Monthly Archives: May 2014

6 Secrets to Getting Great Testimonials!

Get Great Testimonials!

When marketing your services, obviously credibility is critical to your success. This includes number of years in business, number of clients served, etc. However, “believability” is even more important than “credibility.” The facts about your business, proprietary systems/methods, and cases resolved, years in business and so on are important, but not nearly as persuasive as what clients have to say about their real-life experiences with you, benefits realized and skepticism erased.

Testimonials are one of the greatest (and least expensive) ways to establish yourself as THE expert in your field. Testimonials build trust and establish your “believability” which is essential to attracting and “closing” clients. It gives your prospective client actual examples of others you have obtained great results for. They also boost your credibility when the client raves about the positive customer service experience they had with your firm. When you come into our lobby one of the first things prospective clients see and read is our two “testimonial” books.  Testimonials create desire and motivation; foster an emotional connection and removes skepticism, doubts, concerns and objections. Testimonials “pre-sell” your prospect. Getting a third party to “vouch” for you is essential to growing your practice. Testimonials are powerful social proof that we’re making a real difference in our client’s lives!

1.  Know when to ask for testimonials: Obtaining a testimonial at the end of a client’s case is NOT the only time to ask for one. You should ask for one at different benchmarks in your client’s case. For example, you should ask for a testimonial after you were successful in lifting that wage garnishment or bank levy. They are the most grateful then! Another time you should ask for testimonials is at the completion of the tax preparation phase of the engagement especially if you are preparing multiple years of unfiled returns that resulted in decreasing their original tax liability.

2. What are the right questions to ask? Here’s a list of questions that we ask our clients. You should frame your questions in such a way to elicit answers that you’ll be able to use in your marketing and advertising. For example:

• What is your overall feeling about our firm?

• Describe a particular experience with us that made you very happy.

• Was there any matter or office procedure that you felt could be improved upon?

• Describe one or more benefits you received from us that you value the most.

• How else did you benefit from our working together?

• What results have you achieved since we started working together?

• Would you recommend our services to family or friends?

3. When following up with a client you should have a system in place to make sure you get back the completed testimonial forms. What good is it if you went through the trouble of designing a testimonial system, sending it to the client, and not getting any of them back to use? Most professionals skip this step and wind up with just a few testimonials or none at all. I suggest delegating the follow up process to someone in your office who gives you a daily written update on all clients that haven’t sent back their testimonial to you. This should include name, phone number and e-mail address, date of contact, what was discussed, date client promised to return the testimonial, etc. and keep following up.

4. Pick the correct format depending on where you want to showcase your testimonials you will want your testimonials to either be in written form (most common), videotaped, audio taped, placed on social media or done as a “case study” (a “before and after” testimonial).

5. Putting the finishing touches on the testimonial give it a headline that sums it up in 3-4 words. This headline should “speak” to your ideal prospective client and stand out. Make sure you send the final version for the client to approve in writing and maintain these in a permanent file. Let your client know that you’ll be using these on your website and ask if you can include his/her name, City and/or State, and job title. If appropriate (depending on use) ask for a headshot too. I have done many video testimonials that I used in TV ads that performed quite well!

6. Ready for Prime Time and Share it! Now’s it’s time to share it with the universe. Create a dedicated testimonial page on your website. Use them throughout your website. Use them on landing pages. Use them in your firm brochures and business cards. Use them in all your marketing and advertising. Use them in your consultations/evaluations as a sales tool.   Remember that stories sell. When speaking with a prospect relate a testimonial story from someone you already achieved great results for that had the same or similar fact set. You want to show your prospect that you “get” their struggles and how you’ve helped others overcome these same problems.

Do you have a testimonial system that you are using on a regular basis? What part of your testimonial system are you going to improve on this month?

Are You Committing This Advertising Mistake?

One of the biggest mistakes that the majority of attorneys, CPAs and Enrolled Agents make… and most don’t even realize it, is their marketing is all about them and not their prospective clients.

This occurs mostly because they are copying what other professional practices do. Plus, I believe professionals experience some confusion when reviewing advertising ethics that different organizations direct towards their professional practices.

What is this big mistake? Their copy is company-focused instead of client-focused. What I mean by “company-focused” is that the ad or webpage, etc. is all about the professional provider when it should be “client-focused” or all about the consumer.

