Posts

Reese – an example of of an almost great accountant (2 of 2)

In the last post you’ll remember reading about Reese – our highly skilled accounting professional who lacked a network and needed to learn how to sell.

As a self-employed headhunter, the way I feed my family is through the network of contacts and relationships I have built and maintained over many years. In the case of Reese she has worked for the same accounting firm for most of her professional career and has only really built a network internal to the firm. If Reese aspires to be a Partner she will need to start building relationships that (sooner or later) will help her attract new businesses or more business from existing clients. So how does Reese get networking? Given the readership of this blog I will assume a few things so we can get to the heart of the matter.

1. Choose your area.You can’t be all things to all people. If your professional interest lies in say, the biotechnology field, then focus on relationships in that arena and around it.

2. Serve that area. Once you have selected the area start serving. By this I mean get involved in all the associations/forums/groups you can that make up your chosen area. Getting involved means not simply joining but doing things for and with others, e.g. give free advice, volunteer help, sit on steering groups/committees, make speeches and the like. Get to be known as someone who helps others – no strings attached.

3. Build a reputation as a “go to” person. Closely linked to the above point is the building of a profile as the person who becomes the hub for activity. Like a hub of a bicycle wheel that connects the spokes be the person that can link others together. Through a simple introduction over a coffee much kudos and creditability can be and is created. You will find that the hub becomes involved in all sorts of interesting situations and conversations that will lead to new opportunities.

4. Be genuine. If you are getting involved and helping others for the sole purpose of getting business and making sales you will fail. People can see a phony a mile away. So don’t be one!

The above points are not just useful for our young friend Reese to think about; they are a good reminder to the seasoned professional services campaigner!

All my best,

James E

Reese – an example of of an almost great accountant (1 of 2)

Recently  I met a potential job candidate on behalf of a client of mine. Lets call her Reese as in Reese Witherspoon .

Reese was a lovely lady in her early 30′s. Bright, warm and friendly. After the first five minutes of our coffee meeting I felt I had known her for years.

Reese is a senior accountant with a highly technical background and a wonderful skill-set in problem solving and working on complex projects with big end of town clients. In addition, she has a passion and enthusiasm for her work that is contagious. I think it would be safe to say that there would probably be around a couple of hundred professionals with her particular skill-mix in Australia. I’m not joking … she is that good! This coupled with her engaging personality makes for a formidable combination.

At first glance she seems to have all the makings of a first rate professional. But there is something  missing – her ability to network and sell.

To date Reese has focused on honing her technical & professional skills to the detriment of her capability to build effective relationships both within and outside her accounting firm. In fact during our coffee Reese clearly stated that it was only in the last year or so that she had come to realise how vitally important “networking” is.

As I think I’ve said in past posts I hate the word networking.  The word has unfortunately come to represent the attitude and behavior of  “what can I get out of other people.” I don’t want to sound twee about it, but true networking is about meaningful relationships. In Reese’s case she has not spent the time to identify, establish and cultivate relationships in the wider community. For it is these relationships with others that will help her on her way to building new business contacts and deepen her bonds with existing clients.

Reese is not yet a Partner in her firm. If she wants to not only be a Partner, but an effective, one she needs to learn how to build relationships and sell her services. Her passion for the profession is (sadly) not enough.

So how can Reese do this? Tune into the next post!

All my best,

James

Keeping the axe sharp

I had a coffee a few years back with a well connected chap and we were talking about the importance of relationships in business.

At the outset of the chat the senior chap stated that it was important to keep the axe sharp.  I asked him what he meant by that. He leaned forward in his chair and asked me if I ever had the situation when I had a job to do around the house needing a particular tool I hadn’t used for a long, long time. I go to my shed, find the tool and see that it is blunt, rusty and simply not up to the job at hand. I of course replied (like most honest males out there can attest) yes. He then asked me how I felt at the time. I told him I felt frustrated and angry. Not only did I have to spend more money to buy a tool I already had purchased and owned, but the job would now take me much longer since I would have to go down to the hardware store and choose another tool from the range of dozens they would no doubt stock and try to choose. Aaaarggghhh – what a waste of time and money!

