Building a new accounting practice or growing an existing one is hard work, especially when it comes to driving new client growth which is essential to your success. What’s even more difficult (and annoying) is when you have a rival that comes along and steals your prospects, despite them annoying everyone at networking events! When it comes to networking for accountants, there’s always someone who breaks ‘the rules’ yet still gets all the attention, stopping you from selling more. Well no more! Here are our 9 smart tips to help you win bigger and better clients (and more than your competitor) when networking.
What are these ‘networking rules?’
You’re doing things right, not annoying people, turning up on time to meetings; you don’t overstay your welcome, you don’t get forceful or pushy at networking events and everybody says great things about you.
Then there’s your nemesis who turns up late, only talks about me, me, me; doesn’t listen, insists on endless "pushy selling", and everybody (yes, everybody!) says the same things about them.
How annoying is that?
That despite all that, everybody still flocks around them rather than you.
If you have a “nemesis” who seems to get in your way and get results despite “breaking the rules,” then you know what we mean.
What’s more (and a lot worse!), is when you find out that they aren't actually very good at their job and they treat clients poorly, yet they STILL manage to grab your prospects. How?
Was is the same at school?
In your year at school, was there that one person that everybody moaned about? His or her behaviour were regularly brought into disrepute, your classmates said they would never go out with him or her and yet....they did! Is it the same sort of thing going on here?
Whether you have this nemesis or not, it’s important that you look at your own sales and think about what you can learn from this to help grow your firm and win more clients (Need to get better at converting leads?).
When it comes to networking for accountants, there’s actually quite a few things that you can do.
Networking for accountants: essential tips to win more
Firstly, remember the proverb “he who seeks revenge, should first dig two graves.” Recite this to yourself and stay positive with these networking tips:
- Enjoy it when people moan about your nemesis but never join in!
- Consider your strengths and why people admire you - if you’re not sure, ask some of your closest contacts for feedback. This way you can check that if your networking is actually not working for the reasons you think!
- Play to your strengths - if you’re well known for being fair, be fair; if you're really helpful, be helpful. What are your strengths and how important are they in delivering a great service? Get specific testimonials where people recognise your strengths and the results that they give and use them.
- Educate people on the importance of your strengths (and how to spot when they're not delivered - aim your discussions, presentations and material at educating what excellence looks like. Highlight the value of your strengths and the positive impact that they can have on a business (and vice versa if these strengths aren’t present).
- Be sure that you're clear when you ask for things - many people beat around the bush and this can lose you clients. Make sure to ask for what you want as clearly as you can; you will be surprised by what greater clarity can achieve! Just make sure to always follow up your asks with the value that they’ll gain as you don’t want to appear too pushy or sales-oriented.
- Recognise and fix your mistakes - if you’re truthful to yourself, there will be some instances where it was your fault that you didn't close the deal. If you can identify these mistakes, they will be easy to rectify.
- Focus your networking on those that are most important to you and that you get on with - not all networking contacts are equal so decide on which ones deserve your time. The ones that are, here are 27 ways to keep in touch.
- If you know they will be in the same networking meeting as you, calm yourself first - if you’re not calm, it’s only you that will come off worse, so don’t allow them to put you off and play the game your way.
- Always remember that he/she probably doesn’t get all the results that it looks like they do! - If their client service is poor, they need to devour more leads than you, so next time you’re annoyed at your rival ‘performing better’ than you, think about them running on that hamster wheel while you have a loyal client base.
Don’t get mad; get even. Sell more despite your nemesis!
If you have a rival that is winning more and stealing your potential prospects, play the long game. Implement these tips that we’ve given you for networking for accountants and you’ll soon find that you will be winning bigger and better clients who are loyal long after rivals have burnt themselves out running on that hamster wheel!