While it may sound cliché, there’s no escaping the fact that regardless of whom you want to work with in life, everyone, CPAs included, wants to know first and foremost what you can do for them.
I visited with an advisor this week who called my office, frustrated in his attempts to get a local, well-known CPA to work with him. He talked for close to 20 minutes about the elaborate tax planning strategies and portfolio management techniques he had recently presented to this CPA. He thought that if he could just somehow wow the CPA with all he could do for his clients, the CPA would jump at the chance to work with him.
I’ve actually heard this same story before from dozens of advisors. Many have been taught that the secret to working with CPAs, or any professional for that matter, is to convince them that you’re the most qualified advisor in your market, and you know how to do things that no other advisor has figured out.
While the logic is certainly there (you obviously have to deliver quality advice for your clients), the problem is that when you go into your “I’ve figured out something no one else has” pitch, you sound just like every other advisor the CPA has met with.
I understand that many of you reading this blog do specialize in unique products, like annuities, and services, like estate planning, that CPAs need to be educated on. But to get them to tune in to your message, you always have to keep in mind everyone’s favorite station, WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?).
Before you can get anyone to let you into their world, you must first demonstrate two things:
- That you care, and
- That you can provide solutions to their challenges.
We live in a society of takers. Everyone has their own agenda, and everyone is out to get what they can for themselves. This can work to your advantage, though, if you happen to be one of the few who understand that you have to give before you can receive.
A good friend of mine and top producer Rao Garuda always asks everyone he meets with (me included), “How can I help you?” Even though he asks me this every time we meet, I still appreciate it. Primarily because he’s the type of guy that you know means it when he says it. But imagine how CPAs feel. Many of them work as sole proprietors or for small two-to-four person firms. They are not only stretched thin by client demands, but on top of that, advisor after advisor walks through their door pushing to let them work with their clients.