Successful Strategic Alliances

How Financial Advisors Can Build Strategic Partnerships with CPA's and Estate Planning Attorneys

Where did your top five affluent clients come from in the last year? Did some of your clients come from strategic alliances? If not you could be missing out on a perfect opportunity to grow your practice and attract wealthier clients.  This article will help you take a good look at how you can leverage strategic alliances and centers of influence to get referrals to new affluent clients.

What you'll need and what we'll cover:

We will also discuss how to find your top five candidates, what to say during the meeting, and how to follow up after the meeting. Are you ready???

Who would make a good strategic partner?

Not all financial professionals make good strategic partners. Some are too new in their fields. Some are focused on the lower end of the market. Here's a good starting point:

  • Accountants – those who  help organize the monthly business finances of successful entrepreneurs, small business owners, and franchisees
  • CPA's – those who complete tax returns and tax planning for small to mid-sized business owners, affluent individuals, and families
  • Attorneys – business attorneys and estate planning attorneys in private practice five years or more
  • Business brokers – those who work with boutique businesses and franchisees  - a great deal of money changes hands when a business is sold
  • Life insurance experts – not all insurance agents are financial advisors and they may be in need of a good strategic partner
  • High end insurance experts (P&C) – Chubs and Chartis are good firms – these agents are aware of affluent clients' needs and wants
  • Bankers – not all banks handle their clients' investing needs – seek out those who do not have a private wealth management department
  • Business consultants – consultants who help business owners improve the efficiency of their operations can make good partners because they work with firms that are successful and that have significant personal and business assets

Develop a profile of your Ideal Strategic Partner

Who do you need to work with in order to grow your practice? Where are you going to find a good match for strategic partners? Develop your profile by answering these questions:

  • How many years have they been in business?
  • Are they entrepreneurial? (Willing to go out and get their own new clients, ambitious, visionary)
  • Do they share a similar target client?
  • Are their clients affluent?
  • What kind of expertise do they have?
  • Do they do right by clients, ethically?
  • Is there an opportunity to revenue share?
  • How do they bill and charge for their services? (Watch out for excessive fees).
  • Will referrals be a two way street?

Your LinkedIn Profile

These days you absolutely must have a well written and optimized LinkedIn profile. Most successful professionals have a LinkedIn profile and use LinkedIn to find other professionals for their networks. The problem is that too few people know how to make their profile more marketable. If you have not leveraged your profile, take a course or hire a coach to help you.

30 Second Commercial

Target your elevator speech to your ideal clients. You do not need more $100K clients, you need affluent clients. Explain how your process benefits your ideal clients and how the affluent market is your preferred client base.

Custom Brochure and Business Card

During your meeting you should be prepared to provide your strategic partner with a beautifully designed custom brochure targeted to the affluent. Your brochure should focus on your Value Proposition and what makes you different. Quality design attracts quality clients. You should make the investment in your brand and your practice so that you MAKE A FIRM IMPRESSION upon your strategic partners.

90 Day Action Plan

I am providing a step by step action plan to implement Successful Strategic Alliances over a 90 day period. Get out your calendar and plan each of these steps.

What I want for you is a constant stream of new affluent clients coming in your front door. But you must take action for that to happen!

30 Days:

  • Create a list of your top 5 candidates.
  • Review the professional advisors your "A" clients are working with.
  • Review your LinkedIn contacts to see their connections. Ask for a personal introduction.
  • Think about other professional advisors you have met through networking.
  • Who are the professionals you have not received reciprocal referrals from?
  • Call each candidate and suggest an exploratory meeting for coffee or lunch. During your phone conversation say "I came across your name and I remembered how much I've wanted to meet with you and find out if there is some way for us to help each other." The key here is to focus on HELPING EACH OTHER.
  • Create and memorize a list of interview questions to open dialogue with the candidate. Here are some ideas:  

A. What kind of clients do you work with?
B. Who is your ideal client?
C. What asset level do you work with?
D. What financial services do your affluent clients ask for?
E. What makes you different?
F. What marketing successes have you had in the past year?

  • Meet with each candidate for an exploratory meeting
  • Explain your 30 second commercial, how you help affluent clients, and what makes you different. Provide your high quality brochure and matching business card. 
  • Ask your interview questions and learn more about the candidate. Would you be ideal partners?
  • Explain the benefits of a "two way street" relationship and how you believe in fostering a reciprocal affiliation.
  • Explain that you will be contacting the partner to schedule a Follow Up Meeting.
  • Leave the meeting with Action Items. Productive meetings always end with actions. Who's going to do what? What can you do to help the partner?

60 Days:

  • Follow up with each candidate using a letter on your well designed and branded letterhead.
  • Explain how nice it was to meet with them and that you look forward to a fruitful relationship.
  • If you are not connected on LinkedIn, send a connection request.

90 Days:

  • Determine who you would like to meet with again. Which of the candidates would make ideal partners? Who do you feel you made a connection with? Who has a target market that most closely matches yours? Who has the personality and philosophy that you feel you could work with?
  • Call or email to schedule a Follow Up Meeting.
  • During the meeting, discuss whether you both feel there are mutual opportunities.   
  • Explore mutual marketing opportunities such as speaking events, workshops, networking events, client appreciation events, etc.
  • Discuss client referrals you have in mind. Explain the client circumstances, your approach to wealth management, and the client's needs. Arrange a personal introduction.
  • Now, ask for their referrals.
  • For those professionals you are already working with who have not provided reciprocal referrals, ask them this very important question: "WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP YOU REFER CLIENTS TO ME?"

6 months later:

Review what happened. Did the referrals work out? Was it a two way street or did you fail to receive any good referrals? If the relationship was not beneficial to you, MOVE ON!  You did your due diligence, you did the research, and you asked for the business. If it didn't work out, find new referral partners.

I don't understand advisors who continue to give referrals to professionals who do not refer in return. This makes no sense to me. They can be the best darned estate planning attorney or CPA on earth, but if they are not sending you referrals in return, there is something wrong. Find out why. If they won't tell you, move on!

Next Steps:

Hire me as your coach! Successful advisors have a coach. My clients are high achievers who hire me to help them implement this strategy plus many others. Please request a Consultation to learn more.

Suzanne Muusers is an ICF-Member Business Coach who has worked with hundreds of successful independent financial advisors, investment executives, and finance career job seekers since 2004. She helps clients develop their Value Proposition, Ideal Client Profile, and Branding Strategy so that their marketing message appeals to affluent clients.

Suzanne Muusers

ICF-Member
Business Coach
Prosperity Coaching LLC

Suzanne Muusers

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