Guest Blog by Dominique Molina, CPA CTC
As tax season draws closer, it is a great time to show your appreciation for your very best clients. Appreciation events not only give you important face-to-face time with your clients, but also present the opportunity for your clients to bring someone along with them as a referral, giving you the opportunity to meet new prospects, while building a relationship with your existing clientele.
While the holidays can present a challenge in adding yet another social event to the calendar, consider instead an “open-house” style gathering over a 4 hour period. This gives people the chance to drop in throughout the evening without a firm time commitment during an otherwise hectic time. The open house also creates a solution if space is an issue and your office simply cannot hold the total number of guests you’d care to invite.
Events can range from the formal to the informal. One Certified Tax Coach on the East Coast treats his very best clients and their guests to an annual lobster dinner in the fall. He considers this his favorite time of year where he can focus on building his relationship with clients rather than just on helping them with tax strategies.
Another CTC partners with her clients to plan and host the event, using caterers, facilities, entertainment, and favors provided by her existing clientele. The clients enjoy promoting their own business and the event creates networking in her community.
Whatever you choose to do, make sure you thoughtfully plan the event and market it for the greatest chances of success. This is one area where mailed invitations are a must. When honoring and appreciating your clients, it is important to make that extra step to ensure they feel valued. While emailed invitations will work, taking the time to create a tangible invitation is a nice touch.
Just like the Certified Tax Coach mentioned above, consider partnering with your clients or vendors to help promote your event. One CTC on the West Coast holds an annual “block party” each summer. Together with her business neighbors, each participant markets to their client list to create a large gathering of visitors enjoying the festivities. Sharing in the costs of advertisements and promotion not only forges a healthy relationship amongst complimentary businesses, but also makes the marketing affordable.
Dominique Molina is President of the American Institute of Certified Tax Coaches, an organization of tax professionals who are trained to help their clients rescue thousands of dollars in wasted tax. In addition to her blogging and speaking engagements, Dominique provides CPA continuing education as a registered educator with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).