Most practice owners provide a complimentary consultation for new client prospects. Some take this a step further and provide a Second Opinion. In other words, they will look at the past – usually two – three years returns, in advance of the complimentary consultation, and determine if they could have saved the client more tax dollars. This has been particularly effective in attracting quality business clients, for a variety of reasons:
1) Many are committed/loyal to their current CPA/tax provider and need a solid reason in order to make a change. If they have some vague doubt that their tax situation is not being handled 100% accurately, it is often not enough for them to go elsewhere;
2) A second opinion gives the prospect a chance to find out, if another practice would take better care of them. If the outcome would be the same with the existing or new tax provider, then why change? To know before they go, makes it easier for them to move. The key here is that they can find this out – at no cost;
3) It gives the tax preparer an opportunity to see what is involved in preparing the prospect’s return and to ask more informed questions. He can also often find out what the prospect is accustomed to paying as well as distinguish his services by pointing out what he/she would do better for the prospect;
4) It allows the tax provider to have a more meaningful conversation with the prospect about his/her tax situation;
5) The fact that the prospect has provided previous years’ tax returns usually means that he is more committed to the process, and serious about potentially switching, than if he shows up for the complimentary consultation without any documentation.
Two of the biggest objections to changing accountants are a) loyalty to current advisor and b) uncertainty as to whether they would be better off in new hands. This may be why the Second Opinion marketing campaign has enjoyed a high rate of success. Although I have seen it be very successful, it’s not a widespread marketing strategy – so there is lots of potential for the savvy practice owner to use this to gain advantage!