The Best Time of Year To Do Marketing: Marketing into a Vacuum – Part One <b>by Allan Borress, CPA, CFE</b>

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"Busy season" is the best time of year to take advantage of marketing opportunities you won't find at other times.

The period of January through April is always very demanding. However, this is the one time of year that is the equivalent of our retail clients' Christmas season. If you are serious about building your practice, you don't have time not to market and sell during busy season.

This particular time of year presents a marvelous marketing opportunity that shouldn't be missed because:

You have so much contact with clients!

25 percent of your new business, as a benchmark, needs to come from clients buying additional, non-compliance services such as retirement planning, succession planning, estate planning, strategic planning, budgeting, inventory control, internal controls, etc.

Busy season is the best time of year to spot and discuss these opportunities, which do not have to be performed during this period, but afterwards, thus filling in slower times of the year.

The idea is to keep one's eyes open, talk to the client about what they are trying to accomplish in their business, spot opportunities, and sell additional work now and do the work later.

Now's the best time to get client referrals

25 percent of your new business, as a benchmark, needs to come from your clients' referrals, because they are familiar with your fine work and know so many other people like them.

Rainmakers generate lots of new business from client referrals that must be actively requested this time of year.

Everybody who comes in contact with you and the firm must receive a simple request such as "Joe, in case you run into someone who might be looking to hire a CPA this time of year, we would certainly appreciate the referral."

It's a proven fact that fifty percent of clients typically don't refer business to their CPAs simply because they don't know their CPA wants the referral.

The days of fearing that you will appear unprofessional for asking for business have long past. Never forget that many of your clients have built their businesses through word of mouth advertising and understand the power of referrals.

By asking for the referral you are planting a seed that otherwise can't germinate into additional business.

Now's the best time to get referrals from referral sources

25 percent of your new business, as a benchmark, needs to come from your clients' referrals, because they are coming into more contact with people looking to hire CPAs this time of year, too.

Bankers, attorneys, insurance people, securities brokers, financial planners, real estate salespeople, business brokers, family and friends, non?CPA accountants, CPAs in other firms who bump into work that they can't or don't want to do ?? all are in a position to help build your business, particularly this time of year. They can't, or won't, unless they know what you want!

Prospective clients are in the market

25 percent of your new business should come from people who don't know you.

Many future clients are waiting anxiously for their own return to be prepared, or doing business with accountants who don't appreciate nor service them properly. Some people have been doing their own return or just moved into town.

Busy season is a time of difficulty for the prospective client who is in the process of the audit, compilation or review. This process is often painful for them, and they are in a mode of thinking whether they have the right CPA or not.

One CPA who attended a Pennsylvania MAP conference that I keynoted, mentioned to the group that he was called by a neurosurgeon client on March first and asked if he wanted to attend a conference that weekend in Phoenix with hundreds of other doctors.

His immediate mental response was that he was swamped with work, but then he remembered what I had mentioned at the MAP conference about marketing during busy season.

Instead of declining this opportunity, he jumped on a plane and went with his client to the conference.

Obviously, he was the only CPA at the conference, and as soon as the attendees found out about his background, he was fielding every possible tax and business?related question he could in every seminar he went to and every place he went.

This fellow returned with seven more neurosurgeon clients ?? not a bad return for a weekend's worth of networking.

There's a lot of publicity about taxes – compliance

Uncle Sam is doing our marketing for us this time of year! It's almost impossible to ignore the free publicity and articles, radio interviews and TV spots devoted to taxes. By marketing during this period, you can take advantage of it.

And there is more concern than ever about the quality of compliance – and non-compliance work – that causes clients to think about their existing relationships and enhance the likelihood of change.

Nobody else is even thinking about marketing

Public accounting is the easiest business in the world. Most or our competitors (and fellow partners) stop whatever little marketing they might be doing to knock the work out.

Therefore, you will be marketing into a virtual vacuum.

Come back next issue for Part 2 on

  • How to Find Time to do Effective Marketing during Busy Season
  • Exactly What You Should Be Doing for Maximum Payoff
  • Who Should Be Involved

Allan Boress, CPA, CFE is the author of The I-Hate-Selling Course, the only training course that completely reinvented the selling process for professional service providers. Visit his website at


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