Every day when I wake up in the morning to go to work, I ask myself this question:
Who else in my community is doing business with my ideal client?
I have found over the years that perhaps the best way to get in front of highly qualified prospects is to be introduced to the prospect by someone they trust. I believe that the CPA is, in most cases, the best way to leverage yourself into a steady stream of highly qualified prospects.
Now I have to admit that in the past I have been intimidated by the idea of approaching CPAs. Last year, however, I ventured outside my comfort zone and sponsored a Continuing Professional Education (CPE) training for area CPAs and enrolled agents. What I discovered in the process was enlightening.
Simply put, CPAs are looking for help. Their clients are asking them for help, and CPAs want to find high-quality professionals who they trust will take great care of their clients. I also found that many CPAs are aware that they don’t have the answers when it comes to financial planning and guidance; their expertise is usually limited to tax advice. So they’re hungry to find an outstanding professional who can take care of this client need.
Build a relationship
So how do you begin cultivating a relationship with a CPA or enrolled agent? The key is in the word I just used: relationship. Get to know the CPA. Find out how they uniquely serve their clients. Show them how you uniquely serve your clients as well. Invest some time into becoming friends, because people do business with friends.
You may also be able to form an actual partnership with the CPA. Many are looking for ways to increase revenue. The idea of sharing revenue with them merely for introducing you to their clients can provide a win-win. Of course, they will have to become appropriately licensed to participate in any revenue sharing, but if approached correctly, revenue sharing can provide a tremendous boost to their business.
Ultimately, though, CPAs are very pure in their motivations, so approach the idea of a partnership with great care. The principle motivation of the CPA is usually to ensure that their client is taken care of appropriately. Many CPAs will actually prefer to not create a formal partnership; they simply want to know their clients are provided for, and they do not wish to profit from it. Either type of partnership works.
If you wish to dramatically change your business for the better, focus on developing a couple of key CPA relationships. It is, in my opinion, the absolute best way to leverage one relationship into a steady stream of highly qualified client prospects.Jim Brogan is president and founder of Brogan Financial in Knoxville, Tenn. He was named Senior Market Advisor’s 2011 Advisor of the Year.