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.

Joint Education Events: The Importance of The Invitation

Last week we discussed the concept of hosting joint educational workshops for your strategic alliance’s clients. As promised last week I’m not just going to throw out the idea but follow it up with practical best practices for achieving the greatest results. The best place to start in my opinion would have to be the list and invitation.

Many advisors who might try and implement this concept may be tempted to blast ahead without much thought about who their inviting or how the invitation is structured. This would be a fatal error and

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would likely result in less than ideal attendance. Here are a few important keys you must make sure you consider before sending even one invitation.

Screen the List of Invitees

While it may be tempting to blast invitations to each client in your strategic partners database, remember this is not the direct mail game. More invitations does not necessarily equal greater response or end result. The CPA or other professional you form an alliance with may have 1,500 clients in their database, but what good does it do you to invite them all if half

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of them are under that age of 50? Or are in some other way unqualified for you to work with.

Screening the list of invitees with the other professional is a great way to ensure that only those who will truly benefit from the content you’ll be presenting will be in attendance. You can decide ahead of time your criteria for making it on the invite list, but in the past I’ve not only screened clients out by age, but also by having the CPAs I work with go thru and purposefully remove those from the list that they may know enough about to know that they’d be a waste of my time. This has been immensely helpful and I’m sure has saved me a lot of time by not meeting with unqualified prospects and being directed to the “right ones”.

Branding The Invitation

If you want high double digit responses to your joint events, then the branding of the invitation is critical. Many advisors I’ve talked to in the past have tried joint events but made the mistake of sending the invitations from their office, or on their letterhead, trying to brand themselves. The problem is in doing so they circumvent their own efforts as the whole point of a joint event is to leverage the trust those clients have in their professional to get them to the event.

In my experience, the best invitation will be on the other professionals letterhead, and positioned as their event, which you happen to be a guest speaker at. Also, branding the outside of the envelope to include the logo of the trusted professional will increase the open rate dramatically. Include the words “You’re Invited” on the outside of the envelope and a compelling message once opened and now you’ve got a winning invitation to an event where you’ll be positioned as the expert, by an expert that has already earned the trust of your best prospects.

Next week I’ll dive deeper into the actual event and discuss how I run these events for maximum participation and appointment close rates.

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