You’re busy, overworked and overwhelmed, dealing not only with work stresses but a worldwide health crisis as well. COVID-19 is creating great uncertainty and business upheaval, and right now your clients need reassurance and to know the importance of how tax reduction planning and other financial and government programs might help them weather this storm.
Building Rapport to Build Trust
Rapport is all about growing a more personal relationship with your clients, and demonstrating that you genuinely care about them and what they have to say. The unique situation we are faced with certainly gives you this opportunity. With increasing familiarity and comfort, your clients will be more open to trusting you to help them achieve their business and personal aims.
The better you know your clients, the more you will be able to relate their personal stories to the valuable solutions you have to offer to help them survive this crisis. Closing a deal can sometimes come down to how well a potential client feels you know them, and how clearly you explain how your planning services will help address immediate and long term needs. After all, this really is a win for both of you.
As you interact over this year’s tax returns and financial situations, begin engaging your customers with questions like these.
“How are you doing this year – and what are the challenges you are facing?”
“What things are changing for you this year, or down the road?”
“What is the biggest issue facing you in your business today?”
“So what’s up next for your family or business?”
Listen for Pain Points
As you talk with your client, listen for those moments where they show concern, fears, goals or optimism. A lot is up in the air now, and many goals close to being achieved may now have to be postponed. Are they struggling with an immediate problem, or ongoing stresses? Whether it’s a future dream or a current problem, these are the opportunities you have to offer your unique services to help them survive and ultimately thrive.
Plant the Seed
Even with a small amount of insight on your client’s situation, you can begin to tie the value of your services in tax planning to addressing their goals or pain points. The COVID-19 crisis will eventually pass, so before you end your meeting, try using one of these methods to put the idea into their mind.
- Make a Value Statement: Share a very clear, concise statement of the value of tax planning. Be action-oriented and outcome focused, and tie the benefits directly to the customer’s situation.
“I offer a unique, customized tax planning service that can provide specific strategies you can follow that can drastically reduce the amount of taxes you pay. That can free up additional funds you can put towards your goal of…”
- How We Do It: Highlight unique differentiators and explain what you do and invite them back in to explore the opportunity.
“Most traditional CPAs offer tax services, but they are not able to offer the insights on how you can actively make changes that can drastically affect the amount of tax you pay each year. With our specialized tax planning service, we could really make an impact on reducing your tax liability, which can offer you some cash flow or financial relief. Would you like to meet in May to discuss?
- Customer Stories: Share another customer’s example and successes. Tell emotional and personalized customer stories. Make it real and tangible, and again, tie it back to how it could help.
“I have a customer in a similar situation to yours, and was able to reduce their tax liability by 20%. With that change alone, they were able to put their son through college. Let’s plan to meet after tax season to see if I can do the same for you…”
- Engaging Question: Close the pitch with an open-ended question creating a space to have a conversation.
“Would you like to meet after tax season to see if we can explore some tax planning opportunities that might help you ‘solve your problem’ or ‘reach your goal’?”
The COVID-19 crisis won’t resolve itself any time soon, nor will the business climate return to normal quickly. In the meantime, we have a unique opportunity to financially help our clients. The information you glean with each client contact, now and as you check back with them to see how they are doing, can give you opportunities to offer your client tax planning services. Business as usual isn’t the case right now. Take advantage of tax season and every contact with your clients to build rapport that will help you earn their trust.