I have coached attorneys on the benefits of networking for many years. Through my sessions-and their own subsequent experiences-they discover that networking is an important ingredient in their overall marketing strategy. When they implement the techniques I coach in my sessions, lawyers expand their client base. New business means a significant increase in billable hours. The benefits can be yours too-through effective networking.
Beefing up business
Good networking practices will enhance your overall business development strategy. In addition to billing more hours, my clients report that networking helps them to be more pro-active and more effective in finding new strategic partners such as accounting firms, financial advisors, consultants, banks and insurance providers.
Networking is a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Taking it to the next level
Learning and practicing good networking techniques are the first steps. But they're not enough. I advise lawyers to take things into their own hands. I tell them to get creative. I urge them to be pro-active. I recommend that they develop and tailor their networking to reflect their area (or areas) of expertise. And I counsel them to join forces with other professionals. Imagine the power of a network of like-minded, talented and successful professionals, all focused on a common goal-generating new business.
Implementing technique: "Walking the Talk"
Let's step away from the rhetoric for a moment and get down to basics. This isn't rocket science. Or brain surgery. Once you've mastered the basic techniques, the rest is common sense-and experience.
To borrow an oft-repeated advertising slogan: "Just do it." Start your own hand-picked group. Work with others as a team. Together you'll generate new business that will be profitable and worthwhile for all concerned.
Step 1: Identify a group of professionals who have a strategic interest in your specialty (accounting firms, financial advisors, consultants, bankers and insurance providers).
Step 2: Pick up the phone. Introduce yourself. Say, “I am putting together a select group of successful professionals in the specific area of ________. The goal is to help each other by brainstorming and referring new business to each other. I’m calling because we’d like you to be part of the group.”
Step 3: Let’s assume that they respond positively (and I’ll bet they do). Invite them to your office for a meeting.
Step 4: Discuss the idea further.
Reaping the benefits
I know many attorneys who swear by this networking process. In less than a year, some of them say their networking groups grew to 30 or more members. Without exception, they report that business has improved. Their client list has grown. And their billable hours have increased.
So when you sit down to discuss how to maximize your overall business development efforts, be sure to include networking—and try to take things into your own hands. It’s a powerful tool that pays off.
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