When it comes to networking your practice, it can become incredibly easy to allow yourself to get consumed by the number of networking events available to accounting professionals. While these events are of incredible importance to growing a client base and building business relationships in your community, they can also be quite demanding of time and energy.
So, how can you decide which events deserve priority over the others? The answer is fairly straightforward – by beginning with an end goal in mind. Stay aware of what you intend to get out of each event you attend. Beyond that, is important to keep your networking opportunities as diverse as possible. If you find yourself attending events in which you meet the same members of a target industry, or worse, the same accountants, you are probably missing out on other networking opportunities.
Focus on the right types of events
One strategy is to research who will be at an event prior to committing. If you have the opportunity to attend a local charity event, do some digging and find out who attended last year, and who will be attending this year. You can even set up a Google Alert for that organization and have emails sent to you regarding everyone who lists participation in that organization in their online CV or companies that are sponsoring a particular event.
Once you decide on an event, make note of who you would like to meet, and focus on that goal for the event. Local charities and nonprofit organization events are of particular attractiveness because the goal of a non-profit or charity is to attract a wide reaching and diverse array of local businesses, and attending charity events leads to natural networking and can create a positive presence for your practice in the local perception.
It is also important to diversify your exposure to events on a local and a national level. If your practice has national appeal, attending industry conferences outside of your own state can bring a your practice exposure outside the shadow of your local competitive bubble, and can often put you in touch with valuable sources of advice and industry specialization.
Ultimately it is the most important to focus on why you are attending an event, what you hope to achieve at the event, and who you hope to meet as a result of attending. By approaching networking events with an objective mindset, you can easily trim the list of networking events on your calendar to just the most fruitful ones, and spend more time closing leads post-event rather than chasing inbound leads in the first place.