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How to gain clients through CPAs, part 2

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Many financial advisors say getting referrals from CPAs can be a boon to their business. CPA clients are affluent and easy to sell. However, getting the CPA to refer can be difficult. CPAs are simply not comfortable making referrals.

Last month, we discussed why CPAs are hesitant to refer and two techniques to obtain high-quality, affluent referrals from CPAs (asking the names of your client’s CPAs and letting the CPA know you share a common client).

Here are three more techniques:

1. Find out about their practice. Discuss their initiatives in building their practice. Along the way, talk about the probability of a client staying loyal with multiple products. Research has shown that one product engenders a 36 percent loyalty rate within five years, two products, 56 percent, and three or more products, 92 percent. Yet CPAs usually offer only two products: tax planning and tax returns. If a client works with you through financial planning, it will allow the CPA to gain more client loyalty by offering more products loosely linked to the CPA’s since they control the relationship.

2. Speak at a CPA client dinner. Since CPAs often have poor sales skills and don’t know enough about financial planning to make a recommendation to a financial advisor, they are unlikely to give you referrals. To solve this, offer to speak at a CPA client dinner. Give the CPA a recording (or outline) of one of your seminars to make sure they are comfortable with your recommendations and expertise.

Create a sexy retirement topic like, “The Seven Mistakes Retirees Make” or “Understanding Social Security.” Hold the meeting at a high-class restaurant or country club. Let the CPA speak first for five to 10 minutes about tax law changes. Then you speak for 30 to 45 minutes about a retirement planning concept. In the invitation, ask the client to bring a friend.

Expected results: 60 percent of the invited clients will attend if you make a follow-up telephone call after the invitation; 60 percent of the clients will bring guests, and 60 percent of both clients and guests will book appointments with you.

One of my clients in Arizona, Kevin, holds CPA client meetings on a monthly basis. The CPAs make so much money from the meetings, they usually pay Kevin for the expenses.

While CPA client events are not the only way of gaining new prospects, they are one of the methods that you can use to gain more affluent clients with less expense. Since CPAs are not very sales savvy, simply offering this seminar will not be enough. Keep dripping on them with seminar results as you do them with other CPAs. They will undoubtedly follow the rest of the herd.

3. Get the CPA Series 7 license to accept referral fees.

Remember: CPAs need to be comfortable with you first before they will refer.

For more from Kerry Johnson, see:

How to gain clients through CPAs, part 1

Why smart seniors make stupid mistakes with their money

Why teamwork works


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