LIBERTY TAX Leaked Email Exposes Sleazy Sales Tactics
September 25, 2012
Liberty Tax former superstar trainer Annie Fuller reveals sales tactics using fear, greed, shame and guilt on customers to boost revenue in an internal email leaked to UnhappyFranchisee.com.
Annie Fuller was a Liberty Tax Services franchisee superstar.
UnhappyFranchisee.com has received an internal memo that is also an exhibit in an active Liberty Tax lawsuit. In the email, Fuller outlines the sales process she has used to train franchisees and their tax preparers nationwide.
The questionable sales process promoted by Fuller is based on manipulating the customer’s emotions (Fear, Greed, Shame, Guilt) to get them to accept a seemingly inflated tax preparation fee.
The first, and most useful emotion, according to Fuller is FEAR.
Step One (Fear): Give the customer a “heartattack”
“Fear sells,” writes Fuller. She instructs the preparers to scare Liberty Tax customers by showing their tax liabilities before any deductions, and emphasize the size of the amount due to instill panic.
Start by putting in ONLY and ALL their income…
State clearly “based on your income you owe the IRS $_____”
Use the word THOUSAND if it applies not 15 hundred. 2 THOUSAND 5 hundred dollars. 3 THOUSAND dollars!
If they owe very little or have a refund… you owe the IRS some money right now or you are ONLY getting back $___ dollars.
If Step One is done correctly, according to the Liberty Tax trainer, “they are having the heart attack you want them to have because maybe they cant get themselves out of all that amount.
“they are worried…” writes Fuller. “USE THAT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE… Fear sells!
Step Two (Relief): Be the hero with magic Liberty Tax forms
Once the customer is sufficiently scared (or depressed), the preparer should announce that he/she will now save the day.
Fuller instructs preparers to say “Ok now its time for me to go to WORK (emphasise this word, You’re in good hands, we are going to work together to get this amount lower/refund higher. We [Liberty Tax) will be like the safety net between you and the IRS...”
Fuller tells Liberty Tax franchisees and preparers to begin to simultaneously lower the customer’s tax burden and raise/justify the growing preparation fee in a series of stages.
Liberty Tax preparers are never to name the additional forms they add to the return, just to call them by the amount of Liberty’s upcharge for including the form.
“ok we are only going to ADD (emphasis this word) a $70 form and lets see how this helps you, as you know we ONLY charge for forms we use on YOUR (emphasise this word) return, so we’ll see how well this helps you…
Put in basic sch A stuff but do not educate client on name of form just call it a $70 form…
“Ok based on your income you OWED the IRS $_____ so now you only owe the IRS $_____” or are getting back $_____
at any point if they aren’t actually getting a refund state this even more emphatically “I was able to get you $_____ MORE! ISNT THAT GREAT?” (nod head while doing this to get them to nod back)
“Now lets see if we can do more, I’m going to ADD another $45 form, again we only charge for the forms we use for YOUR return so lets get going.”
Add in a 2106 but again do NOT educate client on what form…
If they have other deductions like vehicle use the same method… we’re going to add a $25 form, let’s see where we’re at now… etc. etc.
Fuller emphasizes the importance of not educating the client as to the names of the forms, and to refer to them by their upcharge value to desensitize the customer before presenting the whopping prep fee at the end.
Former Liberty Tax superstar trainer instructed preparers to use her techniques to boost their tax preparation fees so high ($400 – $650) that she has developed more steps to help preparers actually tell the customers the final fee with a straight face.
Check back for more steps to come…
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