The senior chap nodded, reclined back in his executive leather chair and told me something which made a whole lot of sense. Wouldn’t it have been better to take a little bit of time and care to keep your saw or axe or whatever the tool was sharp and ready to be used just in case you ever need it? The obvious response is yes.

Well that is EXACTLY what needs to be done with the relationships and networks people have and maintain. It is far more effective to invest, build, enhance and help your network when you don’t need any help; rather than expecting your friends and contacts to help you at a moments notice when they haven’t heard you for a long, long time! sound familiar anyone?

As you know I HATE the word networking. I avoid using the word like the plague. The only reason I’m using it here is that people seem to know what it means – sort of. Tune into the next post to understand what networking really is.

Bye for now,

James E

Think about relationships more than you do now

In the last post you’ll remember reading about Reece – our highly skilled accounting professional who lacked a network and needed to learn how to sell.

As a self-employed headhunter, the way I feed my family is through the network of contacts and relationships I have built and maintained over many years. In the case of Reece she has worked for the same accounting firm for most of her professional career and has only really built a network internal to the firm. If Reece aspires to be a Partner she will need to start building relationships that (sooner or later) will help her attract new businesses or more business from existing clients. So how does Reece get networking? Given the readership of this blog I will assume a few things so we can get to the heart of the matter.

1. Choose your area.You can’t be all things to all people. If your professional interest lies in say, the biotechnology field, then focus on relationships in that arena and around it.

2. Serve that area. Once you have selected the area start serving. By this I mean get involved in all the associations/forums/groups you can that make up your chosen area. Getting involved means not simply joining but doing things for and with others, e.g. give free advice, volunteer help, sit on steering groups/committees, make speeches and the like. Get to be known as someone who helps others – no strings attached.

3. Build a reputation as a “go to” person. Closely linked to the above point is the building of a profile as the person who becomes the hub for activity. Like a hub of a bicycle wheel that connects the spokes be the person that can link others together. Through a simple introduction over a coffee much kudos and creditability can be and is created. You will find that the hub becomes involved in all sorts of interesting situations and conversations that will lead to new opportunities.

4. Be genuine. If you are getting involved and helping others for the sole purpose of getting business and making sales you will fail. People can see a phony a mile away. So don’t be one!

The above points are not just useful for our young friend Reece to think about; they are a good reminder to the seasoned professional services campaigner!

Until next time,

James E.

Passion is not enough

A while back I met a potential candidate on behalf of a client of mine. Lets call her Reece as in Reece Witherspoon.

Reece was a lovely lady in her early 30′s. Bright, warm and friendly. After the first five minutes of our coffee meeting I felt I had known her for years.

Reece is a senior accountant with a highly technical background and a wonderful skill-set in problem solving and working on complex projects with big end of town clients. In addition, she has a passion and enthusiasm for her work that is contagious. I think it would be safe to say that there would probably be around a couple of hundred professionals with her particular skill-mix in Australia. I’m not joking … she is that good! This coupled with her engaging personality makes for a formidable combination.

At first glance she seems to have all the makings of a first rate professional. But there is something  missing – her ability to network and sell.

To date Reece has focused on honing her technical & professional skills to the detriment of her capability to build effective relationships both within and outside her accounting firm. In fact during our coffee Reece clearly stated that it was only in the last year or so that she had come to realise how vitally important “networking” is.

As I think I’ve said in past posts I hate the word networking.  The word has unfortunately come to represent the attitude and behavior of  “what can I get out of other people.” I don’t want to sound twee about it, but true networking is about meaningful relationships. In Reece’s case she has not spent the time to identify, establish and cultivate relationships in the wider community. For it is these relationships with others that will help her on her way to building new business contacts and deepen her bonds with existing clients.

Reece is not yet a Partner in her firm. If she wants to not only be a Partner, but an effective, one she needs to learn how to build relationships and sell her services. Her passion for the profession is (sadly) not enough.

So how can Reece do this? Tune into the next post!

All my best,

James E

All about Kate (2 of 2)

In the last post you’ll remember reading about Kate – our highly skilled accounting professional who lacked a network and needed to learn how to sell.

