Coach: What’s your strategy for working with CPAs?
Advisor: Well, for starters, we send gift baskets every year around tax time…
This is a snippet of conversation we’ve endured too many times to count. It’s like asking a dentist for their marketing strategy and hearing, “For starters, I give out toothbrushes with my name and number on them.” When you hear advisors placing too much emphasis on gift baskets, you know they’re missing the larger picture of year-round relationship management.
This type of relationship management makes a lot of sense to advisors, but adding structure to this initiative is the only way to make it a reality. Why? If you don’t pre-plan for these important-but-not-urgent activities, they tend not to happen. We recommend planning a full 12 months in advance and setting calendar reminders for execution. For example, if you plan to take your CPA partners to lunch in June, go ahead and select the dates and add them to your calendar. It helps bridge the gap between concept and execution.
We thought it might be helpful to give you a 2019 Game Plan that we’ve found effective. These aren’t all prime-time, high-profile touches. Many are meant as creative points of contact to keep the relationship alive, even when you don’t have referrals to send each other. Enjoy!
January - Send CPA tax prep docs for mutual clients
February – Client event invitation (i.e. have them attend your Ferrari demo event)
March – Send a passion-related article (i.e. top wineries in the state)
April - Goodie basket (power bars, energy drinks, beer or other goodies)
May - Celebratory dinner (host a gathering for their team to celebrate the end of tax season)
June - Offer an economic update (for them, their team or their clients)
July - Touch-base call (make up a reason to reach out, then connect on a personal level)
August - Passion-related article (i.e. fantasy football outlook)
September - Client event invitation (i.e. have them attend your Fashion and Finance event)
October - Dinner and review meeting (see this article for guidance)
November – Tax-related question (think of an area of tax planning you’re curious about)
December - Holiday gift (something personal and memorable)
You’ll notice there was a nice blend of social and business contacts in the above list. Our research proves that advisors who get social with their professional partners get significantly more referrals than those who don’t. Please edit this list to your liking and share it with your team. It will take a group effort to pull this off throughout the year. Keep us posted with your successes!
@StephenBoswell is President of The Oechsli Institute and Co-author of Best Practices of Elite Advisors. @KevinANichols is the Chief Operating Officer for The Oechsli Institute and Co-author of The Indispensable LinkedIn Sales Guide for Financial Advisors.