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Networking: How to connect without boring prospects

6th Nov 2018
Editor AccountingWEB
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Microphone in front of podium with crowd in the background
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You have 60 seconds to impress a roomful of prospective clients. What do you say? How do you say it? Will the prospects even care? Feeling nervous yet?

The key to a successful networking presentation is to be engaging, interesting and trustworthy. But beyond the actual networking mechanics, many can’t escape the length of time they’re expected to speak. For some, 60 seconds isn’t long enough. For others, it’s 60 seconds too long.

The 60-second network pitch has long been a component of many firms’ referral acquisition. Accountants attending network groups such as their local Business Network International (BNI) chapter are expected to pitch to prospective business clients as to why they should come to them, rather than another local accountant.

However, while accountants spend many years gaining qualifications none of these includes speaking. This communication skill may actually mean more in a networking environment than the technical skills accountants want to discuss.

What sets you out from the crowd?

As recently discussed on the site, longtime AccountingWEB contributor Jennifer Adams joined the business network BWC after realising BNI wasn’t for her. The group works in a similar way to the BNI, according to Adams, with monthly meetings. But, as Adams blogged on AccountingWEB, her group is not restricted to only one profession. So, naturally, Adams makes sure she doesn’t sit next to other accountants during her one-minute sales pitch.

However, Adams still has to compete against her fellow accountants for the hearts and minds of other attendees, and that forces her to consider how she can make her pitch different from the other accountants. Turning to the Any Answers last week for help, Adams said: “We all want to give a personal service and keep in touch with clients, be there when they need us.”

So, what can you say that sets you apart from the crowd? Being specific is one way to target a particular client. “Most accountants who go to the BNIs and other local networking events tend to go after local small business owiOr helrget a particular mall business owiOr hfile/ro, na225" height="10 partat seed the busine/p> cm5" height=tat sry insattersley" /eoe one--how-to-keep-bu aeiv cclient. ue}etene7y-JM1f="/tags/awomt ofer"> ut, as Adams