There are a lot of commonalities between accounting and networking- both require calculative measures and both offer flexibility and multiple paths to get to the end result. Networking is essential to stay relevant in the industry, whether is face-to-face or through social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Networking is one of the most effective way to meet new people, build reputations and get in touch with your centers of influence. Recruiters and clients are looking for competent professionals within their networks. Seldom are jobs posted on online job boards, let alone newspapers anymore. Clients too look for accounting professionals who are reliable and well recommended, and both of these tags are earned via networking. Following are some tips and tricks for better networking for CPAs:
Select the Right Events
Networking means visibility, and that even at the right events and at the right time. Trade shows might be a great way to meet professionals, and may provide wonderful opportunities for entrepreneurs to network, but they would be very unlikely to generate leads and networking opportunities for accountants. Don’t waste your time attending every networking function. Follow your centers of influence and see where they are going. What kind of conferences, seminars, business breakfasts and webinars they are attending. Social networking sites are great for seeking out networking opportunities. College alumni events and community events can also provide great networking opportunities.
Be Sure to Present Yourself Well
Don’t go to an event wearing your finest tuxedo and most definitely don’t attend it wearing jeans and a t-shirt. You need to show that you are a competent and confident professional and should be dressed like it. A well-tailored, pressed and clean suit would do perfectly. Be sure to check if there are any dress code specifications or if the event is too casual for a dress coat and tie. You can call the organizers to confirm.
Know Who You Are
Networking is not very different from marketing. You need to know who you are, what you can do and you need to know how to pitch it to your prospective clients. You have probably already mastered the dreaded ‘tell me about yourself’ question recruiters ask. Simply summarize it in 2-3 sentences that would explain to your prospect clients and employers how you are best suited for the job you do.
Be Polite, Confident and Maintain Eye Contact
Your body language and tone of voice can sometimes leave a more lasting impression than the words that come out of your mouth. Be sure to keep your hands out of your pocket, don’t chew gum and always maintain eye contact.
Don’t Forget Your Business Cards
You might have a pretty name and a very memorable face, but when networkers meet dozens of people at a certain event, their memory more often than not fails them. Once you have made a good impression through your presentation skills, close the deal with a business card so that people will know who to contact when they are sieving through them to look for a qualified CPA or accountant.