There are already ar too many articles that have been written, as well as presentations given, focusing on how CPAs can be a more effective “networkers.” Interestingly, these articles usually approach this critical topic from the ‘how to’ angle, offering advice on how to work the room, how to collect business cards, and how to make conversation with strangers.
What is usually overlooked though is how important it is to develop solid relationships. Real networking is not measured by quantity – and your success is not confirmed by the stack of business cards you acquired at the Chamber of Events program. Instead, professionals in small and large firms alike should be concentrating on building a meaningful network of relevant contacts. This means doing some homework, being more strategic in your efforts, and taking time to identify the best opportunities for you and for your firm. Networking is much more about helping others and developing valuable friendships than it is about having a long list of names in your database.
Ours is a relationship-driven profession and most of our firms have grown over the years through word-of-mouth referrals from people who know us, trust us, and are proud to refer their friends to us. No matter how busy you are, there should always be time to continue focusing on retaining your contacts as well as developing new ones. Think about that the next tie you eat breakfast or lunch with someone from your own firm!