Tips to Help you Gain a Competitive Edge
A major key to running a successful business is to build strong relationships with your clients. This will not only improve client retention, but increase the number of referrals you see each year. If you offer the things your clients need – trust, security, and a personal touch – you’ll have an edge on the competition that will help you stand out from the rest.
Here are some tips to help you stay ahead of the game and better serve your clients:
1. Make new friends. Social media is one of the most popular ways to have a web presence these days. It’s also a great way to
provide clients with information that may be crucial to their situation. Offer a daily status update that might help your clients save a little money – remind them in December that it’s time for any last minute charity deductions, or remind them in April that they only have a couple weeks left to file their return or extension. Encourage your clients to invite their friends to your page to promote your company’s visibility and attract new business.
2. Be in the know. Stay current with industry news and trends. Scout out articles in industry publications, keep an eye out for IRS alerts, and search the Web for breaking news. Be aware of tax law changes and taxpayer concerns so you can insure your clients they can trust you to do what’s right.
3. Brag on yourself. If your company has a high retention rate, use that to attract new business. Let potential clients know you have repeat business year after year and explain why. Maybe it’s superior customer service. Maybe it’s because you have your software installed and your staff trained so you’re ready to help clients when that first tax document is received. Or, maybe it’s because your prices can’t be beat, your attention to detail is superior, or you’re open late to accommodate people who can’t get there during the average workday. Clients and prospects alike want to know they can depend on you and your services, so be able to stand behind what you say and follow through with your promises.
4. Know your client. Make a cheat sheet for each client that includes their interests, family names, and life events, and follow-up regularly. Nurturing a client in a way they don’t expect will never be forgotten, especially from someone who may have just lost a loved one or celebrated the birth of a child. Attention to the personal details of a client’s life demonstrates a genuine concern about the client and makes them feel valuable to you.
5. Focus on your strengths. Focus on what you do best and master it. While the ability to offer additional services can be great, try not to get caught up in all the other things you could be doing. It’s better to excel in one area that to fail in many. Be aware of what makes you successful and focus in that direction.
6. Create a safety net. Offer your clients peace of mind by providing a safe and secure way to handle their files. Consider a backup hard drive to store client data in the case of a system crash. Password-protect everything, and consider encrypting files in a way that protects confidential data. Reassure clients you are taking every step to insure their privacy.
7. Put it on paper. Make sure you and your clients understand what you expect from each other. This will help you avoid questions and misunderstandings later. A contact is a form of insurance to backup your company and help you maintain a good reputation. It can also serve as an outline of the services you provide so there won’t be any surprises to you or your clients later.
Your clients are your livelihood. Take care of them and maintain good relationships so that they will return to you for their tax and accounting needs year after year. Make them feel valuable. Let them know they can depend on you to know what you’re doing and to keep them safe. Make them want to tell their friends about you, and watch your business grow.