As a self-employed headhunter, the way I feed my family is through the network of contacts and relationships I have built and maintained over many years. In the case of Kate she has worked for the same accounting firm for most of her professional career and has only really built a network internal to the firm. If Kate aspires to be a Partner she will need to start building relationships that (sooner or later) will help her attract new businesses or more business from existing clients. So how does Kate get networking? Given the readership of this blog I will assume a few things so we can get to the heart of the matter.

1. Choose your area.You can’t be all things to all people. If your professional interest lies in say, the biotechnology field, then focus on relationships in that arena and around it.

2. Serve that area. Once you have selected the area start serving. By this I mean get involved in all the associations/forums/groups you can that make up your chosen area. Getting involved means not simply joining but doing things for and with others, e.g. give free advice, volunteer help, sit on steering groups/committees, make speeches and the like. Get to be known as someone who helps others – no strings attached.

3. Build a reputation as a “go to” person. Closely linked to the above point is the building of a profile as the person who becomes the hub for activity. Like a hub of a bicycle wheel that connects the spokes be the person that can link others together. Through a simple introduction over a coffee much kudos and creditability can be and is created. You will find that the hub becomes involved in all sorts of interesting situations and conversations that will lead to new opportunities.

4. Be genuine. If you are getting involved and helping others for the sole purpose of getting business and making sales you will fail. People can see a phony a mile away. So don’t be one!

The above points are not just useful for our young friend Kate to think about; they are a good reminder to the seasoned professional services campaigner!

All my best,

James E

All about Kate (1 of 2)

The other day I met a potential candidate on behalf of a client of mine. Lets call her Kate as in Kate Winslet .

Kate was a lovely lady in her early 30′s. Bright, warm and friendly. After the first five minutes of our coffee meeting I felt I had known her for years.

Kate is a senior accountant with a highly technical background and a wonderful skill-set in problem solving and working on complex projects with big end of town clients. In addition, she has a passion and enthusiasm for her work that is contagious. I think it would be safe to say that there would probably be around a couple of hundred professionals with her particular skill-mix in Australia. I’m not joking … she is that good! This coupled with her engaging personality makes for a formidable combination.

At first glance she seems to have all the makings of a first rate professional. But there is something  missing – her ability to network and sell.

To date Kate has focused on honing her technical & professional skills to the detriment of her capability to build effective relationships both within and outside her accounting firm. In fact during our coffee Kate clearly stated that it was only in the last year or so that she had come to realise how vitally important “networking” is.

As I think I’ve said in past posts I hate the word networking.  The word has unfortunately come to represent the attitude and behavior of  “what can I get out of other people.” I don’t want to sound twee about it, but true networking is about meaningful relationships. In Kate’s case she has not spent the time to identify, establish and cultivate relationships in the wider community. For it is these relationships with others that will help her on her way to building new business contacts and deepen her bonds with existing clients.

Kate is not yet a Partner in her firm. If she wants to not only be a Partner, but an effective, one she needs to learn how to build relationships and sell her services. Her passion for the profession is (sadly) not enough.

So how can Kate do this? Tune into the next post!

All my best,

James

“Do you know anyone … ?” (part 2 of 2)

In the last post we were talking about the the importance of helping clients with introductions to people that may help them in their business and personal lives.

You might have thought to yourself , “James … its fine for you to be introducing people to your clients that’s your job and you have a huge network of contacts and you get paid for it.”

The above thought has two parts to it. Firstly, yes … I do have a large network of  friends, associates, contacts & acquaintances. But I’ll show you a way that is both inexpensive and quick to allow you to build a circle of friends and others that will help you in your business and career if you use it the right way. Secondly, I do a lot of favours for clients and others that I don’t get paid a brass razoo for. For me, its all about strengthening relationships and giving before receiving. To some of you this might sound corny and trite – but I’ve found it is the best way to become a long-term professional that people will trust.

Many of you have heard of LinkedIn and a few of you use it. For the uninitiated, LinkedIn is an online business networking site that connects people through 3 degrees of separation: your friends, friends of friends and friends of friends of friends.

LinkedIn (I prefer this business network because I have spent the most time and effort in building it!) is akin to a huge virtual bucket of business cards. You can search LinkedIn members by criteria like name, position title, company, university/college and location. It is seriously useful if you use it correctly.

