One of the best decisions I have made was to focus on building strategic alliances that would enhance the value I bring to my clients and also create a reciprocal referral source. I realized that I can not be everything to everyone and realized I did not want to be. I took a look at the type of businesses I was referring to my clients the most and built my strategic alliances around those specific businesses and people. For example, I work with six different CPA firms located in various parts of the state, two merchant services companies, two payroll companies, various consultants, and business coaches.
Being a bookkeeper, we have knowledge of the most intimate details of a business and typically know what that business is going to need, sometimes even before they do. Also, our clients come to trust us and our judgment and we will usually be the first person they ask when they are looking for another type of service like a CPA, or payroll company.. To start building your own strategic alliances, take a moment and assess your clients and determine what type of resources they may need outside of bookkeeping. Then the next time you are at a networking event, make a point of seeking out that type of business and begin building a relationship with them.
Here are some helpful hints for creating your own strategic alliances:
1. Look for several different size CPA firms to build relationships with. It is always good to have more than one CPA to refer your client to and different sized CPA firms to meet the needs of your clients
2. Look for a couple of business coaches who focus on growth and providing growth solutions to small business owners. Coaches are a great referral source.
3. Build relationships with other bookkeepers. Find out what type of client they like to work with. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that their focus is most likely different than yours. You’ll not only have a great referral source to refer clients to who are not in your ideal client profile you will also gain a colleague that you can bounce ideas off of.
When you surround yourself with great strategic alliances you will find your phone ringing more often and closing more business!