Welcome to The Strategic Alliance Advisor. The SAA is a weekly blog written by Brandon Stuerke, Creator of Winning With CPAs as a platform to shares insights and strategies that you can use in your practice to build your own strategic alliances. The Strategic Alliance Advisor can also be read on lifehealthpro.com and ProducersWeb.

The Issue of Exclusivity

As we looked at last blog, for most advisors 3-4 strategic alliances is all you need to keep your calendar full of appointments. But what if you’re working with 4 different CPAs? Will they care that you work with others? Won’t they want exclusivity?

The answer is sure, who doesn’t want exclusivity. In reality though, exclusivity doesn’t have to mean just one. In my market there are close to two-three hundred

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different CPAs, Enrolled Agents and Accountants. So the fact that I only work with four is still pretty exclusive if you think about it.

The reality is most of how I bring value to a CPA in a strategic relationship is through helping them grow their business organically among their own base of clients. Helping a CPA increase client retention and referrals from happy clients is a much stronger value proposition from me rather than trying to help them grow by stealing clients away from other “competitor” firms.

When you begin to understand this it makes more sense that working with 3-4 professionals in the same industry isn’t really an issue. The fact that I bring as much value as I do, and only to 3-4 creates a very strong sense of urgency just to get to be one of the 3-4.

On the other hand, if like most advisors your value proposition is “let me bring all my clients to you, in exchange for cross referrals”, than yes, exclusivity is going to be more of an issue.

But you’re not like every other advisor. You’re a Strategic Advisor, and as a Strategic Advisor you’re going to bring value to the firms you want to work with that is outside the every day, “you refer me and I’ll refer you nonsense.” Understand that for a CPA, Enrolled Agent, or Accountant the real issue they face is:

1) How do I increase client retention?
2) How do I monetize my existing client base?
3) How do I drive referrals from my existing clients?

Did you know that statistically, over 90% of the growth in a CPA firm is derived from client referrals? That should tell you something. It should tell you that there is a huge opportunity to help serve these tax professionals by teaching them how to do a better job keeping in touch with and serving their clients. By in large, CPAs like many other professionals do a poor job of client relationship management. This is your opportunity. Put your strategic thinking cap on for a minute and ask yourself, “How can I help a CPA solve their problems as outlined above and at the same time make myself a resource to their firm, one that they can’t live without.

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