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The Accountant and School Sports: 8 Ways to Tactfully Raise Your Visibility

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Apr 22nd 2015
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Sometimes opportunity is so close we don’t notice it. You want to add a certain type of client, perhaps individuals or small- to medium-sized businesses. Professional medical practices might qualify. So where are you going to find people measuring up to this standard?

You believe in education; it took a lot to become a CPA. To continue the tradition, you either enrolled your children in an exclusive private school or moved into a neighborhood with a great school district. Many successful people do the same, and parents are involved in school activities. According to 2012 data from the National Center for Education Statistics, 87 percent of K-12 parents went to school meetings, and 74 percent attended events. You have opportunities to meet and socialize.

The School Sports Opportunity
People working out at the gym talk about friends in common. At my gym, I overheard a conversation: A woman recognized a name, referring to them as a “sideline parent.” Year after year, children participate in school sports. Regardless of celebrity status or income level, their parents stand in the rain every weekend to cheer them on. This shared interest provides an opportunity to socialize and tactfully raise your visibility. Here are eight strategies to consider.

1. Carpooling. Children and their gear need to get to games. Parents often share the burden of driving. Get into the rotation. This level of interaction establishes you as trustworthy and demonstrates responsibility. They become familiar with your face.

2. Logos. The occasional garment bearing your firm’s trademark establishes your profession. It’s easy to get carried away with hats, jackets, and polo shirts, so check out what other parents are wearing. It lets you know what’s acceptable, and it also tells you what they do for a living.

3. The big umbrella. It may be raining, but the game isn’t going to be canceled. There’s usually a few parents who didn’t check the weather forecast and are getting drenched. A huge golf umbrella (with your firm’s logo) allows you to provide shelter from the storm. They will appreciate your generosity. Some people even bring an extra umbrella. When the skies open and you spot an unsheltered couple, make contact, lend your umbrella, and dash to your car to get a replacement. You insist the other parents hold onto the umbrella, silently establishing the need for them to arrange to return it to you the following week.

4. Compliments. Everyone wants their children to succeed. When another child scores, congratulate their parents standing nearby. Few people are offended by a compliment, especially when it’s directed at their child’s achievements. They will likely return the favor. A bond is developing.

5. The absent parents. Some children play without parental cheerleaders in the background. Although some can be quick to assume they are “bad parents,” it’s often the opposite. Those parents want to attend, yet they are a trauma doctor or a “C-level” corporate executive who travels extensively. When their child scores, take a picture with your phone, and immediately send it to them. You are helping them share the moment. It will be appreciated.

6. Uniforms. It’s likely schools have this expense covered. If it’s a local community children’s team, they might need sponsorship. Often this involves the supporting business having its name printed on the jerseys. It also shows your support for the community.

7. Awards dinners. Sponsoring a trophy or the awards dinner is another way for parents to gain recognition. There are plenty of activities that require outside funding. This might involve recognition in the program or thanks from the podium. Without being too pushy, you have gained recognition before a large audience.

8. Alumni. Perhaps you went to the school; maybe you didn’t. During the year, there are events that draw students, parents, and famous alumni with strong ties to the school. This becomes another opportunity to socialize.

Yes, you want new clients. You want to do business with people you like. Most people prefer the same. Making the most of your involvement as a sideline parent is a great way to tactfully raise your visibility.

About the author:
Bryce Sanders is president of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc. in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He provides HNW client acquisition training for the financial services industry. His book "Captivating the Wealthy Investor" can be found on Amazon.com.

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