Networking is not for everyone. Whilst some accountants enjoy attending regular networking events, I regularly hear tales of woe from those who find it a frustrating waste of time. There are also plenty of accountants who do not like the idea of chatting with strangers very appealing.
You will rarely meet someone at a networking event who is there to find a new accountant. So the process of moving from attending such events to winning new clients can be both time consuming and involved. How can you short-cut the process?
In this blog post I share an idea that could be a far more productive use of your time and less daunting too. It’s quite different to the tips and advice I have shared previously as to how you can get more value from the time you spend networking.
The primary reason most accountants attend networking events is typically to win new clients. A secondary objective might be to build relationships with influencers who then refer you on to their clients and contacts. This latter rationale is more likely to be successful in the short-term. Few new clients will choose to appoint a new accountant until they have built a degree of trust – certainly more than comes from a casual chat at a networking event.
The best client introductions
If you’ve been in practice a while you should know how you came to service your best clients. I’ll bet that most didn’t come through adverts, they didn’t come from people searching on the web and they didn’t come from social networking. Sure, all of these activities might generate some work but your ‘best’ clients? There will always be exceptions but most accountants typically say that their best clients were introduced or recommended by existing or previous clients.
The second best source tends to be other advisers who know, like and trust the accountant. Often, but not always, these relationships were built up as a result of random meetings at networking events. But that’s not the only way to instigate them.
An alternative approach
If you don’t like Networking with strangers you are not alone. Instead why not ask your favourite clients to introduce you to their other advisers?
Which lawyers and financial advisers do they trust? These are then the people whom you can contact and meet for a coffee. You want to get to know them better so that you can recommend other clients to them as and when this seems appropriate. After all if one good client has recommended them, then others may value their advice too.
During your conversations with these advisers you will also get the chance to talk about your practice. And you will also reference the clients you have helped besides the one you have in common with the adviser you are with.
In effect this approach enables you to short-cut the networking process. You don’t have to chat with random strangers at networking events; you aren’t reliant on stumbling across people who might know someone who might need a new accountant; and you don’t have to arrange a series of follow up meetings with strangers who may or may not be valuable additions to your business circle.
Try it, you might like it.