Last week we discussed the concept of hosting joint educational workshops for your strategic alliance’s clients. As promised last week, I’m not just going to follow it up with best practices for achieving the greatest results. The best place to start would have to be the guest list and invitation.

Many advisors who might try to implement this concept may be tempted to blast ahead without much thought about who they are inviting or how the invitation is structured. This would be a fatal error and would likely result in less than ideal attendance. Here are a few important things you must make sure to consider before sending even one invitation.

Screen the list of invitees.

While it may be tempting to blast invitations to each client in your strategic partner’s database, remember this is not the direct mail game. More invitations does not necessarily equal greater response or end results. The CPA or other professional you form an alliance with may have 1,500 clients in their database, but what good does it do you to invite them all if half of them are under the age of 50? Or are in some other way unqualified for you to work with?

Screening the list of invitees with the other professional is a great way to ensure that only those who will truly benefit from the content you’ll be presenting will be in attendance. You can decide ahead of time your criteria for making it on the invite list, but in the past I’ve not only screened clients by age, but also by having the CPAs I work with go through and purposefully remove those from the list they may know enough about to know that they’d be a waste of my time. This process has been immensely helpful (and I’m sure has saved me a lot of time) by not meeting with unqualified prospects and being directed to the “right ones.”

Brand the invitation.

If you want high double-digit responses to your joint events, then the branding of the invitation is critical. Many advisors I’ve talked to in the past have tried joint events but made the mistake of sending the invitations from their office, or on their letterhead, trying to brand themselves. The problem is that in doing so, they circumvent their own efforts: the whole point of a joint event is to leverage the trust those clients have in their professional to get them to the event.

In my experience, the best invitation will be on the other professional’s letterhead, and positioned as their event, where you happen to be a guest speaker. Also, branding the outside of the envelope to include the logo of the trusted professional will increase the open rate dramatically. Include the words “You’re Invited” on the outside of the envelope and a compelling message once opened and now you’ve got a winning invitation to an event where you’ll be positioned as the expert, by an expert that has already earned the trust of your best prospects.

Next week I’ll dive deeper into the actual event and discuss how I run these events for maximum participation and appointment close rates. Check back next week, and in the meantime feel free to go to my site at www.WinningWithCPAs.com for more tips and information on building successful alliances.

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