Today a group of online tax professionals across the country discussed the ways they’ve built their tax practice. I am interested because with two recently added excellent staff members, we could handle several hundred more tax returns.
The clear #1 source of business is referrals. I recently published a blog post for clients and friends titled “How to refer me for income tax services” to make it easy(1). Many tax professionals provide incentives to clients for building their businesses. Last year I added a provision in my engagement agreement that waived the tax return preparation fee for anyone who referred four new clients. I’d love to do some no-fee work under this incentive program this year.
The #2 source of new clients mentioned is Google. I’m late developing a Google business page. In the past I relied on customer reviews posted on a QuickBooks site. But this year I will build up the number of client reviews on Google.
The #3 method mentioned is public speaking. I haven’t done this in years primarily because the business events I do attend for others tend to be poorly attended. I used to teach a night school class in financial planning at a local college and occasionally presented at conventions or trade shows. They are great for building name recognition but I don’t recall them being especially effective at attracting new clients. In any event, that’s something to be considered on a longer term.
(1) A very successful tax practitioner strongly disagrees with my approach. Given his success in building a large practice compared to mine, I don’t doubt his advice. My approach is more about personal level of comfort, not success rate.