Strategic alliances can play an important role as a part of any CPA firm's marketing plan. What is interesting about these special connections is that they can come in all sizes and shapes. For example, in a recent news cast, Joe Connolly, reporting for the Wall Street Journal via CBS news in New York, referenced a new, unique relationship between UPS and local storefront businesses. What UPS has done is to arrange for their customers to drop off packages at convenient locations where they do business (like dry cleaners!) in lieu of having to seek out an "official" UPS drop off spot.
It seemed like a brilliant idea to me! Why not make it as easy as possible for the people who do business with you? While both of these partners are consumer focused, I think a similar concept can work well within the CPA firm world.
Even if you do not have a formalized relationship with other service providers, you can occasionally team up for the purpose of hosting and/or sponsoring events, sharing timely and relevant information with clients, or planning initiatives that are mutually beneficial for you and that will add real value for your clients. Partners can include other service providers who also target your specific audience as well as trade associations or business organizations in your community whose mission and focus is similar to yours.
Using a little ingenuity you can find alliances that will work with you in a cooperative manner without creating a competitive situation. Strategic alliances can enable you grow your practice by providing access to new prospective clients with the potential of taking your business to a higher level than you might achieve on your own.
The benefits to the partners—including your firm—is that you can leverage each other's strong reputation and brand, work together on an event that neither of you can afford on your own, and gaining access to new markets while learning from each other's areas of expertise.
By aligning with a well-respected partner, you gain additional credibility and can more quickly begin the process of building a new relationship. The bottom line is this: research reaffirms that people like to do business with people they like and trust. They are also more comfortable when those they like and trust recommend a service provider.
About the author:
Sally Glick is CMO and principal of Sobel & Co. LLC. She was named Accounting Marketer of the Year for 2003 and was voted into the AAM Hall of Fame in 2007. She can be reached at [email protected].