By David Wolfskehl
You can lay the groundwork during tax season to connect with clients’ other advisors. This is another important way that you can make tax season a time of opportunities. Although I understand the logic of focusing your time and attention on churning out the tax returns during the “busy season,” I believe you can derive a number of important advantages from brief conversations with key client segments or from looking for opportunities for business development in some tax work.
Tax season is a prime opportunity to find out the names of other key advisors used by certain clients. It could be very helpful to identify such key advisors as:
- Financial advisor
- Insurance agent
- Business advisor
Gathering this information can become part of your process during tax preparation for key segments of your client list. The additional step in the process is as simple as making a checklist that you include in your tax planner. It will remind you to ask targeted clients if other professionals also advise them for business or for personal financial planning.
I have found that many technical partners in firms I work with are trying to build a rolodex. By gathering this information from key clients, you can build your rolodex. After tax season, you can contact the advisors used by your clients and build a working relationship from which you can cooperate to provide more valuable help to the client. You are committed to helping your clients, as are these other advisors. This makes it highly probable that these other advisors will be eager to meet with you.
In the first year, you might decide, for example, to obtain a list of the advisors used by your best ten clients. In the next year, you might do the same with the next ten clients. Alternately, you might discover greater benefit from clients doing business in specific areas and segment those clients. The real point of creating these relationships is that when your client has an issue, you are more likely to hear about it if you have made contact with other advisors. You will be able to offer better advice to your client because you have this information. Thus, you are able to provide greater value to your clients.
It is also very likely that someone who advises one of your top ten clients will also advise other clients with similar needs. The relationship you develop with the advisor can also become a mutually beneficial referral path.
It is the ideal time to lay the groundwork for building relationships with your clients’ other advisors. The dual benefit (better service to your client and a referral source) you achieve will be well worth the investment of time and process change for you and your firm for many years to come.