I want to open this week’s blog by sharing an eye-opening statistic with you. Did you know that over 90 percent of the growth in a CPA firm is driven by existing client referrals? When I read this statistic, one of the first thoughts that popped into my mind was that if I owned a CPA firm, I’d make sure that I did everything possible to stay in touch with my existing clients constantly. But sadly here’s another statistic for you. On average, less than one-third of CPAs even bother to send their clients a basic monthly newsletter. To me that is just crazy. Obviously, there are other means of staying in touch with clients, but as you can imagine, if CPAs aren’t even doing the simple things like newsletters you can probably guess what the rest of the stats look like. Armed with this knowledge though, I want to share with you how you can use these stats to offer true value to the CPAs and accountants you want to work with.
One tool that I’ve used in all of my strategic alliance relationships has been the co-branded monthly newsletter. The reason for this is twofold. First is because offering to design, write and then pay to send a newsletter on behalf of CPAs to their clients helps them solve one component of the client retention puzzle, or at least gets them that much closer. It’s one small thing I can do to separate myself from “every other advisor” trying to work with their clients. But not only is it an “outside the box” value proposition, it also goes a long way in helping you gain the valuable introductions to their clients that you need to be successful.
As I’ve pointed out in past weeks, just getting the CPA to agree to an alliance does not guarantee your success. That’s actually only half the battle. You must find a way to position yourself in front of the CPA’s clients and build direct relationships, and a monthly newsletter is one tool you can use to do that. In my practice I write all of the newsletters, both for my own clients and for the CPAs that I work with. The secret to doing these correctly is in how you position yourself within the newsletter.
Designing the newsletter
As a practical example, I would design the newsletter with the CPA’s brand, logo and colors, and feature an article on the front “from the CPA, “ but then on the back feature my logo and picture with an article from “our partners in planning.” This allows me to gain exposure on a large scale to the CPA’s clients each and every month. And from the standpoint of transferring trust, it sends a very strong message to the CPA’s clients when they get the newsletter each month and then see me featured on the back month in and month out. That’s really the essence of co-branding, or transferring trust from a known trusted brand to one that is unknown.
While it may sound like a lot of work to design, create, write and then distribute newsletters each month for your CPA partners, look at it this way: How much would you pay for a CPA to personally introduce you to all of their clients every month? The answer to that question is why it makes sense for you to commit the time to making this happen. Otherwise you’ll be spinning your wheels, getting the CPA to agree to work with you, but never actually getting the volume of referrals you’re looking for.
I realize this week’s content may be slightly difficult to visualize, so if this is something you’d like some concrete examples of, leave a comment below with your thoughts on the blog this week, as well as your name and email, and I’ll email you copies of my newsletters so you can see for yourself what they look like and how you can use them as templates for your own practice.
For more from Brandon Stuerke, see: