Recognizing and Rewarding Clients:
Strategic Marketing Techniques
It’s About Rewarding Clients
Find your “CHAMPION” CLIENTS and treat them like kings!
We all have heard of the “80/20 Rule.” It applies to many situations. In this case, I’m applying it to referrals and where most of them come from.
Yes, 80% of your referrals will come from 20% of your clients. Since this is true, you should concentrate 80% of your time finding who is most likely to be in that 20% group and then pour gasoline on that word of mouth “wild fire!”
If you knew ahead of time which 20% of your client base would refer 80% of the new clients to you, I’d say spend ALL of your time “working” that group of clients. Since you have to find out, that means initially, you have to talk to everyone.
Some people will be more receptive than others. Other people will send you two or three clients right off the bat. These clients have a good chance of getting in your 20% group! Set these folks’ names aside and mail out multiple more mailings to them, giving them added incentive bonuses for even more people they send your way.
Your Champion Clients
Now in that 20% group, you will have a few “special” clients. They are what I call CHAMPION clients. These people absolutely love you! They think you can walk on water almost anytime you want. Every tax business has clients like this in their database. If they don’t come out and tell you how great they think you are, watch for “signs” that they are telling everyone else!
A few years back, I had a client come up to me in the lobby of our office and stop me and say, “Do you see all of these people in here, I told them to come down and see you guys.” (I looked around and about 12 people in the room nodded their heads, motioning this was true.) I thanked him for saying nice things about us and I went on my way.
About two days later I saw the same guy in our lobby. I asked him how he was doing and if he was still having his taxes prepared. He said no, but he was just at the office again showing some of his neighbors how to find the place. He then proceeded to call them out by name, pointing to each one. That day there were seven more people waiting in the lobby he had brought to our office and he said three more were coming down later after work.
(This guy was singlehandedly filling up our waiting room what seemed like every day. Over the next two weeks this one client brought us 34 new clients. I’d say he was a champion client!)
Looking back on it now, if I had “half a brain” right at that moment, I should have taken him back to the office, handed him either a $50 or a $100 bill and looked him in the eyes thanking him with sincere appreciation.
I know you have clients in your database like this. You just have to give more incentive to find them. (The good ones aren’t looking for incentive in the first place. But when you offer it, boy it makes it that much better!)
One of our tax offices set our companies’ individual referral record when one guy referred 71 new tax clients in one tax season. (That’s one client referring over 70 new people into our business!) When you find your champions, cross their palms with gold and silver just like you would a king!
Offer FREE GIFTS with “high perceived value” to stimulate your Word of Mouth
The secret to being able to use FREE GIFTS as an added promotion is getting HIGH PERCEIVED VALUE gifts at a very low cost per unit.
Offering free gifts “kills many birds with one stone.” It helps with your unique selling proposition. It helps get attention in your ads. It helps add to the “pile on effect” so you’ll at least get a phone call from your prospect.
Free Gifts do all of these things, but they are NOT the main reasons we use them. The main reason we use free gifts is to STIMULATE OUR “BACK END” SALES (OR GIVE EVEN MORE REASONS FOR OUR GOOD CLIENTS TO SEND US REFERRALS!)
It’s that simple. We routinely spent almost six figures on free gifts alone.
I understand how much it costs to consistently pick up new clients from EXTERNAL advertising. And I can spend the same amount of money (or less) giving these gifts away and get BETTER results in many cases.
And not only were we adding new clients from referrals, but we were “cementing” our client base even more and increasing our client retention to even higher levels!
I’ve had some tax business owners tell me the free gifts they tried didn’t go over so well with their client base. So I asked them, “What did you offer them?” I get the same kind of answers that are, basically, they didn’t offer stuff that anyone WANTED. (Don’t waste your time if you are going to give “stupid stuff.”)
For a free gift promotion to work, you must offer stuff that MATCHES up with your target market. If your main clientele are “blue collar” workers, then have a $6 socket set ready to hand them. (The perceived value of these sets is over $25 bucks.)
You can get wrenches and coolers for the guys and cooking pans, necklaces and cameras for the women. (I can get all of this stuff at wholesale prices from distributors that specialize in items like these from $2 to $6 to whatever you want to pay.)
If you’re not sure about using a free gift promotion, just “test” it the first year. Pick out a few things from a couple of catalogs and see how your clients respond. I can tell you from past experience, a third will not care one way or another. You give them the gift and they walk out with their tax return not really caring one way or another.
Now the next third will be appreciative. They will take some time looking at the options you have for them, and then they will choose and say thank you. (These are your “on the fence” people that wouldn’t normally refer people but now that you’ve given them a free gift, you have a much better chance.)
And finally, the last third of your client base you give the free gifts to will absolutely love them! They will smile real big, get excited and say, “I can’t believe you are giving me this for free!” They will be your big referral clients. (Watch for them as you try and keep track of who might be in your “top 20% club.”
The Take Away
Over the years we’ve implemented free gift promotions, I’ve come to notice something. The ongoing repeat clients get used to receiving a free gift and actually ask about what the new ones are going to be this year.
(Hey, if the most important thing on a client’s mind is what kind of $4 gift are they going to get this year, that’s fine with me. If all it takes to get a client coming back is to offer a free gift that costs me less than $5 bucks and I’m getting about $400 in return, then I’ll give out all the free gifts you want this year and every year to come!)
I recommend B & F Wholesale System for Free Gift products and ideas.
Chauncey Hutter Jr.
Tax Marketing Expert
Chauncey Hutter, Jr, is a best-selling author and leading marketing consultant and success coach to the tax industry. Mr. Hutter grew his father’s $50,000 per year tax preparation business to a multi-million dollar empire with 24 locations, 400+ employees and over 27,000 tax clients all coming from his marketing campaigns.