Over the past several weeks we’ve discussed a variety of ways in which you can bring value to your alliances, and at the same time gain the exposure to their client base that you need in order to see any traction in acquiring new clients as a result. This week I want to share with you a concept that I’ve used that has produced more new clients for me than any I’ve shared previously: the joint educational event.

Regardless of whom you’re working with—CPAs, enrolled agents, accountants, attorneys, etc.—each of them has a certain amount of influence over their clients. You probably know this intuitively but knowing how to leverage that influence may be another story. I’ve found that many clients hold the professionals they work with on pedestals that oftentimes they don’t belong on, and yet there they remain. If you’ve ever lost a deal because of the old “let me run this by my CPA” line, you know what I’m talking about.

So how do you leverage the trust your best prospects have in their CPA or other professional? By utilizing an approach that many of us have been using for years, with a slightly new twist. The approach, of course, is the dinner seminar. While many of you reading this may have written seminars off as an expensive and inefficient way to build your business, let me challenge you to rethink why you feel that way. For a long time no one was more “anti-seminar” than I was; however, I realized it wasn’t really seminars I didn’t like, it was direct mail. Direct mail is an ineffective, low-trust way of trying to get people to your events.

Seminars: Yes, you can!

What I learned was that I could still run seminars every month, but instead of showing up and there only being 10 people in the seats, I could pack the seats by co-sponsoring events with another trusted professional. Now, obviously you cannot just approach a CPA, or any professional for that matter, and expect them to blast an invitation out for your seminar. But if you’ve followed the previous week’s blog posts you know that there is a very structured approach to forming an alliance which will, in the end, culminate with the other professional opening up their client network and allowing you to hold educational events. They’ll even tout it as an added benefit for their clients. I’ve not only done this myself, but have helped many other advisors around the country do the same thing. The best part about this approach is that because the clients have so much trust in the other professional, your response rates (if you do it right) should average between 35 percent and 45 percent. 

Hard to believe? Think about it this way. If you were to mail an invitation to your existing clients to a workshop you were putting on to help educate them on important new ideas and concepts with annuities, for example, wouldn’t you expect an equally high response? It’s always easy to get your own clients to show up to events because, like the other professionals, you have that connection and relationship of trust. It’s no different here. The key is in getting the other professional to send (or allow you to send) the invitation on their behalf, on their letterhead. This significantly increases open rates and total number of reservations. Supplement that initial invite with a few follow up email invitations and you’re set.

I realize there is a lot to discuss in regards to running a successful educational event with a strategic partner, so in the next few weeks I’ll be outlining exactly how I do it so that you can adopt the same practice in your business. I would encourage you, if you haven’t read the previous weeks’ issues of The Strategic Alliance Advisor, to do so. What I share in the coming weeks will make much more sense if you do. You can also read all of the back posts on my website at www.WinningWithCPAs.com.

For more from Brandon Stuerke, see: