Monthly Archives: March 2018

Not the Judge or Jury

We are living in times where controversy swirls all around us. Every day, there’s another breaking story that spreads like wildfire on the news and on social media. After just glancing at the surface, sometimes without even looking past the headline, people decide they know everything about a situation and are ready to cast judgment on a stranger. What we all need is a little more empathy for each other. This concept also applies to clients who have major tax problems.

One of the things that attracted clients to hire me was my ability to find common ground with them. I never judged or looked down on them. I made sure each new prospect knew I saw them as someone who wanted help and to have their finances back on track, and not for the mistakes they made in the past. I’ve had my own trials and tribulations in life and got a second chance — why shouldn’t I offer that same help to someone else who could use a second chance?

Some CPAs, EAs, and attorneys find themselves judging their own clients. Luckily, I’ve found that most people I know who specialize in IRS representation are drawn to this industry because of the intrinsic value they get in helping people, which is awesome. But if you are new to the industry, or one of those in the tax resolution industry who have found themselves feeling less empathic lately, you might want to be more aware of being compassionate toward your client. People who owe money to the IRS are already struggling with the shame and guilt of owing money and feeling like everyone is thinking, “If someone owes money to the IRS, they must be bad a bad person.” It’s important to remember that 99.9 percent of people who haven’t filed in a few years or who owe back taxes are not the sort you would read about in one of our IRS Terror Tale stories. They aren’t bad people who tried to pull one over on Uncle Sam. The reality is that many of them have suffered from some unfortunate life events that knocked them off their feet.

They might have been let go from a job or a longtime career, had a business go south, suffered a serious illness. They may be dealing with the wreckage of alcoholism or substance abuse or the death of a loved one. Some might have needed to raid their 401(k) just to make ends meet, fully intending to put the money back before early withdrawal penalties hit after 60 days. However, their situation didn’t get any better within the two-month time frame, and in addition to owing early withdrawal penalties, the extra income knocked them into a higher tax bracket. After this, their life starts to spiral out of control.

The point is this: Everyone has a story; everyone has a secret; and everyone has struggled with their own obstacles. If someone comes to us for help, we shouldn’t add to their struggles by deciding at a glance what kind of person they are. When people owe money to the IRS, there’s a lot of shame and stigma around it.

I teach a lot about how to market to clients and how to close the client, but the fact of the matter is, being compassionate and empathetic toward a client is probably the best thing you can do to build trust and rapport. Prospects hire you, not your firm. People do business with people, not companies. People do business with you because they feel like they know you, like you, and trust you. I’ve shared many times that I left the corporate world and started my own tax resolution business because I hated working in the corporate world, and then my company grew so large I found myself back in the corporate world, involved with the operations and politics of the business, which is my least favorite part. The last months there, I ended up how I started, working with cases one-on-one with clients, because helping someone have a second chance is the most rewarding part of tax resolution.

michael rozbruch tax and business solutions academy

Providing Great Client Care

I teach a lot about marketing and sales and management, but today I want to talk to you about how to care and have empathy for your client. Sometimes with all the distractions and everything we’re doing today, we unintentionally judge other people.

99.9% of people with tax problems are good people who are dealing with a bad life-altering event that took place. And you know what? Everybody deserves a second chance. One of the reasons why I was so successful in getting clients to retain me was I found common ground with them. I genuinely cared about their situation. I genuinely cared about helping them and getting them the best possible settlement for the lowest amount allowed by law because it gave me such a great feeling inside to actually help someone. I can’t explain that feeling. There’s such an intrinsic value to this business that’s hard for me to put in words. But I found common ground with clients that came in to my office.

When I first started in this business in the prehistoric times, like 18 years ago, and stuff was really getting good for me, I had an IRS problem. I was making a lot of money and I didn’t put enough away for estimates. As a result, I ended up owing a large balance to the IRS. I wasn’t able to just take my checkbook out and write this big check. So I negotiated my own Installment Agreement. And you know what? When I used to tell people that, perspective clients that like leveled the field for them. And it doesn’t have to be something like that, it could be that they talk about their divorce, you can relate your issues with your divorce if that happened to you. When you find common ground with your clients it’s a whole different ballgame. It just drives the needle up over 120 miles an hour.

So, when you meet with clients remember 2 things, have empathy for them, care about their situation, don’t judge them, and find common ground with them and you’ll see that your close rates of people retaining you will soar through the roof.

