[IMGCAP(1)] Nearly every day we are presented with opportunities to recruit new clients and/or strengthen existing client relationships. Sometimes even the smallest gesture of good faith can make all the difference. Unfortunately, too many firms overlook the small stuff and end up wasting an opportunity. Consider a recent event.

The father of my dear friend recently died, so she called me with a few estate tax questions. I was happy to answer her inquires and show her support. I also supplied her with a copy of NOLO’s The Executor’s Guide—a helpful, how-to-like guide on settling a loved one’s estate or trust. She was so appreciative and acted as if I had completely rescued her from what had become an overwhelming and daunting task. This took me aback. From my perspective it was standard practice. At my firm, we hand out this guide to all our clients who suffer a loss of a family member, so I assumed it was standard practice in all firms.

The reality is that it is not standard. In fact, the CPA handling my friend’s father’s estate had communicated with her a few times and only managed to confuse her. In her time of need, this CPA had a golden opportunity to help the daughter of a long-time client and, perhaps, retain her as a new client going forward. Instead, all he did was alienate her and waste an opportunity to connect with a legacy client. It seems like common sense to show support to the family of a recently deceased client…but apparently it is not. Think about it…had this CPA simply offered her the NOLO guide, she would have viewed him as a hero.

At my firm, we maintain a large library of informational material that ranges several topics. We are always offering these supplemental materials to clients to help them understand whatever issue or event is facing them, and they could not be more appreciative. If we don’t have the proper materials on hand, our staff performs a Google search to help clients locate the info they need. Its little efforts like these that keep our clients with us. And best of all, these items are inexpensive to procure and maintain.

Remember, every day presents a new opportunity to reach out to clients and draw in new ones. What are you doing to ensure you are capturing every new opportunity?

Jody L. Padar, CPA, MST, is a Certified Public Accountant experienced with Complex Federal & State Income Tax Compliance for Business & Individuals. Jody is an adjunct professor at Oakton Community College, where she teaches Taxation and QuickBooks Courses. She is part of Intuit Trainer Writer Network and speaks nationally on various Technologies and Taxation. Reach her at jody@matousekconsulting.com.