Professional advisors such as accountants, lawyers, insurance agents, bankers, trust officers, financial planners, investment advisors, etc. depend on each other when working with mutual clients as well as creating new business opportunities for each other. While there are many articles regarding the best tips and methods of networking, this article will focus instead on organizations where professional advisors can utilize those networking techniques.
In my years of experience as a CPA/Shareholder with Buckno Lisicky, here are some of the organizations where I have found success in networking with other professional advisors:
- Estate Planning Council of the Lehigh Valley – This group of professionals focuses on estate planning, holds four seminars annually, with a networking session following each seminar. It provides timely information from great speakers in addition to the networking.
- Service Clubs – Groups such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Lions, etc. are always looking for new members who want to be active and engaged. I have been a member of the Rotary Club of Bethlehem for 25 years. These groups have members from all of the professions and provide a regular forum for networking with those advisors.
- Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce (GLVCC) – This organization offers service opportunities on boards and committees, plus many seminars and events each month. I have served on the board as an officer for five years. The members are very engaged and include all types of professional advisors, with almost unlimited chances to network.
- Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC) – This group holds a series of events during the year, plus an annual meeting/reception event. Many professional advisors are members of LVEDC or attend these events.
- Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) – This group of non-profit fundraising professionals holds several seminars each year, plus an annual breakfast celebrating National Philanthropy Day. Many professionals advisors who work with non-profits participate in this group.
- Non-Profit Boards and Committees – Many non-profit boards and committees include professional advisors. Serving in these organizations provides ongoing opportunities to network while helping the non-profit succeed in their mission. The special fundraising events also create opportunities to network with professional advisors who sponsor and attend these events.
- Lehigh Valley Community Foundation – This organization stewards charitable funds and helps donors with their charitable contributions, by reflecting the diverse ways people choose to help their community and support causes that matter to them. A board of governors that has fiduciary oversight is comprised of professional advisors from varied disciplines. In addition, a professional Advisors Council provides guidance, plus holds seminars and receptions for other advisors. The board meetings, seminars, and receptions present great opportunities for networking with other professional advisors.
- Professional Societies – Organizations for each of the professions tend to hold seminars and mixers that include invitees from other professions. A captive audience containing other professional advisors from the PICPA, County Bar Association, Risk Management Association, Financial Planners Association, etc. is a prime opportunity to network. The Lehigh Valley Consortium of Professional Organizations holds seminars for attendees from these professions during the year as well.
- Seminars and Conferences by Other Professions- Many professions hold annual seminars and conferences that include spaces for display booths or tables from sponsors. Staffing a booth or table provides many opportunities to network with attendees during breaks plus before and after sessions.
- Networking Groups – Structured groups such as BNI, LeTip, and others are designed to bring together one person from each profession as part of a closed network, to generate leads and opportunities within the group. Although I have never participated in any of these groups, I know professionals who do and have experienced positive results.
- Social Media – Sites such as LinkedIn provide a way to stay in touch with other professional advisors, post articles of mutual interest, and participate in niche groups.
While this list is not all inclusive, it provides a guide to many of the situations available for professional advisors to network.
Best wishes in your networking efforts!