The Client Guide Template

By William Hamilton



How to Get Higher-Priced Clients Without Any Selling

If you want more revenue in your practice, there are only two basic options:

  1. Get more clients
  2. Sell more services to your existing clients

What’s the dream for every tax & accounting practice?

More revenue, fewer clients.

Revenue is amazing because it’s revenue.

  • You can pay yourself more
  • Hire more experienced staff
  • And afford the best tech

If you can combine that with fewer clients, then you reach the “paradise island”
of firm management:

  • Less stress
  • Less liability
  • Fewer staff to manage
  • More time to focus on work you enjoy
  • Less work altogether

The problem is, for years, most firms have been taught in this industry to focus on only one type of growth >

  • Client Roster Size.

You “grow” your practice by increasing the number of clients you work with.

But this ignores the more efficient type of growth…

  • Average Contract Size
    You focus on increasing the average contract size for each engagement.

This smarter option is the most efficient way to increase your revenue.

Today’s most profitable are already switching focus to this type of growth.

This is more efficient because:
The effort and resources required to enroll a client,
remains almost constant regardless of contract size.

If I enroll a $350/Year Tax Return Client Compared to a $3,500/Year Tax & Advisory Client,
I still have to spend similar resources to engage both clients:

  • Marketing for them or managing the referral
  • Having a Discovery Call
  • Scoping work
  • Getting a commitment
  • Onboarding and collecting payment

Those steps must happen in each case.

If I executed that workflow for 10 $3,500/Year clients I would have = $35,000

Compared to 10 $350/year clients I would only have = $3,500

This is basic math. 

So why do so many firms focus on increasing the number of clients on their roster instead of focusing on increasing their average contract size? 

The answer is client education.

Most firm owners don’t have a mechanism to educate clients about:
  1.  The difference between higher-level planning services and simple tax prep or accounting.
  2. Why would a client want one level of service over the other?
  3. When a certain level of service would be a good fit for someone.

Most clients don’t know there are things you could be doing for them, but you’re not because they’re not paying for it. 

The only way for them to know is if someone educates them.

What happens when start educating clients?

  • You can let go of thinking you have to “sell” someone our services.
  • You instead invest that time into educating them about their options.
  • You can let them choose what level of service they want.
  • Then you can easily onboard higher-revenue engagements without any selling. 

So how do you provide client education in your practice?

You create a Client Guide.

A Client Guide is a resource you can give to clients to show your value without you needing to personally talk to them.

It can take the form of:

  • A page on your website
  • A video you record and link to
  • Or a simple PDF

Regardless of how it’s formatted, the critical thing is the content and how the information is structured. 

To help with that, we want to give you The Client Guide Template©

Why This Template?

We’ve been working with small firm owners for over 14 years helping them implement better pricing.  

Eventually, a pattern emerged that showed the questions that needed to be answered when a client would enroll in a high-level engagement. 

We’ve studied this pattern thousands of times, with firms across all 50 states. 

Now any firm, regardless of size, can follow this pattern and increase its average fees without having to hard-sell any clients.

Key Elements of the Template

The Client Guide Template© has 6 specific elements you’ll need to include to successfully educate clients about your value:

  1. What basic levels of service can they choose from?
  2. How can they know which option is the best for them?
  3. The best times of year to choose an option.
  4. Why should they work with you over other firms?
  5. The starting price ranges for your primary levels of service.
  6. The logistical next steps for how to get started.

Let’s break down each element. 

1 | What basic levels of service can clients choose from?

One of the most powerful things you can do to help clients select you as their tax pro is to make it easy to choose to work with you. 

You do this by creating contrast.

When people have too many options to choose from, they become overwhelmed and don’t choose anything – analysis paralysis. 

As consumers, we’re already overwhelmed with too many choices every day. 

The key to standing out from other firms is to make “choosing” you easy for your clients.

A choice becomes easy when there is a high level of contrast between two options.


  • Do I want a small economy car or a large luxury SUV?
  • Do I want a hot dog or a steak for dinner?
  • Do I want to vacation in a cabin in the mountains or a suite on the beach? 

Those big choices are easy because I can immediately tell the difference between them without a lot of brain power. They have high “contrast”.

You need to create this high level of contrast in your practice so clients can easily choose between your levels of service without a ton of brain power.
And without feeling like you’re trying to “sell” them on something they don’t need.

We recommend at the highest level giving them two choices:

  • Level 1 | Help reporting their taxes and/or reporting transactions in their accounting.
  • Level 2 | Reporting + Strategic planning to decrease their taxes and/or analyze their books. 

Our data shows these two high-level options:

  • Are easy for clients to understand. 
  • Create high contrast between options.
  • Easily allow you to align your margins to each level of service. 

So in your client guide, your first section would describe these two levels of service and create a contrast between them.

Here’s an example of what that could like in your Client Guide:
  • “We now have two options for working together.
    Our Easy-Reporting option helps you quickly and easily meet your filing requirements with the IRS & State so you can have more time to do the things you enjoy doing. 
  • Our Year-Round Planning + Reporting options combine all your traditional filings with our strategic planning process so you can pay the least amount of tax possible and have the best cash flow in your business.

2 | How can they know which option is best for them?

Once you create a contrast between your two levels of service, you teach the client how to identify which level is best for them.

