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The Issue of Exclusivity

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Last week we learned that, for most advisors, three to four strategic alliances is all you need to keep your calendar full of appointments. But what if you’re working with four different CPAs? Will they care that you work with others? Won’t they want exclusivity?

The answer is sure, who doesn’t want exclusivity. In reality though, exclusivity doesn’t have to mean just one. In my market there are around 200 to 300 different CPAs, enrolled agents and accountants. So the fact that I only work with four is still pretty exclusive if you think about it.

The reality is that most of how I bring value to a CPA in a strategic relationship is through helping them grow their business organically among their own base of clients. Helping a CPA increase client retention and referrals from happy clients are much stronger value propositions from me than trying to help them grow by stealing clients away from other “competitor” firms.

When you begin to understand this, it makes more sense that working with three to four professionals in the same industry isn’t really an issue. The fact that I bring as much value as I do, and only to three to four, creates a very strong sense of urgency just to get to be one of the three to four.

On the other hand, if like most advisors your value proposition is “let me bring all my clients to you, in exchange for cross referrals,” then yes, exclusivity is going to be more of an issue.

But you’re not like every other advisor. You’re a Strategic Advisor, and as a Strategic Advisor you’re going to bring value to the firms you want to work with that is outside the outdated “you refer me and I’ll refer you” nonsense. Understand that for a CPA, enrolled agent or accountant the real issues they face are:

  • How do I increase client retention?
  • How do I monetize my existing client base?
  • How do I drive referrals from my existing clients?

Did you know that statistically, over 90 percent of the growth in a CPA firm is derived from client referrals? That should tell you something. It should tell you that there is a huge opportunity to help serve these tax professionals by teaching them how to do a better job keeping in touch with and serving their clients. By and large, CPAs, like many other professionals, do a poor job of client relationship management. This is your opportunity. Put your strategic thinking cap on for a minute and ask yourself, “How can I help a CPA solve their problems as outlined above and at the same time make myself a resource to their firm, one that they can’t live without?”

Next week, I’ll begin to reveal how I did just that. As always, thank you for following the blog, and if there’s anything I can do to help you in your efforts to build strategic alliances please feel free to email me at [email protected] or visit my website at

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