CPA Business Development: Tips for Networking

Ok; so after reading last post, how to choose the right networking events, you’ve decided on what events to attend, registered, and put them on your calendar. Now what? How specifically can you get out there, make new contacts, and build up a slew of new prospects to put into the top of your sales funnel? Well, networking of course, that’s what we are talking about in this post. But how? Here are a few tips that will hopefully make you think and help get yourself out there:

1. Make your goal to talk to one person at first. If you are on the shyer side, this will be a challenge in itself, so keep it simple. Feel free to seek out someone else who isn’t speaking to anyone. At a networking event, everyone is there for the same reason. Don’t feel bad striking up a conversation.

2. Take a business card and try to commit to memory something about that individual. Start with one as your goal and build from there. Upon immediately leaving the event, make notes on the back of each card regarding the conversation you had with that person.  A little known fact – the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George Bush Sr. can be attributed in some small part to this strategy. After every party or event, they would go home and write a note to the people they had met.

3. Act like a therapist for business owners. Don’t focus on selling yourself directly; let them do the talking. There’s no better way to build trust with a person than by being a good listener.

4. When it’s time to sit down to eat or listen to a presentation, find a seat by people you haven’t met. Striking up conversation by proximity is nearly inevitable, and if you sit by someone you know, a conversation with them will replace a conversation you could have had with a new potential client.

5. Attend consistently. It may be the case that someone you met last time will realize they have need of your services. If they can expect to see you at the next event, it may solidify a deal.

6. The next day, write personalized follow up emails or Linkedin messages to everyone you met.  This can help jog their memory of your conversation or make you stick out from the crowd of people they might have met.

7. Don’t be shy to ask for a meeting. This is perhaps the most important tip, so I’ll repeat it – don’t be shy to ask for a meeting. Qualify the people the met, and ask anyone who you think can help your practice either as a direct client or a connection point, out for coffee, lunch, or a drink. Everyone attends events like this for a reason, and if you never ask for a follow up meeting, you might as well not attend.

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