Tales from the Front: Let Other CPAs Do Your Marketing for You

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By Allan Boress, CPA, CVA“Are these right?” asked “Joe”, a new client. He had paid $5,200 for four years of 1040’s prepared by a local CPA, and wanted us to look it over as he owed a bunch of money (plus P & I).

It took us a while of going back and forth with questions (which his CPA had never asked), but we saved him over $50,000 in taxes. Do you think we now have a client for life?

More importantly, we have a cheerleader out in the community who can’t wait to tell everyone he knows how smart he is for coming to us.

Unlike many other CPAs (not all), we just don’t take the client’s info packet and 1099’s, etc., and create a return. We look to separate ourselves from the competition by going the extra mile.

And we make sure the client knows it by telling him or her exactly what we did and how difficult and time consuming it was.

Thus, other CPAs do a lot of our marketing by treating the client as a “file,” not a beloved family member. Our competitors have put dozens of our cheerleaders and community leaders in our target market, by doing the minimum they can by just getting the work out.

Is this overly harsh to our profession? Perhaps; but maybe not. I love my profession and want to build the CPA brand one client and referral source at a time. In a period of over two years of speaking in front of over 1,200 people in our community, only two people responded when I asked, “How much did your CPA save you last year in taxes? What ideas did they give you moving forward to minimize the tax burden?”

We are approaching times when marketing may again come to the forefront as clients go out of business and have to be replaced. The firm that presses forward now by investing in traditional (institutional) marketing and nurturing their firm's apostles (who will carry the word), will grab more than their share of the market without losing a step.

Since most won’t (as it costs money, effort, time, making decisions and changing the way they do business), those few that do will clean up.

By Allan Boress, CPA, CVA – co-author of Best Practices of Personal Marketing” , available at allanboress.com

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