This is a quote I picked up from a CPA written article; “We don’t help our clients or prospects when we wait for them to come to us with problems. Often they don't seek help because every time they talk to us we are so busy. The worse case scenario is that your client doesn't know you want to help them so they go to someone else.”
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A past president of the NYCPA Society and Managing Partner of a thriving Long Island CPA firm says: “I talk to, and/or see, my mail referral sources every two weeks. Less frequent contact decays the relationship and lowers the amount of quality referrals. Of course, most CPAs believe they are ‘too busy’ for this much contact with a select group of five to ten people, and that is why this business is so easy. That three-minute phone call, or that lunch or breakfast - just to chat and nurture the relationship – can result in a 6-figure client. Most of our peers won’t do that, so they leave the best client opportunities to people like me. Selling against accountants is the easiest sale in the world because most don’t understand the referral relationship process and won’t invest in their skills to get better at it.” (Try this: Call up a client or a referral and say; “Jim! Hi! It’s Debra Smith - How are you? I’ve been looking through my calendar and I was embarrassed to realize that you’re one person I do not want to lose contact with. We haven’t seen each other in a while. Are you available for lunch?”)
This is a quote I received from a CPA who councils other CPAs in expanding their business platforms when I asked him why it is hard to form prosperous strategic alliances with CPAs; “Selling through and with CPAs is a difficult trek. So many people want to go down that path and find out later it was a wasteland. Above all else you have to realize that CPAs are risk-averse, greedy and many simply don’t care much about their clients’ financial well-being beyond paying their fees. We are not trained to care or share.”
These three quotes articulate some of the problems advanced planning insurance brokers run into all the time when we meet new prospects. What I mean by problems is that insurance broker’s are in a constant and active state of business development through our use of referrals, advisor relationships and even direct mail. So when I meet a business client and see that they do not have a pension plan or they are in the absolute worst type of plan for their income range, I know that their CPA is not doing a good job. Imagine, the CPA is the tax deductible specialist and they are overwhelmingly under advising their clients when it comes to maximizing tax efficient savings coupled with larger tax deductions.
The root of the problem is threefold;
- The inability of CPAs to form strategic alliances with advanced planning insurance brokers and investment advisors to create a prosperous team approach to wealth management.
- The inability of financial planners to have the conversations with CPAs that are relevant and consultative rather than transactional and sales oriented.
- The lack of networking experience or desire on the part of CPA.
Now read these quote; “Providing insurance products and other investment advisory services to clients is an attractive avenue to growth for many CPA firms. The key to minimizing risk and maximizing client satisfaction and the firm’s financial returns is thoughtful, informed preparation.”
And this quote; “CPA firms that specialize in personal financial planning say two important reasons to sell investment products, including insurance, are being able to tailor planning implementation to individual clients’ needs and, of course, revenue growth. Clients like being able to conveniently obtain advisory services, products and administration in one place, and they stay with firms that provide easy access to them. The firm benefits because financial planning products can potentially provide large fees.”
And lastly; “Over the last decade 20% of the top 100 accounting firms have partnered to create financial service organizations and 20% of Maryland CPAs sell some type of financial product. Development of wealth management platforms inside of CPA firms is the future of the profession.”
About Barry Goldwater
Barry Goldwater is the Principal of the Financial Resource Group and a 20-year veteran of the insurance industry. He focuses not only on working with the business and affluent clients of CPA's and attorneys, but also in helping CPA's form and develop a business model to include financial services. His expertise lies with using insurance and tax deductible solutions and their applications in the areas of Business Planning, Pensions, Retirement Protection Planning and Wealth Transfer Planning. He is an insurance specialist who is a member of the Bisys Exceptional Producer Group, the New York and Boston Chapters of the Estate Planning Council and he currently sits on the board of the Society of Financial Service Professionals. He can be reached at 617-527-9736 or [email protected]. His web site is http://www.frg-creative.com.