A strategic alliance with another professional such as a CPA or attorney is a valuable asset to any referral strategy. Yet Julie Littlechild of Advisor Impact has an idea to make these relationships even more effective: a joint survey, both independently run and confidential, of both client bases.
"In this scenario," writes Littlechild of such a survey with a CPA, "you would conduct an independent survey of your clients, and the CPA would conduct an independent client survey of his or her clients. Each survey would reflect your own needs and objectives, but you would look for cross-selling opportunities for the CPA (e.g., valuation or corporate audit services), and the CPA would look for cross-selling opportunities for you (e.g., wealth management or estate planning)."
Armed with this information, both you and the other professional will be able to give referrals where there is true need for the others services.
Here is Littlechild's sample letter to a COI (center of influence) introducing the joint-survey idea:
I'm writing to let you know about a client survey program I thought you would find of interest. We are looking at conducting a client audit, which is a tool that allows you to gauge client satisfaction and to identify specific cross-selling and referral opportunities.
I thought you would be interested to know that in addition to getting feedback on the service we are delivering, we are asking clients to rate their overall satisfaction with their accountants and expect to be in a position to send you several referrals as a result.
The firm that conducts the client audit also works with accountants, so I am attaching the brochure. If you are interested, I would be happy to make an introduction and would be very interested in talking about how we can structure both of our surveys to gather feedback that would allow us to provide more focused, needs-based referrals to one another.
I'll follow up in the next week to discuss the idea further, but please don't hesitate to call if you have any immediate questions.
For more ways you can use surveys to improve your referral strategy, see Littlechild's full Horsesmouth article, here (free registration required).