A Moral Obligation

Why Are Artists and Tax Pros Afraid to Sell Themselves?

Earlier this fall, Roslyn and I attended a smooth jazz concert with a few of our friends. Roslyn is a big jazz fan, and I’m starting to get there, too. The show we caught, Dave Koz & Friends’ Summer Horns Tour, was part of an outdoor concert series, and the artists were incredible. Dave Koz was playing with other big talent, like Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright, and Rick Braun. It was fabulous — two hours of great jazz music that spanned from Duke Ellington to Kool & The Gang.

We all had a good time, but after intermission something strange happened. Before they started playing again, one of the musicians said, “By the way, we have CDs for sale for $10.” It wasn’t the fact that they were selling merchandise that was strange. I was taken aback by how apologetic he sounded — almost like he felt bad for even mentioning the fact that they were selling CDs at a concert!

There were about 300 people in attendance who were there solely because they liked smooth jazz and these artists in particular. I’m sure a good number of them would have been happy to have a CD, but the guy didn’t even mention where the CDs could be found. I wanted to jump on stage and help pitch the CDs for them! Our friend bought one of the CDs and she listened to it all weekend. She was so happy to have it, and I can’t help but wonder how many other people in the audience missed out on getting a CD they would have loved because that guy didn’t try to pitch himself.

This is the kind of mindset I see many tax practitioners struggle with. They hesitate to market their services or grow their business. Here’s the thing: If you believe in the work you do, like those jazz guys believe in their music, then you should never be embarrassed to pitch yourself. In fact, if you believe in the work you’re doing, then you have a moral obligation to offer your services to as many people as possible. Said another way, you are committing a disservice to your prospects by not helping them to take action and retain you.


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Whether you are conducting your initial consultation or working to convert a hot lead into a prospect, remember that your job isn’t to sell something — your job is to help them take action. If you let a client walk out of your office without retaining you, then their situation will only get more dire. After the jazz concert, I’m sure a lot of people in the audience spent the next day wishing they had a CD to enjoy that music again, but they had missed out. Likewise, people have a lot more to regret when they don’t hire a tax resolution practitioner soon enough.

Clients aren’t paying for your time; they’re paying for the value you deliver to them and your knowledge, and, above all else, they are paying for peace of mind. They’re overwhelmed and in trouble and they don’t know how to save themselves. As a tax practitioner, you know what to do, and you will be doing a disservice to your fellow man if you aren’t taking steps to help as many people as possible get out of trouble with the IRS. Because when someone has an IRS problem, not even the smooth sound of Dave Koz’s saxophone is enough to ease their stress.

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