You see, truth be told, your clients aren’t really concerned about your credentials and accolades. They want to know what you can do for them. They want to know… can you really help them…can you solve their problems… and give them what they want and need? In other words, your ad should be about them—not you.

For example, the following is typical copy found on a professional provider’s website:  “Founded in 2001, we are the area’s leading provider of IRS Representation services with a proven track record. Our approach combines an innovative team-based structure with our highly developed four-part strategic communication and service method.”

Can you see how it’s focused on the provider?

Change this to be about the client and your copy might say: “You’ll get immediate relief and the peace of mind you deserve knowing that all IRS communications and correspondence are handled by our firm. Generally, you’ll never have to meet or speak with the IRS.  We’re committed to obtaining the best possible outcome concerning your IRS matter.”

Here are three ways you can make your Tax Resolution practice advertising more client-centric:

1)   Highlight the benefits. When designing your ad, make your headline benefit-oriented and include all the benefits your prospective client can get by using your services.

2)   Strengthen your ad with client stories/testimonials. In professional advertising, ethics guidelines talk a lot about truth and trust in advertising. Trust is important because people are skeptics.

One of the best, most effective ways to build trust and strengthen your advertising claim is to let your clients do the talking for you. This is because a client’s story is much more believable than what you can say about yourself. And… it won’t make you look self-absorbed. Plus, not only do people love stories, but your client success stories help differentiate you and break through the constant barrage of marketing messages they see.

Imagine reading a statement like this: “[insert your or your firm’s name] reduced my IRS tax liability from $57,000 to $3,750 through the IRS’s Offer in Compromise program. They helped me overcome my fear of the IRS and were very patient with me.  They always returned my phone calls and explained the process in layman’s terms. Now, I can finally get on with my life”.

To strengthen your testimonial story even further,

•Ask clients who match your ideal target audience. The more these people resonate with your ideal target market, the more your ideal prospects can relate. Look for people whose occupation, age and other demographics line up.

•Ask your client if you can use their picture. Including a picture, especially when the demographics line up, will help your ideal prospect identify with you even further.

•Include pertinent details. Of course you’ll want to include your client’s first and last name. Also, when possible, include their age and occupation too. This will make the testimonial more believable, further reflect matches and can even build credibility.

For instance, if your target audience includes military personnel then adding the terms “veteran” or “military officer” could help strengthen trust. Offer them choices. Let your client be the one to decide how they to respond by giving them choices.

For example, you might offer a web form, a phone number to call you directly and a click to call button which allows them to enter their phone number and have you call them. To help guide which method they use, promote your preferred method first.

When promoting and advertising your professional practice, you may feel compelled to do what everyone else is doing and talk about yourself and your credentials. In fact, your credentials may be more impressive than any of your competitors, however, when you focus your ads on your client, instead of yourself you’ll be one step ahead regardless of your credentials and closer to creating explosive growth for your practice too.

How Much Is a Lead Worth?

We all want new clients, right?  Everybody out there talks about how much the Lifetime Value of a client is, but successful people focus on a metric that is just as important, if not more so:

The Lifetime Value of a Lead!

A lead (properly handled) is worth more to you than the client who just retained you for their one case in their lifetime.

Every prospective client that comes in contact with you or your firm that doesn’t become a client (which is 90% of them), needs to be handled in a certain way so that they “leave” as fans.  This 90% has value to you in at least two ways:

1. They can become an ambassador and a recurring referral source for you and your firm. For starters, you should put them on your mailing list to receive your monthly newsletter. They may not refer directly, but they may have their own publishing and distribution media that they will promote you in. This is especially true, if they are business owners, accountants, bookkeepers, real estate professionals, mortgage brokers, bankruptcy or family law attorneys.  Someone who likes you can become a permanent referral source who can tell others your story and what kind of clients you take!

2. Leads that fall outside the IRS tax problem resolution arena can be referred out to other professionals, like bankruptcy attorneys.  Having one or more local area bankruptcy attorneys that you can refer to will pay dividends via reciprocation. Depending on your state’s licensing regulations you may also be entitled to collect referral fees.

Let’s say that your average prospect to client conversion rate is 10%, meaning you convert one new client out of 10 new leads received. And let’s say you received 35 leads from a marketing campaign that advertised a “Free Consultation” and cost you $4,500.  The cost per lead then is $128.57. If you marketed your “information” versus marketing for cases/clients you probably would have received at least double (see explanation below) the amount of leads, bringing your cost per lead down to $64.29.

