Networking is fundamental to the success of any business - but it comes at a price. Between all of the events, phone calls and meetings, it can eat up a lot of your time! And with targets to meet, it's natural to wonder, is networking really a priority?
The truth is, there is a lot to be gained from new and existing contacts - you just have to manage your time effectively. So, to help you get the most out of your contacts (without missing those targets), we’ve created 7 time-saving business networking tips for accountants. With the help of these tips, you can build your network and reap the rewards without wasting any time.
Slowing down may sound counterintuitive (especially since this article is about saving time), but unless you find the extra hours to network effectively, your efforts will likely go to waste. And when your time is already so limited, you need to know each minute spent networking is a minute well spent.
The solution is to prioritise effectiveness over efficiency. Think about it - no one is going to put themselves out over a half-hearted email or a two-minute phone call. You have to start investing your time into building lasting relationships with your clients - otherwise, you'll end up running on a networking hamster wheel wielding no rewards.
Focus on what you can offer others
Like with all good relationships, networking is about give and take. However, too many people make the mistake of focusing solely on what their contacts can offer them. Needless to say, spending other people’s time and continually asking for favours doesn’t help you win clients or build lasting relationships.
One of the best business networking tips for accountants is to compel rather than sell. So ask yourself, what can you and your practice offer them? Do you have any advice or expertise to help them tackle a challenge you have previously faced? By offering help and support, you can develop strong, and most importantly, mutually beneficial relationships.
The value of an event should always outweigh the cost
Networking events provide the perfect opportunity to make new contacts and meet new clients. However, not every networking event, meeting or group will be beneficial to you. So, to avoid wasting time (and money), start evaluating each event based upon their price versus their value.
Ask yourself, what are the benefits of attending this event? Will this event bring me closer to my goals? Who will be attending? By doing your research beforehand, you can make informed decisions about networking events, target the most beneficial ones and ultimately, make better connections.
Don't waste time networking! Download our free networking plan template (with full instructions on how to use it.) This plan will help you never waste time going to events or meeting people who are never going to help you win work.
Set clear and attainable goals
One of the simplest yet most impactful business networking tips for accountants is to set clear goals before attending an event. Do you want to make new contacts? If so, how many? Are you aiming to meet someone from a specific company? Or do you want to practice a pitch to receive honest, constructive feedback? Whatever your goals, the aim is to enter each event with a clear objective - that way, you can receive the most value for your time whilst working towards your networking goals.
It’s shocking how many accountants fall short when following up after an event. And while a great first impression still goes a long way, if you don’t follow up afterwards, the chances are that contact will forget you as quickly as they met you. Meaning all the time, money and effort you spent on attending that event have gone to waste!
Don’t make this mistake. Follow up as soon as possible! We recommend scheduling follow-up calls and meetings within two weeks of the event. That way, you can ensure that a) you don’t forget or leave it too late and b) you continue to make a positive, memorable first impression.
Save time by calling potential clients
One-to-one meetings can be incredibly valuable - however, they also take up a lot of your time. So, one of our most valuable business networking tips for accountants is to reserve face-to-face meetings for high-value clients. Why? Because scheduling meetings costs time and money. It involves arranging a date, agreeing on a time and location, travel, planning - and that is all before it’s even begun! Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and arrange a phone call with your new connections instead. You can still reap all of the rewards of a one-to-one meeting, just without the added hassle.
Create your own opportunities
So far, we’ve discussed the significance of networking effectively, how to gain the most from networking events and the importance of following up with clients. However, another of our valuable business networking tips for accountants is to start creating your own opportunities.
Statistically, many of the referrals you gain actually come from people you already know - so take advantage of this. Ask your team to keep an eye out for potential contacts, advertise the type of work your practice is looking for (either online or to existing clients) and even leverage company events for an opportunity to network. This strategy allows you to sell yourself authentically without any additional pressure - allowing your business (and everything it stands for) to speak for itself.
Prioritise using your time more effectively
As you can see from these 7 business networking tips for accountants, it's not always about getting things done as quickly as possible. Sometimes, it's about using your time more effectively. In this case, that means investing the hours, doing the research and following up with new clients. Remember, time well spent is time saved, so stop cutting corners and start developing those relationships.
Don't forget to download our free networking plan template (with full instructions on how to use it.) This plan will help you never waste time going to events or meeting people who are never going to help you win work.