "cooking the books" as any corporate scamster. In fact, if he were running a publicly-traded company the way he's running the government, he'd likely be serving time in one of his own prisons!

Here's the issue. Most of us use what's called the "cash" method of accounting. It's pretty simple, really. Cash comes in, cash goes out, and at the end of the year there's a difference we call "profit" or "loss." In Washington, they call those year-end results "surplus" or "deficit." For fiscal 2010, that deficit was $1.3 trillion, and our total national debt now stands at $13.9 trillion (give or take a few billion).

But publicly-traded companies and bigger privately-held businesses are required to use the "accrual" method of accounting. That method requires them to recognize income and expenses when incurred, rather than actually paid. It's kind of like recognizing you owe 30 years of mortgage payments the day you buy your house. And according to the 268-page Financial Report of the U.S. Government (the closest thing we have to a federal "balance sheet"), if Uncle Sam used the accrual method, the government's "net operating cost" for 2010 soars all the way to $2.1 trillion!

Social Security is the classic example of "off books" federal accounting. Actuaries estimate that over the next 75 years, the system will spend $8 trillion more in benefits than it takes in from payroll taxes and interest on the Social Security "trust fund." And Uncle Sam owes even more for unfunded promises like future Medicare benefits ($23 trillion), retirement benefits for federal employees and veterans ($5.7 trillion), environmental cleanup costs ($300 billion), and loan guarantees related to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac ($600 billion). Those trillion-dollar promises are certainly part of the federal debt. But you won't find them listed in any official balance sheet!

What does this all have to do with taxes? Well, regardless of how we calculate the federal debt, there's only one way to eliminate it. At some point, the government is going to have spend less than it makes. And that's going to mean higher taxes. If you're dreading the tax hikes necessary to close a $1.3 trillion deficit, just imagine what you'll need to pay to eliminate $2.1 trillion!

That's why, as we begin this new year, we're focusing more of our practice on tax planning. If we're going to deliver the most value possible, it's not enough just to look at your finances in relation to where taxes are now. We have to look at them in relation to where taxes are going to be. So look to us for more than "just" a tax return this year. And remember, we're here for your friends, family, and colleagues too!

 

 

Want more? Check out these:

It's Done For You

So . . . the emails are great. And . . .

We don't just write them for you. We send them for you. Our turnkey system ensures you'll never worry about forgetting to send your emails, even in the middle of "the season" or when you're away from the office. (You can send them yourself, if you like — but we really recommend you let us handle it for you.)

We even maintain your list for you. You'll have a dedicated Account Executive to process changes. We also give you a customized online opt-in box with "bribe letter" to get visitors to your website to join your list.

So how much?

Your investment in the TaxCoach "Wire Service" is just $197/month, billed directly to your credit card. That's less than $7 per day for the easiest, most effective marketing tool you'll ever buy. One good client can pay for an entire year of service. And it's competitive with other email services that can't claim anywhere near our open-rate.
 
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Build Client Loyalty

Regular, engaging emails that get opened and get read will build your business. Clients look forward to them. They don't want to miss them! And that means that when the time comes for referrals and additional services, you'll be first on their minds. Like this:

 

"I just got mail from ‘The Big-Time Tax Attorney' here in town. I added him to the weekly Wednesday email blast about 4 weeks ago. Been trying to get this guy on my ‘partnering list' for 5 years. His email comments —

Really like what you're doing with email and appreciate being on your list. How about lunch next week to discuss a client that needs your tax plan analysis?

Partnering with & referrals from this guy can possibly represent tens of thousands of dollars of tax plans. And coming with his direct referral, the tax plan prices will all be top drawer. If anyone is uncertain about the Press Club or the Wire Service, tell them to call me."
 
 

Doug Wamsley, CPA, CTC
Athens, GA
 

Or this . . .
 

"Ed —

I just wanted to share this with you. I received this today from someone on my weekly e-mail list.

Bev,

I am currently a participant in the Martinsburg, Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce "Leadership Berkeley" Program.

My team is investigating inviting someone to visit our class and explain the Health Care Bill and how it will affect local business and individuals.

You seem to be interested and knowledgeable on the bill and I wanted to start a conversation with you about speaking to our leadership class.

Please let me know if you would be interested in discussing this opportunity.

Thanks for your time and consideration,

Rob

I called Rob right after I double checked the TaxCoach site to see if there was a presentation for this topic in the seminar kits. (Of course there is!)

He explained that they were still in the planning stages, but instead of just presenting to this group of 30 in the program, there was the possibility of holding this at the auditorium and opening this up to the Chamber and the business community. What an exciting possibility!

This invitation is a result of the TaxCoach e-mails. The quality of the e-mails has made me look like the expert. The weekly frequency has given me top of mind awareness. I spent no time or effort to get this invitation.

When it comes time for the presentation, I will use your seminar kit. TaxCoach has made this possible, now I just need to close the deal!"
 
 
Bev Stitely, EA, CTC
Hagerstown, MD
 

Or this . . .
 

"Just got back from teaching 2 hr CE for Grand Rapids Assoc. of Realtors. Several people in the audience are already on Wire Service and raved. By the end of the session every Realtor signed up for the weekly emails. Thanks, Ed, for making me the ‘Tax Coach to the Real Estate Stars!'"
 
 

Karen Ryan, EA, CTC
Brighton, MI
 

Or this . . .
 

"Great response — When clients call to set appointments they tend to mention the newswire."
 
 

John Carr, CPA
Richardson, TX
 

Or this . . .
 

"Wire Service plug — The Charlie Sheen email has generated more positive responses than anything I have sent to my clients over the years."
 
 

Ed Lloyd, CPA, CTC
Charlotte, NC
 

Or this . . .
 

"Re Wire service — getting lots of good responses from recipients. Good job!!!"
 
 

John Power, CPA, CTC
Bismarck, ND
 

Or this . . .
 
"I am getting some very positive feedback from my clients. Well done! One even told me he reads every email and absolutely loves it!"
 
Kim Bey, CPA, CTC
Washington, DC
 

Or this . . .
 

"Started email service three weeks ago and response has been great. Clients love it and an attorney and a financial planner that I have not worked with in the past have each given me a referral. Not bad, 2 new clients in only 3 weeks."
 
 

Gerard Viola, CPA
Cedar Grove, NJ
 

 

Are you serious about staying in touch with your clients to keep the referrals flowing? Then how can you say no? Try it today, and see what a boost to your business client loyalty can be!

Sincerely,

Edward A. Lyon, JD

TaxCoach Wire Service™
2619 Erie Ave., Suite 2D
Cincinnati, Ohio 45208
(513) 321-2821

Click Here to Subscribe!

"I just received a call from a lady who has been getting my weekly emails.
 
"She said that both her and her husband love reading 'my' weekly emails, and like the fact that I seem to be proactive with taxes.
 
"She wants me to do tax planning for her! Hmm.... that's $2,500!
 
"The best part is — she owns a bookkeeping services company and works with small business owners and lives in a community with lots of small business owners!
 
"I see
referrals coming
big time! :-)
"
 
 

- Kim Bey, CPA, CTC
Washington, DC
 

 

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