Advisor Today - September/October 2015 - (Page 51)

sales & marketiNg PROSPECTING By John Pojeta Demystifying CPA Alliances: The Importance of Trust Keep these six tips in mind when building a professional alliance with a CPA and watch your referrals grow. A lliances with certified public accountants (CPAs) have long been lauded in the insurance industry for the potential to generate new business with high-value prospects. A successful CPA likely works with the types of decision-makers you'd like to meet, so if you can forge a relationship with one, he or she could create a stream of lucrative referrals for you and your business. Despite the lip-service paid to CPA alliances-as well as alliances with other professionals, like attorneys or property and casualty agents- few advisors have successfully incorporated this strategy into their sales pipelines. Few deny the potential return of CPA alliances, but actually building such relationships can be difficult, leading many advisors to abandon the opportunity. In many cases, advisors underestimate the importance of trust from the CPA's perspective. CPAs are hesitant to expose their clients (and their reputations) to risk, and your alliance process needs to account for that fact. When you are developing a professional alliance with a CPA, here are six things to keep in mind: 1. Your usual sales process won't work. A CPA will not become your client, so you can't approach them with the same tactics that you use to sell your products and services. You should still have a process, but that process should treat the CPA like a peer and it should encompass what you bring to the table and what would motivate a CPA to share business with you. 2. A CPA alliance is about making a new professional connection. Always ask yourself, "What's in it for the CPA?" As you develop the relationship, establish a process for Few deny the potential return of CPA alliances, but actually building such relationships can be difficult, leading many advisors to abandon the opportunity. revenue sharing. Discussing these details explicitly helps to establish expectations while also solidifying the way your business relationship will work in the future. Be sure that your revenue sharing process is compliant with local law. 3. Forge a meaningful partnership. Formalizing your referral and revenue sharing processes will help clarify how your alliance will work, but remember that a partnership is a two-way street. Referring business is just one piece of the puzzle. You might be able to go above and beyond to contribute to the CPA's business in a positive way, perhaps with business or sales insights. This adds additional value to your alliance. 4. Be patient. An alliance with a CPA will not produce an instant return. You may have to foster a relationship for a year or more to develop the comfort level necessary for referrals to begin trickling in. As you provide exceptional service to the clients that you share with the CPA, you are likely to see the frequency of referrals grow. 5. Pursue multiple alliances simultaneously. Because CPA relationships take time to mature, it also takes time to see if the partnership will actually stick, making the pursuit of more than one alliance at a time crucial to your sales pipeline. Planting a batch of seeds like this increases the likelihood that you will see a return, and sets the stage for a multitude of new business streams. 6. Have someone else do the legwork. To make your alliance sales process more efficient, consider engaging a marketing firm or a sales person to seek out and warm potential cont'd on page 52 September/October 2015 | ADVISOR TODAY 51

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Advisor Today - September/October 2015

Why You Need a Mentor
The Key Attributes of Top Performers
Success Tips from a Golden Gloves Boxer
How I Use Social Media to Build my Practice
Getting Started on LinkedIn
Discussing Your Client’s LTC Needs in Retirement
How to Boost Your LTCI Production
¿Habla Español?
Providing a Retirement Safety Net
Ongoing Challenges, New Solutions
Four Under Forty
NAIFA’s 125th Anniversary
Demystifying CPA Alliances
Building Your Natural Audience
Holding Workshops?
Ideas to Help You Sell More
Special-Needs Planning
Planning for Divorced or Widowed Women

Advisor Today - September/October 2015