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06 Jan Countering The Turbo Tax Threat

According to an article in The Motley Fool® :  Intuit reported TurboTax sales grew nearly 30% last year.

Another interesting article in Lifehacker.com posts comments like these from people who are “experimenting” with TurboTax “Most Popular Tax Preparation Tool: TurboTax”:

“Man, we paid an accountant $300 one year because we were SURE we were missing something. Turns out he noted that we had been doing a good job with Turbo Tax. That experiment cost us $260.”

So what does all of this mean for the CPA or accounting firm hoping to keep their clients coming back for tax preparation services year after year and those who wish to attract new tax prep clients? Here are some actions to consider:

1. Don’t take your existing clients for granted. Your standard “vanilla” newsletter is not enough communication.  Get personal with your clients and reach out to them by email and phone often to offer tips, help, ask for feedback.  Make the relationship more customized and direct.  So many CPAs and accounting firms send out quarterly newsletters, but the content is only relevant to “some” of their clients. Segment your audience and customize the content.

2. Communicate to clients in at least 7 different ways: US mail, Email, Social Media, Podcast, Video, online tutorials and webinars, live in-person seminars and talks, online or offline meet-ups. Each time you communicate make sure you give them concrete examples of how they can benefit from a relationship with you.  Always express in real terms what your VALUE is to your clients.

3. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em: Offer classes in Turbo-Tax, Quicken, and Quickbooks.  Become the “go-to” person or firm for all things tax-wise. Enhance your website with financial tools and calculators, discounts on software, subscribe options with membership benefits.

4. Target a niche.  Become a specialist in medical accounting, small business accounting, accounting for restauranteurs or some other lucrative niche within your geographic area. But a niche website is not enough.  For each niche you target, you must communicate in at least 7 different ways and consistently—monthly or quarterly—in order to matter. You must research  and get to know those in the niche and speak their language. If you are not committed to customizing and providing unique solutions for your niche, don’t waste your time and money.

5. Never forget the “OFFER.” Many professionals feel it’s “unprofessional” to offer discounts or freebies, but without the incentive, your communications—-all 7 of them—may end up in the trash.  For each communication, make sure you include a special offer that your audience must respond to quickly to take advantage of the bennies. And the offer has to be something of value that your audience WANTS or NEEDS, not something you feel is easy or cheap to give away.

To be honest, this is just a start. To learn more or ask me questions, please visit AskJulianne.com for free consulting, always with no obligation.

Master the Technology. Conquer your Market.

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