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Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at a number of different strategies for gaining exposure within your strategic partner’s client base. Up to now we’ve focused on marketing concepts whose purpose is to educate your alliance’s clients on the new relationship so they begin to see you as an extension of the CPA’s (or other professional’s) team. At this juncture, the CPA’s clients are becoming familiar with who you are and your service specialty as they continue to consume your content.

Marketing through CPAs and other such professionals allows you to begin building relationships with prospective clients before they even have a chance to meet you. In my experience, this is how most people like to find new advisors (or any service for that matter) today. They typically start in a more passive “research” mode. Don’t we all? Google has turned us all into research junkies. We all start on the web doing our homework. We no longer want to be “sold,” but educated, and your approach with potential clients needs to be in line with these expectations.

Let’s look at a marketing strategy that will help you begin to take these relationships from passive to active. This week we’re going to look at the joint client appreciation event. Every time that I’ve personally met with a tax professional and brought up the concept of client appreciation events they almost always give me that “deer in the headlights” look. Most CPAs have never even conceived of hosting any type of appreciation event, and to be fair, tax professionals do not operate at near as high profit margins as we advisors do. The thought of spending a couple thousand dollars to say “thank you” tends to be somewhat of a foreign concept. And yet, every CPA that I’ve ever pitched the idea to loved it. They just didn’t know how to pull it off within their budget constraints. And for that reason, it was another great opportunity for me (and for you) to bring real value to the relationship. 

A 42 percent response rate

I still remember my first CPA-sponsored client appreciation event. Being a direct mail seminar producer I wasn’t sure what kind of response we would get since we only invited 250 of the CPA’s clients to start. However, by the time the event got started I found myself standing in front of 107 of the CPA’s clients. That’s a 42 percent response rate. When was the last time you received a 42 percent response rate?

At the event, I was introduced as the “newest member” of the CPA’s team and was then personally introduced to the CPA’s clients as we went from table to table visiting with everyone. It was truly a goldmine of an opportunity, and the entire event, (including invitations) only cost around $2,000. The CPA was thrilled, the clients were happy, and I was able to fill the room with the right high-net-worth, quality prospects, who already felt some level of trust in me because they had been reading my content in the CPA’s newsletters, emails, and on the CPA’s website for the past few months.

As you consider offering to help other professionals host client appreciation events make sure you have a well thought-out plan for how you’ll follow up after the event. You don’t want to just host events for the sake of initial introductions; you have to have a plan for what happens next. A simple solution is to use a response card for those clients that would like to take advantage of a consultation with you. But remember, it’s an appreciation event, so do not show up and give a two-hour long seminar. That’s for next week, when we talk about hosting CPA-sponsored client seminars. Until then, check out for more insights and tips on strategic alliance marketing.

For more from Brandon Stuerke, see: