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CEPA Client Acquisition and Fee Structuring

CEPA Client Acquisition and Fee Structuring

As a Certified Exit Planning Advisor (CEPA), understanding the intricacies of client acquisition and fee structuring is crucial for the growth and success of your practice. This guide explores the challenges and strategies to attract and convert clients, while effectively pricing your services to reflect the value you provide.

The Challenge of CEPA Client Acquisition

Client acquisition is a significant hurdle for many advisors. While delivering high-quality exit planning services is paramount, the journey begins with finding the right clients. Many advisors, whether they are financial planners, business advisors, or M&A specialists, struggle with this fundamental aspect. The focus often lies on service delivery, not on client acquisition, which can hinder practice growth.

“Never stop learning. The landscape of exit planning is ever-evolving, and staying ahead means being educated. Every interaction with a business owner is an opportunity to apply your knowledge and refine your approach.”

Christopher M. Snider, CEO, The Exit Planning Institute | Author, Walking to Destiny

Non-Digital Marketing: The Power of Speaking Engagements

Before diving into digital marketing, let’s explore the impact of non-digital strategies, particularly speaking engagements. Speaking at industry events, conferences, and seminars positions you as an authority in your field. For example, Doug, an exit planner specializing in M&A, frequently speaks at industry events. His efforts not only establish credibility but also generate substantial client interest.

  • Actionable Tip: Identify key industry events in your niche and propose to speak. Develop a few solid presentations that you can rotate and refine based on feedback. This not only showcases your expertise but also broadens your reach to potential clients. Maus provides done-for-you group coaching curriculum and presentations to launch quickly and confidently.

Building Referral Networks

Referral networks are another powerful non-digital strategy. Ideally, you should be part of a team of professionals who can provide mutual referrals. For instance, as a business advisor, partnering with CPA firms, legal advisors, and financial planners can create a steady stream of referrals.

  • Actionable Tip: Actively seek out and establish partnerships with complementary professionals. Schedule regular meetings to discuss mutual referrals and collaborative opportunities.

Digital Marketing: Leveraging Technology

Digital marketing is indispensable for modern client acquisition. Utilizing social media, email campaigns, and targeted online advertising can significantly expand your reach. However, the key is to stand out in the crowded digital space.

  • Actionable Tip: Develop a comprehensive digital marketing strategy that includes a professional website, active social media presence, and regular email newsletters. Use platforms like LinkedIn to share insights, industry updates, and success stories. Turn-key solutions such as Attract+ by Maus Software make staying front-of-mind easy by providing a full done-for-you service for socials and emails.

Online Lead Magnets and Assessments

Offering online assessments can be an excellent way to attract and qualify leads. An online lead magnet, such as a business readiness assessment, not only engages potential clients but also provides you with valuable insights about their needs.

  • Actionable Tip: Create an online assessment tool on your website. Promote it through your digital channels and encourage potential clients to complete it. Use the results to tailor your initial consultation, demonstrating a personalized approach from the start. Products like Attract+ save time by providing a full range of exit planning assessments that easily integrate into your website, socials, and traditional marketing.

Structuring Your Fees: How Much to Charge as a CEPA – Value-Based Pricing

Your fee structure is a critical component of your practice. It should reflect the value you provide and be transparent to build trust with clients. Consider the following strategies:

  1. Fixed Fee for Specific Deliverables: Charge a set price for defined services such as Business Continuity Instructions or Value Driver Reports. This approach is straightforward and sets clear expectations.
  2. Split Payment Strategy: Divide the fee into manageable installments, such as 50% upfront and 50% upon completion. This method makes it easier for clients to commit financially.
  3. Monthly Retainer Model: Offer continuous support with a monthly retainer. This ensures steady income and fosters long-term relationships.
  4. Phase-Based Payment: Break down the exit planning process into phases, with payments due at each stage. This aligns payments with progress and deliverables.
  5. Hybrid Pricing Model: Combine an upfront payment with ongoing retainer fees, balancing immediate revenue with long-term stability.
  6. Hourly Billing: For those comfortable with traditional consulting models, hourly billing offers flexibility and simplicity.

Put the Price in Perspective for Your Client

Simply put, if you are saving or making your client money, there will be no need to justify your fees. But providing excellent service, tax savings, improved cash flow, higher price of sale, etc., sometimes still does not add up for them. 

It may be helpful to relate your cost to a common expense in order to give perspective. “The cost I am proposing for your comprehensive Exit Plan is less than the salary of your personal assistant or office cleaning staff.” 

Or, you could also relate your fees to your client’s revenues: “The investment of $15,000 for your Exit Plan is only one half of 1% of your gross revenues.” 

BEI Exit Planning Solutions, exitplanning.com
  • Actionable Tip: Choose a fee structure that aligns with your business model and clearly communicates the value of your services. Regularly review and adjust your pricing based on client feedback and market trends.

The Role of Technology: Maus Software

Utilizing leading-edge tools like Maus Software, the world’s leading Exit Planning Platform, can streamline your CEPA processes and enhance your service delivery. This platform offers comprehensive solutions for business advisors, making client management and service execution more efficient.

  • Actionable Tip: Integrate Maus Software into your practice to benefit from its advanced features. Use it to attract new clients, scale your practice, manage client relationships, execute exit plans, and track progress effectively.

“As an advisor, your greatest contribution is helping business owners understand that the ultimate measure of a business’s success is its value, not just its profit margin. You are the guide that helps navigate through the complexities of growth to eventual exit.”

Christopher M. Snider, CEO, The Exit Planning Institute | Author, Walking to Destiny

Conclusion: Building a Thriving Practice

Successfully acquiring and retaining clients requires a strategic blend of non-digital and digital marketing efforts, a clear and value-based fee structure, and leveraging advanced tools like Maus Software. By implementing these strategies, you can enhance your practice, establish yourself as a trusted advisor, and ultimately help business owners achieve their exit planning goals.

By mastering these strategies, you can transform the challenge of client acquisition into a strength, ensuring steady growth and success for your practice as a Certified Exit Planning Advisor.

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