At the time of writing my LinkedIn network numbered just under 20 million people around the world. This of course didn’t happen overnight, but through a regular investment of a little bit of time my network has got bigger and bigger. Some of you might be thinking – so what? What is the use of being linked to people in Botswana when I’m in Australia? With complete respect … thats not the point. By having access to these type of networks you can reach people you wouldn’t normally know or even think of contacting.

As mentioned in the last post my client needed access to someone within a specific field in Australian Agribusiness industry based in Sydney. I used LinkedIn to start an initial search and within about 10 minutes I had 20 contacts. Now from experience I know that not all of those contacts will be the right ones but with some further screening I will find my client 2-3 high quality people with whom he can meet.

There is absolutely no reason whatsoever that you can’t do the same for your clients. To help get you started send me an invite to join your LinkedIn network. By doing that my 2nd degree of separation will become your third degree which means about 3.3 million people will be added to your network instantly.

If you’re not a LinkedIn member then sign up otherwise you’re missing out on a quick and inexpensive way to help your clients – accounting or otherwise.

See you next time.

James E

Passion + Relationships = Success

In the last post you’ll remember reading about Cameron – our highly skilled accounting professional who lacked a network and needed to learn how to sell.

As a self-employed headhunter, the way I feed my family is through the network of contacts and relationships I have built and maintained over many years. In the case of Cameron she has worked for the same accounting firm for most of her professional career and has only really built a network internal to the firm. If Cameron aspires to be a Partner she will need to start building relationships that (sooner or later) will help her attract new businesses or more business from existing clients. So how does Cameron get networking? Given the readership of this blog I will assume a few things so we can get to the heart of the matter.

1. Choose your area.You can’t be all things to all people. If your professional interest lies in say, the biotechnology field, then focus on relationships in that arena and around it.

2. Serve that area. Once you have selected the area start serving. By this I mean get involved in all the associations/forums/groups you can that make up your chosen area. Getting involved means not simply joining but doing things for and with others, e.g. give free advice, volunteer help, sit on steering groups/committees, make speeches and the like. Get to be known as someone who helps others – no strings attached.

3. Build a reputation as a “go to” person. Closely linked to the above point is the building of a profile as the person who becomes the hub for activity. Like a hub of a bicycle wheel that connects the spokes be the person that can link others together. Through a simple introduction over a coffee much kudos and creditability can be and is created. You will find that the hub becomes involved in all sorts of interesting situations and conversations that will lead to new opportunities.

4. Be genuine. If you are getting involved and helping others for the sole purpose of getting business and making sales you will fail. People can see a phony a mile away. So don’t be one!

The above points are not just useful for our young friend Cameron to think about; they are a good reminder to the seasoned professional services campaigner!

All my best,

James E

Is passion enough?

The other day I met a potential candidate on behalf of a client of mine. Lets call her Cameron as in Cameron Diaz.

Cameron was a lovely lady in her early 30’s. Bright, warm and friendly. After the first five minutes of our coffee meeting I felt I had known her for years.

Cameron is a senior accountant with a highly technical background and a wonderful skill-set in problem solving and working on complex projects with big end of town clients. In addition, she has a passion and enthusiasm for her work that is contagious. I think it would be safe to say that there would probably be around a couple of hundred professionals with her particular skill-mix in Australia. I’m not joking … she is that good! This coupled with her engaging personality makes for a formidable combination.

At first glance she seems to have all the makings of a first rate professional. But there is something  missing – her ability to network and sell.

To date Cameron has focused on honing her technical & professional skills to the detriment of her capability to build effective relationships both within and outside her accounting firm. In fact during our coffee Cameron clearly stated that it was only in the last year or so that she had come to realise how vitally important “networking” is.

As I think I’ve said in past posts I hate the word networking.  The word has unfortunately come to represent the attitude and behavior of  “what can I get out of other people.” I don’t want to sound twee about it, but true networking is about meaningful relationships. In Cameron’s case she has not spent the time to identify, establish and cultivate relationships in the wider community. For it is these relationships with others that will help her on her way to building new business contacts and deepen her bonds with existing clients.

Cameron is not yet a Partner in her firm. If she wants to not only be a Partner, but an effective, one she needs to learn how to build relationships and sell her services. Her passion for the profession is (sadly) not enough.

So how can Cameron do this? Tune into the next post!

All my best,

James E