[IMGCAP(1)]Trust me, I realize it is extremely hectic this time of year, and perhaps the last thing on your mind is marketing and sales. Back when I was an in-house marketer the only time I get my accountants to talk with me about marketing during March was on Saturday and Sunday—so I realize the pressure you are under. 

I’d like to offer a quick piece of advice that could add thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars of revenue to your top line before the end of the year. However, you need to act on it now – as it is the best time of the entire year to engage in this activity. And, this advice is based upon the fact that traditionally, the single largest month for sales of cross-sold business is invariably March.

Because you have so much face time with clients this time of year, I need you to shift your thinking from “getting the project done” to making strides toward being a trusted advisor.  So, what you need to do to capitalize on this opportunity is spend a few more minutes with each key client to set the stage for a post-busy season strategy meeting.

How do you do this? Use the project at hand as a transition point. Once you are finished going over the main agenda item, transition the discussion to a more general chat about their business. Understand their current areas of pain, areas of risk, as well as opportunities, positive indicators, and recent successes. Talk about trends and, when appropriate, commonalities you are seeing with your other clients.  Begin to stretch beyond a project-based accountant and become a strategic advisor to their entire business.

However, because you are back-to-back with appointments for the next 45 days, ask your client if you can reconnect with them in late April or early May to “dig in” on some of the key issues you identified. Go so far as to set an appointment to make sure it happens.

Does this seem so hard? Of course it doesn’t. And, if you really look at the extra time investment, you might be looking at 20 to 30 more minutes per key client this time of year.  That’s a total of three, four or five hours more assuming you have 10 or so clients who may fall into this bucket.  Think about it: 10 meetings with clients in May to talk strategy and problem-solving.  Not only are you becoming a strategic and trusted advisor, you are also likely selling thousands of extra dollars of time and projects at the same time.

So, make a small investment in your future revenue stream and set the stage for a post-busy season meeting. It will be a wise investment on many fronts. 

Art Kuesel, director of practice growth and marketing consulting services for Koltin Consulting Group, helps CPA firms across the country hone and maximize their growth plans, build effective marketing and sales efforts, coach partners and managers to greater success and add revenue to the top line. Koltin Consulting serves CPA, law and financial advisory firms with strategic growth, M&A services, executive recruiting and management consulting services. Art can be reached at 312-662-6010 or akuesel@koltin.com.