All the clichés and puns about 2020 aside, it is time to focus on what you can control – the direction of your business. Predictions are that social distancing and remote working will continue through the first half of the year, maybe longer. You kept your business going through the worst of the pandemic, but how will you get back on track and grow in 2021?
If your business is like many others that have gone nearly 100% virtual, you may be struggling with how to effectively networking and develop business. The limitations on face-to-face interactions have changed how we build relationships, but if you believe doing so is impossible, nothing could be further from the truth.
There is no denying that business develop is more challenging in today’s environment; however, if you commit to changing how you approach networking, 2021 could be your best year ever. The following tips are easy to apply and will give you an advantage over the competition:
- CLIENT OUTREACH: Call or email your “top twelve” clients just to ask how they are. Wish them health and safety, and tell them that you are available to help with anything they need. A simple and short phone call or email goes a long way. DO NOT ask for work, just check in and let them know you are thinking of them.
- REFERRAL SOURCE AND NETWORKING PARTNER OUTREACH: Call or email your “top twelve” referral sources or networking partners. As with client outreach above, this is an opportunity to simply check in and see how they are doing.
- VIRTUAL HAPPY HOUR: Host a virtual happy hour with five to ten people through a tool like Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Coordinate with a client, industry association, or referral partner, and ask them to invite participants as well, just keep the group small. Virtual happy hours can be very effective and the bonus is that people can attend and enjoy an adult beverage from the comfort of their home.
- HANDWRITTEN NOTE: Especially now, with so much “virtual” connectivity, sending contacts a handwritten note to check in and wish them well can really make a difference.
- IN PERSON MEETINGS: Get back to meeting with your clients and referral sources in person if all are comfortable doing so. It doesn’t hurt to ask if they would be up for breakfast, lunch or coffee. And, always be the first to the party, not the last.
When reaching out to your contacts, calling is much more effective than emailing. One of my favorite comments when talking about outreach is “The thing on your desk with the spiral cord, that’s a telephone. Pick it up and dial a number.” Technology has diminished the art of the telephone conversation, which is so much more personable than an email or text message. Don’t be afraid to “make the call.”
While this is not an all-inclusive list, implementing these tips will help keep you top of mind and on track for growth in 2021.
Ross is a member of the Arizona Society of CPAs and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). He formerly served as Treasurer for the Maricopa Rotary Club and Family Promise of Greater Phoenix, and the two-time past president of the BNI North Phoenix Business Leaders. Other interests include golf, bowling, church activities, and spending time with his wife and five children.
Ross earned a B.B.A. in Accounting from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining Price Kong, he worked in public accounting with another Arizona firm for seven years.
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Price Kong was established in Phoenix in 1967. Since then, our team has grown to 50 professionals and includes seventeen CPAs. The depth of our audit and tax practices allows us to provide services to clients in numerous industries, of a wide-range of sizes, and with revenues ranging from $1 million to over $500 million.
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