This time of year, every minute counts. And that’s why there are few things as frustrating as clients that call with pesky, “quick” questions that often, are not quick at all. And worse yet, they suck away minutes from the clock—5 minutes here, 15 minutes there—until before you know it, you’ve lost several hours during your very busiest season and you haven’t been paid a dime.
Not that you want to nickel and dime your clients—you don’t—however, something’s got to give. Your time and expertise are valuable. And you need to profit from answering all of those “quick” questions. Especially, when you barely have time to use the restroom much less answer a random question.
Additionally, you really owe it to your clients to give them your very best answer, and that takes more time than your clients think it does. After all, usually they only give you partial information. It’s not malicious, they simply don’t know any better. So there you are. Digging for information so you answer their questions correctly while staring at the clock and noticing every minute seemingly passes faster than the last. Or giving them an incomplete and possibly only partially correct answer because you don’t have time to do anything else. Or worst of all, giving them all you’ve got and getting nothing in return because billing a client for a 15-minute conversation seems not only like a waste of time, it seems like bad business.
It’s time to stop the madness!
There is a better way. In fact, there are two better ways. Wealthy CPA’s know they have to profit from answering “quick” questions. Here’s how they do it:
They create support packages: A support package is a fancy name for the service you provide every time you answer those pesky questions. Clients love it because it allows them to get their questions answered. And since support packages are often billed monthly via auto draft, many clients don’t even consciously know that little fee is coming out of their account every 30 days. And if they do, it’s low enough that they don’t feel any pinch. They don’t feel nickel and dimed. They simply know they have a question and you have an answer. And you know you’re being compensated for sharing your time and expertise. Win win.
They create tax-planning programs: It’s time for us to treat random questions for what they are – planning opportunities (in most cases.)
For example, a client calls:
- to get your input on which entity he/she should choose. This is not a decision to be entered into lightly. Instead, this is a decision that should be made after, only after, a tax planning meeting has been held.
- to ask if they should buy or lease a vehicle. Translated correctly, you know what they’re really asking is, “is buying or leasing better for me, with my very specific and personal tax considerations?” Again, the only way to answer properly is to hold a planning meeting.
- to find out if they should take bonus depreciation or ordinary or carry back an NOL or carry it forward. You guessed it— tax planning opportunity!
Here’s the best part of selling tax planning programs: they give you a forum to highlight your expertise while getting paid on the value you deliver. Which is a lot more than zero. Nice, right?
It’s time to profit more and stress out less. That’s why this month, our blog will center on how to answer some of the more common “quick” questions you can expect to be asked. Next week we’ll equip you with the details you need to know to nail that pesky entity question, every time—which we absolutely know is not a “quick question.”