At www.CPAMarketingGenius.com, we’re all about helping your grow your CPA practice. That’s why in this blog post, we’re about to reveal THE easiest and most cost-effective way to do it.
By cross-selling your services.
The best example I can share is from my own CPA firm, The Omar Group. With great success, we cross-sell year-round accounting and tax services to our QuickBooks consulting clients. And I’m about to tell you exactly how we do it so you can duplicate our efforts in your firm.
One of the marketing channels my firm uses to attract new leads is the www.intuit.com website. One of our QuickBooks ProAdvisors has a profile there detailing the services we offer, client reviews, and our contact information.
When we first started getting these QuickBooks consulting engagements, we noticed something: we were doing a poor job of converting QuickBooks clients to year-round accounting clients.
Our revenue-per-client comprised only the initial block of consulting time sold. Keep in mind that our lead generation costs were THE SAME, whether we provided services to a client who paid us $750 for QuickBooks consulting, or $4,750 for further services.
This realization is what drove me to devise a specific cross-selling campaign – three clearly-defined steps, which we continue to use to this day.
Step One: The Packet.
My QuickBooks ProAdvisor hands the client a packet of information about our year-round accounting and tax services. Inside, a cover letter is titled, “What if the services you just received were free?”
In order to make it as easy as possible for the ProAdvisor to do this (and also to ensure that the experience is consistent in every instance), I wrote up a script. Here’s what my QuickBooks ProAdvisor says as she places the packet in the client’s hands:
“Before I go, I just wanted to leave you some information about our firm. You’ll find a book inside, written by the firm’s owner, Salim Omar. It addresses issues facing small business owners like you, so I think you’ll find it interesting. Also, you should know that we work very differently from most CPA firms. Salim takes a very proactive approach with our business clients. He meets with them throughout the year to show them how to maximize their finances and minimize their tax burden using the QuickBooks reports. Inside the packet you’ll find an offer that enables you to get full credit for the fees you paid for your QuickBooks services. It’s a credit you can apply towards future accounting and tax services with The Omar Group.”
Step Two: The Follow-Up Call.
Two days after the QuickBooks visit, a member of my team places a follow-up telephone call to the client, saying something like this:
“Hello Mr. Jones, this is Sally from The Omar Group. Our QuickBooks doctor, Anne Smith, was there on Tuesday. This is just a courtesy call to make sure you’re happy with the services and all your questions were answered.”
The client will tell you everything was great – we hope!
“I’m glad to hear that,” Sally says. “I just wanted to take a minute to share with you how you can get full credit for the fees you paid for your QuickBooks services. We specialize in working with small businesses, and we work a little differently from most CPA firms. We meet with our business clients throughout the year to show them how to maximize their finances and minimize their tax burden using the QuickBooks reports. Would you be interested in setting aside some time to discuss this with our president and CPA, Salim Omar? When you meet with Salim, he’ll share with you how to receive full credit for the fees you paid for our QuickBooks services towards future tax and accountancy services with The Omar Group.”
Next, Sally schedules the appointment between me and the client.
Oh, I see. Sounds too easy? You mean, the client might actually say “no”?
You’re right. Sometimes that happens. That’s why I’ve devised a plan for dealing with objections – and here it is:
Objection #1: “But I’ve had my accountant for twenty years! I don’t need anyone else.”
Response: “I can understand that. The purpose of your meeting with Salim is simply to explore your options, let you see what else is out there. We’ve noticed many small business owners overpaying their taxes, simply because they don’t have someone watching closely. Salim will be able to tell if you’re overpaying your taxes when he meets with you.”
Objection #2: “I already meet with my accountant once and year and that’s enough.”
Response: “We find that QuickBooks should be ‘health checked’ several times over the course of the year. Your accountant should be able to look at the financial reports generated by your QuickBooks from the perspective of an experienced business advisor. You deserve a fresh perspective from someone who can help you make sense of the numbers.”
Objection #3: “Thanks, but I’ll pass on this for now.”
Response: “I understand that. Do you mind if I ask why?” Get the real objection. Overcome it. If you feel the client is open to change, say: “O.K., we’ll put your name on our mailing list so you can receive information from us. If you’re interested in meeting at a later point, just contact our office.”
Step Three: The Dollar-Bill Letter.
It’s important to remember in marketing that you should get your message in front of your prospect, multiple times, using different media. In the case of my firm’s QuickBooks cross-selling efforts, sometime after the follow-up phone call, we send the client a sales letter by snail mail. We attach a $1 bill to the letter as an attention-getter. Our letter opens by saying:
As you can see, I’ve attached a nice, new, crisp dollar bill to the top of this letter. Why? Actually, there are two reasons:
1. I wanted to thank you for using our QuickBooks services, and I wanted to make sure this letter would catch your attention; and
2. This dollar bill is just the first of many. Not only does my CPA firm provide QuickBooks services, but we also guarantee you’ll pay less tax and make more money. Keep reading to find out about this unique offer and how you can receive full credit for the fees your paid for the QuickBooks services.
So there you go. A cross-selling formula you can adapt to your own practice RIGHT NOW.
Not only is cross-selling absolutely the EASIEST and most cost-effective way to you’re your practice, but it also provides extra opportunities to “touch” your existing clients, keeping you top-of-mind. Plus, it shows you’re in business to look after that client and their business AS A WHOLE – not just to prepare a tax return once a year and forget about them for eleven months.
Take a look at your client database. I’m willing to bet you’ll discover that the majority of your 1040 and business clients would definitely benefit from year-round tax services, tax planning, or financial planning services.
Identify these cross-sells, and get your clients to realize the potential value you can provide.
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All my best,