Until next time,

michael rozbruch tax and business solutions academy

Tax Resolution Marketing Works EVERYWHERE

This week’s question is will this work? Will marketing your tax resolution services work in a rural area? Or am I limited to my local area? Or, can I or should I do this out of my home versus an office?

Well, first of all, yes, tax resolution marketing will work in a rural area. We have many, many members who are killin’ it in rural areas because they realize that 1 in 50 American Taxpayers has a problem large enough that warrants expert representation. Let me repeat that. 1 in 50 US taxpayers has a tax resolution problem that’s large enough to warrant professional representation. Actually, marketing in a rural area could actually be more effective than marketing in a large metropolitan area because there’s a lot less competition. So keep that in mind.

Also, you’re not limited to just your local area. You can market to the surrounding counties. You can market to surrounding states. As a CPA an EA or an attorney in good standing with your state bar or the IRS if you’re an EA, you are able to represent clients in all 50 states with regard to the IRS. So you’re not limited at all to your local or rural area, you can extend your reach to other states.

Now, the second part of the question is – should I do this work in my house, or should I get an office? Well, number 1 is you can work the cases from your home. Personally, I didn’t want to bring clients into my house. That was a no-no. I didn’t want to do that, even though I started my first two months at my dining room table. Even then, I didn’t meet clients in my home. And today, you can lease a suite at Barrister Executive Suites, or Regis Executive Suites on a weekly basis or even a daily basis. You can use their conference rooms to see clients rather than bringing them into your home. In this way, you can bring the work home, but see clients in a professional setting. This is a good route to go because it sets up your positioning and you look more professional. Also, you can use that company’s mailing address and they even have phone service, everything is a la carte. So you can actually have an office without signing a long-term lease and look professional.

Until next time,

michael rozbruch tax and business solutions academy

How to Compete With National Tax Resolution Companies

How can you compete today against all the national tax resolution companies? You know the ones. You hear them on the radio all the time. You see them on TV late at night. How do you compete with those?

Well number 1 is they don’t hurt you as much as actually help you because they bring awareness to the general public that help for these types of problems exists. And let me just say, your clients would much rather speak to you, their local CPA or their Enrolled Agent, or their local attorney, to handle these personal problems. They don’t want to call some 800-number at some large impersonal firm and speak to a high pressured salesperson.

The other thing that those large national companies can’t do that you can is to build local relationships in your communities through your referral sources, through other professionals in your local communities like bankruptcy attorneys, realtors, mortgage brokers, other CPAs who don’t do this work, and other EAs who don’t do this work. So those large national companies don’t hurt you as much as help bring awareness to the general public that help for this exists. So play up the local angle in your marketing messages and build relationships in your local communities and you’ll have more business than you know what to do with.

Until next time,

michael rozbruch tax and business solutions academy

Combatting an Unsuccessful Offer in Compromise

Let me ask you a question. If a client hires you to do an Offer in Compromise and you’re not successful should you give the client their money back?

Well, let me ask you this question. If you hired an attorney in a civil or God forbid a criminal matter, and your case went to a jury and the jury sided in the favor of the Plaintiff, doesn’t the attorney get paid regardless? Of course he does. Well, it’s the same here. And a well-crafted engagement letter will combat any type of refund that the client thinks they’re entitled to.

For example, in my engagement letter, I always put in option 2, or Plan B. If somebody hired me for an Offer in Compromise my engagement letter stated the Offer in Compromise paragraph, and right underneath that, OR, in big bold letters. The 2 letters, the word OR – e.g. “OR a properly structured Installment Agreement and a Penalty Abatement.” This way I was covered because if I couldn’t get the Offer in Compromise accepted, at least I can negotiate a properly structured Installment Agreement and couple that with a Penalty Abatement.

At the end of the day, the IRS is the final arbiter. They have the final word. Even if you’ve been very, very successful with Offers in Compromise and you have a high acceptance rate, but the OIC didn’t go through for whatever reason, you do not have to refund any money back to the client. You’ve earned your fee by representing that client and getting them a permanent resolution. It may not have been an Offer in Compromise, but it’s an Installment Agreement that they can live with, and also you attempted to get some penalties abated.

So in the initial consultation when you go over the client’s duties, you also go over a well-crafted engagement letter. In the letter, you specifically say that the IRS has the last word. There’s no guarantee, and there is no guarantee in this industry, there is no guarantee in this work. Please don’t guarantee anybody you’re going to get a certain resolution for them because that’s a recipe for disaster.

Until next time,

michael rozbruch tax and business solutions academy