Welcome to this week’s issue of The Strategic Alliance Advisor! Last week we discussed two keys for achieving maximum attendance at your jointly sponsored education events with other professionals. Now that you know how to fill the room with your best prospects, and on a basis of trust, it’s time to take a closer look at how to run this event for maximum participation and appointments. There are a couple of things that I make sure I do at every joint workshop that I think really make a big difference in the outcome.
The first is the introduction. Imagine yourself at an event with fifty CPA clients in attendance. The CPA has agreed to host the event jointly, using his or her name and relationship to fill the event, and having you as the featured speaker to do the educating on whatever topic the two of you decide would be the most impactful for the clients.
While you have a great audience in attendance, what you haven’t done yet is earned their trust. It says a lot about you that their CPA (or other professional) would even have you at their event, but to really drive home and leverage the transfer of trust from their current professional to you, it’s imperative that you have them frame up your introduction correctly.
I always have them start off the event by explaining to the clients why they have chosen to work with me over any of the other advisors in our market they could have aligned themselves with. I have them discuss the power of a team approach to planning and how my firm completes that team, whereas the planning they offered prior to our relationship was somewhat unbalanced in only focusing on one are of planning. After they introduce me, I’ll take the opportunity to first educated the clients on how I came to choose their CPA. After all, it was my decision, I’m the one who initiated the process. I explain that I too believe in the power of a team approach and as a result set out to find a CPA that I felt comfortable working with and introducing my clients to.
I explain the reasons why, after several interviews with multiple firms, I ultimately decided to form an alliance with their CPA in particular. This does three things for me. First, it reassures each of them that they are working with a top notch CPA. Second, I get to build the CPA up in front of their clients, which they love. And finally I get to elevate myself above the CPA in the minds of the clients as they understand that I chose their CPA, not the other way around. I have done this at every joint workshop I’ve ever held and it’s always made a big impact on the event, and the relationship I have with the other professional.
Closing The Event. Toward the end of my presentation, when I would normally be tempted to have the clients pull their response cards out and check the appointment box I instead hand the reigns back to the CPA. I have of course coached them on this part, but I want them to encourage their own clients to take advantage of a strategy session with me to discuss everything they have learned at the event.
It’s so much stronger coming from a professional they know, like, and trust than it is coming from me. I also make myself available to meet with them at the other professionals office. I do this for many reasons but the biggest are, first, the clients are already familiar with the other professional’s office. They are comfortable there and there is a certain amount of trust they have in doing business there, so why make them come somewhere they’ve never been to meet with someone they were just introduced to? It makes much more sense for me to meet them where they’re comfortable.
The other reason I offer to meet them in the CPA’s office is because it affords me the opportunity to work in the other professional’s office and have the chance to be on site as other clients come by. This in many cases leads to other referrals as I’m not “out of sight, out of mind” but working right down the hall from the other professional. I should point out that when having the other professional close the meeting I will always have resources I give away in exchange for their response cards back. Not everyone is ready to schedule an appointment, but most all will opt-in to receive more information which will give me the opportunity to follow up with them again in the future.