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Businesspeople networking at a conference

How CPAs Can Network Before Live Events

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Like many professionals, CPAs and others in accounting and finance are eager to attend upcoming conferences and tradeshows, like the 2022 AccountingWEB Live Summit, in person again. But after years of virtual events and meetings, connections with colleagues might need some nurturing. In this article, David Wachs of Handwrytten explains why you should reach out to contacts ahead of time to make the most of in-person accounting conferences and events this year. 

Sep 29th 2021
CEO Handywritten
Columnist
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Thousands of in-person conferences and tradeshows have been postponed or switched to virtual events over the past two years due to the pandemic, and accounting events are no exception. While live presentations over Zoom and recorded demonstrations made the best of a terrible situation, the reality is that, in most cases, online events are not as effective. Recent studies from event planning organizations have shown that nearly 85 percent of event attendees are ready to return to in-person events.

Speaking to a live audience makes an immeasurable impact on the message being shared, and certain activities, like networking with colleagues, potential clients, sales leads and other firms, is easier in person. But before paying the registration fee and booking a hotel, CPAs and other accounting professionals should take steps to ensure being there in person is as productive as possible. 

Stay Virtual and Connect on Social Networks

Keeping in touch with business connections has been challenging throughout the pandemic, and in some cases, your connections may have even changed roles. Rather than waiting for a conference or tradeshow to reconnect, take a proactive approach and start rebuilding and cultivating your lists of accounting and finance contacts ahead of time. This requires being a good and diligent detective. Start with the websites of the companies and firms that interest you. Most sites list the company’s leadership and employees, and many include their contact information.

Once you have your list, make connections on social media, especially LinkedIn. But don’t just send a generic message; put in some effort and thought. Mention the upcoming event, and point out the benefits of meeting there. You may even want to include a link to your calendar so they can select a time you’re available and lock in a meeting time. 

Don’t Just Send an Email

Emails are a quick, free way to reach a lot of contacts quickly, but sending out a mass email to everyone on an attendee list is unoriginal. Most of these emails get lost in a crowded inbox, end up in the spam folder or get deleted without being read. If you must send an email, use some artistic flare and send an ecard instead. For a few dollars, you can use a service to send a custom ecard to your contacts; recipients can watch an animation, including a little confetti, before your invitation is revealed. However, this approach still relies on the email being opened.

Send Handwritten Notes

A surefire way to get the attention of a contact before the next accounting conference or tradeshow is to send a handwritten note. Nothing says “I care” like a personalized, handwritten note. Every company attending the event is likely sending out emails and bulk mailers inviting attendees to a meeting or to their booth. Inboxes and mailboxes are overwhelmed by invitations from businesses and firms looking to reconnect with customers.

Standing out can be a challenge, but no one ignores a handwritten envelope in their mailbox. Even the biggest and most prevalent direct-mail marketers cannot compete with this strategy. Spending hours writing notes by hand can be prohibitive, so consider using a service like Handwrytten for just a few dollars per note. 

 

After years of setbacks, it’s crucial to make the most of upcoming accounting conferences and tradeshows. Putting extra time and effort toward doing research, building relationships and locking in meetings before the next big event will give you an advantage. Figure out which approach works best for you and then go the extra mile. 

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