Estimated reading time: 2 minutes, 29 seconds

Daffodil ArtWhat do clients and daffodils have in common? Each year, we have purchased bulk bags of daffodils. Over the years we've planted thousands in our garden, but last year we were too busy and didn't get around to it. Spring comes early here in California and by March 1st nature's display is already starting to unfold. As I walked around the garden today, one thing became abundantly clear, our bulb population has suffered because we didn't make time to plant new bulbs.

Compounding that, our existing bulbs paid the price of neglect since we were not out in the yard giving some attention to existing flower beds. With gardening you are always working to stay ahead of natural decay, weeds, gophers, and other pests. There is no such thing as status quo in the garden; you are either moving ahead or moving backward.

I believe the same negative compounding effect is what happens to accounting firms who are just too busy to "market" during tax season. The lesson to be learned - gardening and marketing have a lot in common. You cannot assume past efforts will carry you forward all on their own. You must continually market to have a growing firm; replacing poor clients with better ones and revitalizing your existing clients with a steady dose of fertilizer and attention.

The month of March is your prime "planting" time to harvest new work in the summer and fall. At a minimum you must give extra attention to your existing clients to guarantee firm health and viability.

Pick your top 10 percent of clients.. Make sure to fertilize these clients with new ideas to help their business grow. When you deliver their tax return, include a business building book* or article. Even more importantly, make a date in May to "circle back around" (this is what cool tech people refer to as a meeting) to discuss the book/article and its implications for their business.

By-the-way, healthy bulbs generate more healthy bulbs. Likewise healthy/happy clients generate equally valuable referrals. Marketing during tax season doesn't have to be a big deal. Just focus a little extra attention on your best clients this month. This will yield an abundance of opportunities for you to follow-up with in the summer and fall.

*Suggested books & Resources: - search on "performance improvement" or "critical number"

The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni

Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard

From Good to Great by James Collins

Edi Osborne, CEO of Mentor Plus, has been a leader in training and consulting to the accounting profession for nearly 20 years. Recently named as one of the TOP 25 Thought Leaders in Public Accounting, Ms. Osborne is dedicated to helping firms make the transition from a "service centric" traditional accounting focus to a "client centric" advisory services culture. For more info go to:

Last modified on Sunday, 02 June 2013
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