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Life Health > Annuities

Please Don’t Tell Me You Still Use This Line…

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For the month of April, we’re going to focus each week on the four key mistakes that almost all financial and annuity advisors make in their attempt to work with CPAs. I’m excited for the next four weeks because my guess is, if you’ve ever tried working with CPAs and found yourself frustrated, the insights I’m going to share with you should have light bulbs going off in your head. Let’s jump in with the first and biggest mistake.

Promising To cross-refer clients

Without exception, almost every advisor I’ve ever coached or talked to has mentioned that at some point in their conversation with a CPA, the primary value proposition was promising to cross-refer clients back and forth. While most advisors would think this is a reasonably good idea, in my experience, offering upfront to cross-refer clients actually hurts your chances more than it helps. Why is that?

The primary and most commonly overlooked reason is that this is what every advisor says to the CPA. You see, it’s not that this isn’t of value. Of course, the CPA wants referrals back his way. The problem is, if you lead with this, you automatically get categorized with every other advisor. 

Those of you that follow my blog consistently know that I am a huge proponent of finding ways to differentiate yourself from your competition. This is critical when it comes to your efforts to form these joint-venture relationships. Consider that most CPAs have anywhere between 10 to 15 advisors a month coming through their office, offering to send the CPA clients if the CPA will do the same. The problem is, the CPA has heard this so many times. As soon as you mention “cross-referring clients” as part of the value you bring to the relationship, you’re immediately categorized in the CPA’s mind as being just like every other advisor who wanted to work with their clients but lacked a plan and consistent follow-through. 

From their perspective, they’ve seen very few advisors create a relationship that they actually saw any value from, so you can’t blame them for being a bit skeptical. In their mind, if it hasn’t worked out with any of the previous advisors, why would working with you turn out any different? 

The key I’ve found is to approach CPAs from a completely unique perspective with an outside-the-box value proposition they’ve never heard before. By doing so, you’ll be separating yourself from “all the other advisors” that are competing to work with their clients. 

Over the coming weeks as we look at these top four mistakes, take some time to brainstorm. In my practice, I have sat back and committed time to thinking strategically about what it is I could bring to a CPA that would deliver value, besides just sending referrals. In the coming months, I’ll be sharing exactly what I came up with when I did this exercise and how I was able to communicate my value to the CPAs and accountants that I formed alliances with. After approaching CPAs both ways, I can tell you that differentiating yourself from everyone else is a huge key to successfully forming these profitable relationships.

To help you apply this month’s content, I’ve filmed a quick video addressing each of the most common mistakes I’ll be covering over the next few weeks. If you’d like a copy emailed to you, just send me an email at [email protected], along with any feedback on the Strategic Alliance Advisor blog, and I’ll gladly send it your way. You can also visit our website at for more information.


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