Bigger Sales = More Profit
One constant you will notice about the ideas put out here at the CPA Marketing Center is the idea that you can and should steal ideas from other industries. Ok, maybe "steal" is not the best word - if you don't like it, try: adapt, borrow or cross-industry application.
Because accounting services are often intangible - the services we sell are tougher to conceptually "package." But don't let that stop you, create a widget or service package that is easy to understand for your customer, then sell it to them.
Here's an idea to try in your practice - consider "levels" of service, and "pre-packaged" service packs. Consider warranty ad-ons. Apply package deals from businesses such as fast food - pair up popular offerings. Learn from your competitors like H&R Block or the other national tax franchises...
From McDonalds, ask: "Would you like fries with that?
Translated to Accounting: "Would you like us to handle the filing of Sales Tax?"
or "Would you like IRS audit protection on that tax return, for $40, if your return is selected for audit, we'll give credt $500 towards the audit fee."
McDonalds sells "value meals."
Accountants can offer a "Corporate Value Package" - where you ensure secretary of state filings are current, and review minutes and alert shareholders to potential problems."
Before you say, "We already do that!" of course you do, but are you capturing revenue for the value you're adding?
Other package offerings would be: "Do you want payroll with that? it's only $xx more per month, which is discounted from our normal rate by 20%"
For years, I've offered a package of services - which allows me to differentiate myself from the other CPAs and accountants in my areas. I'm the only CPA doing it, and for a fixed fee, we provide "the most commonly requested services, plus several more, for a fixed monthly price."
In my practice we are value billing for this services, in that we don't bill by the hour, but our hourly realization rates are quite high.
So think in terms of packages - when someone wants to purchase your services - are you going to serve them a la carte, or the whole meal?
I know just mentioning one of the most controversial pop stars will turn off some readers. But you have to hand it to the lady - she manages to stay in the news every week; wheather with a bomb, or a hit, or an outrageous statement she made last week like: "TV is trash."
As a CPA, I have no illusions that I'll ever be as famous as Madonna. However, that doesn't mean that I shouldn't seek publicity and developing a reputation as a "recognized authority" in my field.
Becoming "Newsworthy" is something every professional can and should do. Becoming newsworhty means tooting your horn, letting people know your opionion, and the more controversial, the better.
If you have the credentials, as a CPA, Tax Preparer, or Enrolled Agent -
have you developed a database of reporters and writers who would be interested in your stories or leads?
do you regularly send interesting items to the reporters in your database?
do the reporters in your area know that you are available for comments?
do you include reporters on your newsletter list?
do you have a specific expertise (such as real estate / estate planning / small business?)
It's not hard, but it is work. A successful PR campaign will result in increased visibility and enhanced reputation. Publicity can and should be leveraged - I'll talk about that later.
I almost forgot: do I practice the above activities? You bet. Here's a fraction of what I've had in the local papers the past few months.
David S. Rachford, CPA-Inactive
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