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Who Is Your Customer? By Andrew Powers

    In this tight economy when small business budgets are so restricted, knowing who your market target is and sending the right message is critical. Media salespeople try to convince you to advertise with them because their media reaches your “statistical” target market based on demographic profile. But this does absolutely no good if you don’t approach advertising and marketing in a manner that first defines 1) what it is that your selling, 2) who needs or wants the product or service and most importantly asking yourself “what is the compelling reason that someone would want to do business with you”.

    When I first hired Ed Greiff, when I opened the Mahopac office years ago, to spearhead my advertising campaign of Powers Tax Services, he looked me straight in the eye without emotion and simply asked me “why would someone want to do business with you?” At first I was set back and took it personally in a negative sense, but then I realized that what he was really doing was forcing me to get honest with myself and define what it was that I had to offer my customer that was not only unique but gave existing customers that compelling reason to want to continue doing business with me. He forced me to identify all common elements of my existing client base and determine what kind of question or statement in my advertising would provoke a new “suspect” client to inquire further and make themselves a “prospect” and hopefully an actual client.

    Ed stressed that suspect customers are people, not statistics. This brought to mind the fundamental rule of marketing that was stressed in my college days of Marketing 101. “Give the people what they want, or make them think they want it”. Now this does not mean that you use forms of trickery or deceptive advertising to convince people to become your customers. What it means is that you clearly define what suspect customers want or need and compare that to what you have to offer.   

    Although it is true that visual images may spark emotion, in reality the right words will control the mental image it conjures. Attorneys and law enforcement understand this which is why they will ask the same question in several different ways until they get the response that they seek. So choose your words carefully, and when combined with the correct visual image, the results will be increased exponentially.

    Instead of asking yourself “who is my target customer”, ask yourself “ why would someone want to do business with me”, and “how can doing business with me benefit the customer in ways that others may not”. Once you have answered these questions you will know what to write in your ads.

    In my business as an international and domestic tax professional, my “target market” is comprised of different people in different locations both within my immediate community as well as across the globe. Understanding the needs of my suspect clients is crucial, but understanding what will cause these people to make enquiries as to what I can do for them is actually more important. During the course of my research I learned to my surprise that not only do local people use national tax preparation businesses, staffed with part time seasonal tax preparers with limited education and training, to prepare their personal income tax returns, but U.S. expatriates as well.

    I asked myself why would someone trust their most important financial matter, their annual personal income tax return, to someone who prepares income tax returns part time, has taken a crash course in income tax form preparation and uses an IRS publication as their guide as opposed to someone who has studied and worked with Income Tax Law, Treasury Rulings and the IRS as a devoted tax professional for over three decades.

    The reason is convenience, combined with a misunderstanding of the importance of having someone with decades of experience available year round, only a phone call or email away. So I asked Ed what he thought made my services unique and attractive. He threw the question right back at me, forcing me to think. My first reaction was experience, training and knowledge of statutory and case tax law. He immediately confronted me with the question “why does that make someone want to do business with you?” I stumbled and thought about it for a while and told him that existing clients 1) trusted me because I treated each one as though they were my only client, 2) I took a personal interest in their situation and provided them with as much information as possible throughout the year using my Tax Power website as well as on a personal basis, 3) I had the knowledge and experience to quickly respond to their existing or new situation and finally that I personally cared about my clients and treated them as family.

    Ed was quick to point out that the factor that I listed last was probably the most important. The fact that I care about my clients. With this he came up with the slogan, “Andy Powers-A Tax Professional Who Cares…about you!” Since then this has been the slogan of Powers Tax Services and Andrew Powers & Company and it is used on my website and all marketing materials.

    In conclusion, before investing a dime in advertising, ask yourself these questions and base your advertising on the answers. Forget about demographics initially, first determine who you are, what you have to offer and why someone wants to buy it. Then select your advertising media considering demographic data.

Copyright © 1999-2015 IRS CIRCULAR 230 NOTICE:  To ensure compliance with recently enacted U.S. Treasury Department regulations, we hereby advise you that any and all tax information contained in this website should not be considered as tax advice nor intended for the use of any taxpayer for the purpose of evading or avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed pursuant to U.S. law. Furthermore, the use of any tax information contained in this communication has neither been written nor intended for the purpose of promoting, marketing, or recommending a partnership or other entity, investment plan or arrangement to any taxpayer, and such taxpayer should seek advice on the taxpayer’s particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor. The information contained throughout this web site is provided without charge, and although all efforts have been made to ensure the reliability of the information contained in this internet web site, the information contained herein should be used for general understanding only and should not be relied upon exclusively as the basis of any tax or financial decisions or for any positions taken on any tax return. Advice should only be obtained directly through the retention of a competent tax advisor. Tax Power is an established trademark of Powers & Company, Inc. and Powers Tax Services since 1999. Unauthorized use of the phrase Tax Power without expressed permission of Powers & Company, Inc. will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Last modified: January 15, 2015 The articles, guides and published information contained in this website is protected by U.S. copyright laws and cannot be reproduced in any form without the expressed permission.

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