Financial advisor marketing practices must adapt to incorporate digital marketing that puts the firm's name, brand and value offering in front of potential clients on platforms they use most (LinkedIn; Instagram, Medium, etc.). However, there's still no substitute for a strong referral channel like CPAs.
According to studies, a CPA is often one of the most trusted professionals in a person's life.
Certified public accountants (CPAs) play a significant role in influencing the financial decisions their clients make. Most people rely on them for advice on growing wealth and planning retirement.
Since CPAs may not have all the expertise to help clients lower tax burdens, they often refer them to a registered investment advisor (RIA).
If you are an RIA, you may wonder how to increase the demand for your services by building partnerships with CPAs. Follow these four steps to get started:
1. Explain the Value of Working With a Financial Planner
Many CPAs are generalists, but there are certain areas in which they have expertise. If you can identify the areas in which your target CPAs have expertise and focus your marketing efforts on those areas, you’ll be more likely to attract their attention.
For example, if you’re an estate planning advisor, find local tax professionals that have clients with complex estates. Build a relationship with those professionals and offer to give them complimentary lunch-and-learns or webinars on estate planning topics that their clients would be interested in.
2. Do Your Research
Before approaching a CPA, determine the type of clients they mainly handle and what those client needs are. How can you do this? Start with your own clients and understand their relationship with a CPA by creating client profiles. Identify 10 clients and setup a 30-45 minute interview with each of them. Prepare a list of questions that go beyond their likes, dislikes, hobbies, and goals. This is an incredibly rewarding exercise that will help you understand why your clients chose to work with you, and it’s also an opportunity to learn why they work with other professionals, such as their CPA.
Ask your clients about the relationship they have with their CPA. Identify how they selected the CPA; what is it about that CPA that makes them comfortable; why do they keep working with the CPA; and what would happen if they were not working with that CPA? Once you peel back the layers and have a deep and meaningful discussion with your clients, you will begin to see patterns. And out of those patterns (i.e. answers to your questions) you will have information about what type of CPA to approach that best fits your unique way of helping clients.
Certified public accountants interact with many RIAs seeking referrals. Learning more about their company, and identifying CPAs that work with clients like your own clients will help you make an excellent first impression.
3. Explain the Tax Consequences of Some Financial Decisions
According to research, a substantial percent of the population has fears and anxiety about finances. A significant number of them don't try to fix these issues, which costs them more money in the long run.
Unfortunately, most CPAs only find out about financial mistakes made by their clients when filing taxes. This aspect makes it challenging to recover the losses and reduce the tax burden.
When looking for referrals from CPAs, explain the consequences of common financial mistakes. After that, illustrate how their clients can lower their tax burden and diversify their portfolios with alternative options.
Using such a strategy allows you to prove that partnering with a registered investment advisor could have prevented wrong decisions. Eventually, this can increase your chances of getting a high number of referrals.
4. Invest in Digital Marketing
Did you know that people make over 3.5 billion search entries on Google daily? If you are looking for a cost-effective way to reach more CPAs and pitch your services as a financial planner, invest in digital marketing.
Some of the effective methods you can use are:
• Value-based content marketing
• Email marketing
• Optimizing for Google search and Google Business Profiles
• LinkedIn marketing
• Blog posts on Medium
• Social listening software such as Awario
Since navigating digital marketing can be challenging, hire companies specializing in this field to help you reach more CPAs.
Grow Your Financial Advisor Career with CPA Partnerships
Partnering with CPAs is one of the best ways to increase referrals and reach more people who need a financial planner. Using the discussed tips, you can connect with accounting experts and leverage their connections.
AllBackoffice has worked with a number of CPAs. We can help you learn how to connect with CPA professionals and build new referral partnerships.