Networking with CPAs may help expand your business. Local CPAs may have wealthy clients and likely don't offer services that compete with your business. Likewise, you may be able to offer the CPA's services to your clients. To find and work with such CPAs entails following a seven-step plan:
1. Qualifying CPAs
In forming a strategic alliance with a CPA, consider her client base, business philosophy, attention to ethics and client service, services offered, and size of firm. You want to work with those who target your prospects without competing with you.
2. Setting the stage
Meet with qualified CPAs to see if an alliance is appropriate. State your intentions and highlight the mutual benefits of working together.
3. Preparing for the meeting
Develop a series of questions to help you understand the CPA's practice and to address such issues as client retention, revenue generation, business development, and solving clients' financial problems.
4. Meeting day
Share your expertise to gain the CPA's trust and encourage the CPA to discuss client needs he or she wants to address, including tax-aware investing or diversification. Don't leave without scheduling a follow-up appointment.
Reassure the CPA that this is a collaborative effort to share leads and provide client solutions. Offer an example of an "ideal client" from your existing book of business. Ask the CPA for clients who would benefit from your services. Together, prepare a brief presentation on client strategies and solutions, highlighting the benefits of your alliance.
6. Meeting the client
Explain how you and the CPA can work together to solve the client's tax and financial-planning goals. Follow up with the client and keep the CPA informed of your efforts.
7. Closing the loop
Identify the areas in which your expertise can add value for the CPA. Consider opportunities for marketing your joint services through seminars or trade publication articles.