Dan Richards, a Toronto based advisor, recently tackled the subject of accountant referrals on his blog, Getting Clients / Keeping Clients. He raises many good points, chief among them that the key to establishing relationships with accountants is to approach them with an understanding of their point of view.
Aside from the challenge of getting their attention in an environment where they are flooded with demands on their time, accountants, like you, cherish the trust they have cultivated with their clients and are loath to do anything that would violate or diminish that trust in any way. To refer one of their clients to a financial advisor is to risk the client getting burned, something that will reflect negatively on their judgment and integrity.
To overcome an accountant’s fear of damaging their client-relationships, Dan recommends setting your sights a little lower:
“One thing that reduces risk for accountants is to refer clients to two or three different advisors and let them choose who to work with. Rather than having the goal of being the only advisor who is recommended, consider instead setting the goal of being one or two or three—a much safer proposition for accountants to consider.”
It may seem subtle, but by putting yourself in the running for a client’s attention instead of pushing for referrals, you can take the burden of risk off of the accountant and open the door for recommendations.