But even more important than that, under the latter scenario you should convert 10% or 7 (70 leads @10%) into new clients versus only 3.5 leads (35 leads @ 10%) when you market (like everybody else is doing) a “free consultation”. You also will obtain more leads which mean more ambassadors and fans (if handled properly) that will refer more clients to you!

You see, when you market your information, special report, book, DVD, website (versus for cases/clients) you open up the “valve” that much wider. When you do this, your overall marketing costs decrease by attracting more prospects to you.

It’s time to look at your business more strategically.

Here’s to Supercharging Your Profits!

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Reducing The Number of “No-Show” Potential Client Appointments

I’ve learned through the school of “hard knocks” that people who have some skin in the game are much more likely to honor their appointment with you than people who don’t.  But how do you get them to put this “skin in the game”?  Your time is very valuable, right? And you only want to meet with people who are serious about resolving their IRS problems and have the money to pay your fees, correct?  You’re already extending a FREE evaluation to them, yes?  This used to happen to me a lot.  Until I figured this out……

To reduce the number of “no-show” potential clients appointments, implement my reservation system.

When you implement my reservation system, you not only drastically cut down on “no-shows”, you increase your close rate significantly.  At the tax resolution company I ran for 15+ years, our reservation system was simple.  We asked for, and a majority of the time, received a valid credit card number to “hold” their appointment time.  If they wouldn’t give us a card number we couldn’t “guarantee” their appointment time and we told them they would be “bumped” if someone, who gave us a credit card, wanted their time slot. They had to give us at least 24 hour advance notice to cancel their allotted time slot if they didn’t want their credit card charged the $100 fee for not showing up or being available.  We adopted the same philosophy that high-end restaurants use.

Our goal was never to charge the card in the first place.  But let me tell you it really separated the people who were serious about getting their IRS problems resolved and drastically cut down on the looky-loos who suck the time out of you and don’t retain you anyway.

People who give you their credit card to hold their reservation with you are 5 times more likely to retain you!

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Secretly Embarrassed You’re Not Doing Better?

  • Are you writing off large chunks of time and MONEY from your billing statements every month because you’re afraid you’ll lose the client?
  • Are you afraid to charge for your time for the same reason?
  • Do you ever wonder WHEN your next new client is going to hire you?
  • Are you struggling with figuring this “marketing” thing out?
  • Are you angry at yourself that you haven’t accomplished more at this stage in your life and practice?

That was me!  I was all of these. I was two weeks away from filing personal bankruptcy.  That was back in 1998.  Then I started to change my thinking and mindset and began figuring this “marketing” thing out.  I went from being retained on a random, hit or miss basis, never knowing if I would have enough money to pay the mortgage, to a steady stream of new IRS Problem clients each and EVERY month. I started working ONLY with clients I wanted to and repelled the rest!

I began working “on” my business instead of “in” it.  

The marketing, and operational, strategies I learned and implemented helped me to build one of the largest, most successful and reputable IRS Problem Client Niche businesses in the country!

One of things I figured out was that being a great CPA didn’t always equate to financial success. It wasn’t until I learned that my service deliverables were secondary to the fact that I was in the business of marketing first and foremost. Sure, you have to be technically proficient, but when you change your thinking to marketing your information versus marketing for “cases/clients” it’s a game-changer and huge advantage to you. It enables you to stand out from the crowd, to cut through the clutter and not be like everybody else out there. How many ways can you say “Free No Obligation Confidential Consultation”?

By marketing your information and educational content you enter the conversation that’s going on in your prospects head, you are casting a much wider net when you market your information (in exchange for the prospects contact info) and it significantly lowers your overall cost per lead, costs to acquire a new client and your advertising investment. CPAs, Lawyers and Enrolled Agents who “get” this new way of thinking, and work it, generally are in the top 5% of earners!!

Showing you how to market your information is just one of the cutting edge, new economy marketing strategies I teach at my Tax & Business Solutions Academy.

My Tax Resolution Domination System & Toolkit is your complete business system. This system is a step-by-step blueprint that gets you more pay-in-advance, high value tax resolution clients than you ever thought possible! Your phones will be ringing off the hook and taxpayers will be lined up ready to hire you!! Go to my homepage for free marketing tips and to learn more about supercharging your profits!!

Visit the home page of www.rozstrategies.com and get my free report on the home page.

What are your waiting for??  Supercharge your profits!

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