I’ve heard other advisors say “it’s impossible” to get quality referrals from other professionals in their community. “Really?” I say. My whole business is built on the referrals I receive from the CPAs in my community. I do no other marketing other than networking with a handful of CPAs and accountants in my area and I have a very successful business. How have I been effective at this while so many others have not? I think it has something to do with our approach.
The right approach
First, our success with referrals started with targeting the right professionals to approach. Not all CPAs are created equally, and only a few will work with your ideal prospects. We identified the best CPAs to build alliances with by asking our top clients who their CPA was–and that’s who we reached out to. My thinking was that if they’re already working with our top clients, chances are pretty good that they work with other clients just like them. I contacted each of these CPAs, but rather than asking them for referrals, I asked them if I could refer my top clients to them. And that got their attention. I met with and interviewed those who showed interest and made them a deal they couldn’t refuse. I didn’t start by asking if we could simply cross refer clients; rather, I asked them if they would be open to working together as a team for our clients benefit.
I then went one step further: I proposed helping each of the CPAs where they need help the most…with their marketing. I helped each of them implement a complete marketing plan as a way of providing significant value to them, their practice and their clients. We help provide them with a new website, monthly client newsletters, weekly client emails and client appreciation and education events. The CPA ends up getting “credit” for the value-added services, and we meet our goal of reaching new prospects we never would have with traditional seminar marketing efforts.
This new method may take some effort in the beginning, but for advisors looking to transform their firm’s practices with a new approach to marketing, professional partnerships are the future and in my opinion the solution to seminar saturation.