This usually comes down to specifics in their situation such as:

  • Their income level
  • If they’re self-employed or earn all income on a W2
  • If they have investments or own real estate
  • Do they want help making progress on their goals?

What you want to do in this section is make it easy for clients to see for themselves if they could benefit from some proactive planning throughout the year…

Or, do they just need someone to report and file what has already happened with limited impact on their tax or business results?  

Obviously, proactive planning services will be more beneficial for them if their situation calls for it, but it will also cost more.

Just reporting numbers and transactions that have already happened has less benefit, but also a lower cost.

Here’s an example of what that could like in your Client Guide:
  • “Our Easy-Reporting option is perfect for clients that earn most of their income from a W2 job, don’t have significant real-estate or investment holdings or aren’t at a stage in your life where you want an advocate to help you plan for your future.
  • Our Year-Round Planning + Reporting option is perfect for anyone who is self-employed, has multiple streams of income, has real estate or other investments, and wants to pay the absolute least amount of tax possible through proactive planning.
    • We combine all your traditional filings with our proactive planning process so you can achieve the best possible outcomes in your business/financial life.”
3 | The best times of year to choose an option

This section of your Client Guide is all about motivating action and focusing their attention. 

Clients always want to know if there are advantages or disadvantages when they sign up or get started.

You should address this directly and be honest about your availability.

If you like to take summers off to spend with your kids, make it clear that you only accept new clients Sept-February or whatever your ideal enrollment period is.

Here’s an example of what that could like in your Client Guide:
  • “We only have so many Year-Round Planning spots available, so if you’re interested in that level of service, please let us know as soon as possible. 
  • Once you upgrade to a year-round planning option, you won’t have a yearly bill anymore, you’ll invest a simple monthly fee to cover our work together. 
  • There may be setup or cleanup costs necessary to get you healthy enough to qualify for the planning process, but we will discuss those with you before your enrollment. 
  • If you wish to downgrade to a “reporting only” option, there may be a one-time fee equal to any work already completed for you that year.”
4 | Why should they work with you over other firms?

If your answer to this question is “World-Class Customer Service” or “XX Years Experience”, you’re saying the exact thing as every other firm and clients won’t care.

The key to answering this question is to:

  1. Highlight what’s happening in your ideal client’s world that’s impacting their life or business.
  2. Specifically, outline your process for helping the client reach their goals despite these challenges.

When you do this:

  • You show the client you are connected to their reality.
  • You’re in a unique position to help them accomplish the priorities they care about.

This framework is the foundation of crafting a unique value proposition, but 99% of firms don’t craft an answer to the basic question of “Why should we choose you”?.

The firms that take the time to get this right create a significant advantage.

Here’s an example of what that could like in your Client Guide:
  • “The world around us is changing and the speed of change in the future will only increase. 
  • Many tax & accounting firms don’t offer proactive planning to ensure you’re getting the best possible results in your unique situation. 
  • We’ve updated our approach to ensure we can work proactively to lower taxes, help increase your cash flow, and neutralize threats before they impact you. 
  •  By selecting one of our two options, we can focus our time and attention together on achieving the exact value most important to you and align our work with a process that will benefit us both.”
5 | The starting price ranges for your primary levels of service

You don’t need to get to the penny prices in your Client Guide. 

But you do need to give a fee range if you want your guide to be effective.

Giving a range will repel the clients you don’t want to work with. 

And it will attract your ideal clients by letting them know what to expect and showing them that you’re willing to be transparent.

Here’s an example of what that could like in your Client Guide:
  • “Your specific pricing will be based on your specific needs but here’s what to know about our pricing so you can make the best decision for you. 
  • Our reporting-only option averages about $300-$1,000 per year for individuals that don’t own a business. For business owners, it averages between $700-$3,000+ depending on the complexity of your tax return. 
  • Our Year-Round Planning option averages around $59-$199+/month for individual clients and $199-$999+/month for businesses. 
  • Your exact investment could be more based on the complexity of your needs, the number of services, and how much planning we both agree to in the upcoming year.”
6 | The starting price ranges for your primary levels of service

No one likes walking into a dark room. 

Clients want to know what they should expect next in the process if they want to move forward with one of your service levels. 

Giving them clarity about the next steps will make them comfortable with continuing forward.

Here’s an example of what that could like in your Client Guide:
  • Step 1) Contact us and we’ll review your specific situation to verify which option may be best for your needs.
  • Step 2) We’ll discuss pricing and agree on an engagement that perfectly matches your goals.
  • Step 3) You’ll enroll, and we’ll get started with pain-free reporting or start the planning process for the best possible results!
Quick Review

To get higher-priced clients without any selling, use the Client Guide Template©

  • Focus on increasing your Average Contract Value, not working with more clients.
  • Use a Client Guide to do the selling for you before you ever talk to a client.
  • Make sure your Client Guide has the right content and follows the right structure.

Next Steps

You don’t have to implement this on your own…there are two ways we can help.

  1. Click HERE to download The Client Guide Template©  
  1. If you want to fully automate client education in your practice, but just don’t have the time to do it yourself – check out the SmartPath Engage software that will do 99% of the work for you. (Learn more here.) 

William Hamilton is the Founder of
Over the last 14 years, they have helped 1,000’s of Tax Pros perfect their pricing so they can focus on work they enjoy.