Add a ‘Lunch-a-Week’ to Your Marketing Efforts

Many of us understand the importance of developing networks and building relationships to help find business from sources other than your book. The trouble is finding a consistent way to establish these relationships over time. One way is to start a ‘lunch a week’ program where you take a CPA or attorney to lunch each week or every other week. This meeting should only be to introduce yourself and your services and see if this person is someone you feel you could work with in the future. The object is to have 3 or 4 attorneys and/or CPA’s at the end of the year in which you could refer business back and forth. Here are some places to look for CPA’s and attorneys in your area:

Referrals: Referrals from your managers, office staff and friends to their CPA’s and attorneys is a good place to start. If your customers mention they have a CPA or attorney, ask for an introduction because you are always looking for competent people in these areas.
Local Paper: Most local papers have articles on new CPA’s or attorneys starting businesses in the area.
Association Groups: National associations of accountants and attorneys most likely have local chapters in your area. Getting involved may allow you to establish good networking contacts.
Cole’s Business Directory: Your local library probably has this in it’s reference section. It is a list of businesses by type and location.
Internet: There are tons of helpful websites to find people & businesses.
Yellow Pages: Not the best source but they are all in there!
Remember, the object is to find people in these industries that you would feel comfortable referring your customers to and someone who would be willing to do the same for you. Building these relationships takes time. Spending only an hour every week or two consistently could have large rewards in building your business for the long term!
Important Note: The Compliance Dept. points out the following acceptable forms of practice when prospecting in this manner;
·         You must provide at least 2 or 3 names or business cards to your customer when making the referral without giving preference.
·         You may not receive monetary compensation for the referral.
·         Make it very clear that this is a personal referral and NOT on behalf of your financial institution, or any of its affiliates.
·         Do Not simply offer names as standard routine. Provide names or cards only if customer asks about or express a need for those types of services.