Giving a presentation in front of a live audience? What’s your reaction? If you answered “anxious” or “full of dread,” you’re not alone. However, practice does make these situations easier and, more importantly, it helps get new clients.
Referrals are one of the most valuable ways to generate new leads in the accounting industry. Networking helps uncover and identify helpful contacts, bring in new clients, and cultivate that important word-of-mouth traffic. How can you tap into this skill to grow your practice?
Whether networking virtually or in person, here are a few tips to make networking easier:
Are you hesitant to jump into the middle of a conversation? Don’t worry. Engage attendees individually at events (in-person or virtual). If they don’t know many people, they will appreciate the opportunity to speak with someone. Remember, everyone is there due to a common thread, such as a shared interest or industry requirement. This may make approaching new contacts less intimidating.
Sometimes it’s easier for people to talk about themselves or what they’re working on, rather than making small talk. Ask questions and use the responses to spur further conversation.
Bring Your Business Cards or Offer Your LinkedIn Profile
Many people hang on to business cards. This is a handy reference when they realize they need your services (or can refer someone) long after you meet. If you prefer to go paperless or are meeting virtually, download an app that lets you exchange information electronically.
Remember – It’s Not All About You
Great networkers start conversations, not commercials. Really listen for pain points and share information that would be helpful for a prospective client’s unique situation. Adapt your firm’s positioning statement to speak to a potential client’s pain directly.
Learn more about creating networking opportunities and best practices in our Accountant Resource Center Article: Essential Advice for Expanding Your Client Base