[IMGCAP(1)]There are several reasons why the fourth quarter is an ideal time to start a new marketing program targeted at current clients. First, your clients expect to hear from you during the fourth quarter to help them plan for the upcoming new year. Second, the volatile economy and unstable political environment (federal and most states) gives us plenty to discuss, plan around, and maximize. Third, there’s no better time than now to eradicate the phrase “I didn’t know you did that.” Finally, you have ample time, despite the holidays, to focus on this type of marketing before another busy season sets in.

In today’s competitive environment, you can bet that your clients are being pursued by your competitors. (In fact, many of my consulting clients are currently doing aggressive prospect marketing offering a no-obligation second opinion on their business tax returns.) This means that you need to be out and in touch with your clients, and there is no better time than the fourth quarter.

You have a great opportunity to help them set a course for next year that will minimize taxes, reduce liability, and maximize financial stability. In addition to this being a proactive strategy, you can also defend against aggressive competitors with your outreach.

Second, the economy and political instability in the U.S. (and around the world) offers a great excuse to have a meeting with your clients. Whether it is to revisit belt-tightening strategies, explore different ways to capitalize on opportunities presented by legislation (pending or actual), or even discuss how the slow recovery affects long term strategies such as succession, these are all welcome conversations for your clients in today’s unstable economic environment. Not to mention, these types of discussions are sure fire ways to help elevate you to “trusted advisor” status.

Third, you can drive the phrase “I didn’t know you did that” into extinction with proactive services communication. Do all your clients know you offer business valuations, fraud examinations, cost segregation studies, and personal financial planning? Make a list, check it twice, and communicate the services (and the benefits of those services) with your clients. I’d be surprised if this outreach didn’t produce an immediate ROI through additional services—with clients who may have been ready to pull the trigger on a service with another provider.

Finally, you have the time from late October through early January. Despite the busy holidays, there is ample time to work up a strategy and begin implementing it before the end of the year. You can build goodwill with clients, be proactive with ideas, and perhaps even increase your billings with an auxiliary service or two. Not to mention, the additional pipeline of revenue and services you can build for next year (when clients say, “I’m not ready yet, but maybe next year”).

So, don’t squander the fourth quarter this year; maximize it, by focusing on marketing to your current clients. It may be some of the easiest marketing you do all year!

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.