Attorneys: Rethinking Your Networking & Relationship Building Efforts: Starter Tips
Do you regularly spend time networking and more importantly, building relationships? If not, why not? Perhaps one of your reasons is listed below:
- Hate mingling, marketing and all things associated!
- Not sure where to start and too busy any way
- Haven’t yet defined in detail the types of clients you want to recruit
- Have tried before, but it’s a waste of time
- Already have exactly the number and kind of clients desired and making more than enough money
- Make sure you have a clear and “doable” plan for your relationship building and networking efforts. Talk to others in and out of the legal industry that have impressed you with their skills at building solid relationships and successful businesses. Study different concepts and opinions on relationship building until you can form the right plan for yourself, your goals, your target client base.
- Forget, toss out and run away from the old definitions of networking (e.g. where we claimed we had “networked” by going to lawyer-only events and exchanging business cards)
- Networking and the building of relationships must include the courage, diversity and open mindedness to be bold, try new things, different strategies,etc. (reread #1 above).
- We must constantly be honing our styles of communicating with others. For example, at a networking event, we must focus carefully on being excellent listeners and learning all we can about others ( vs. the old traditional way of our doing most the talking in our efforts to educate others about what WE do)….Keeping our mouths shut is much easier said than done (for most of us any way). The more we listen and talk less, the better we’ll be able to really learn what our clients and prospective clients want, what they do, what they need, expect from us, etc. Without this type of information, we cannot offer them the legal attention and service that they need and our relationships will start (and possibly remain) on a uninformed and shaky foundation.
- Every week, take a few minutes to review what worked well for you that week and what didn’t in your networking and relationship building efforts….tweak your overall plan as needed and make sure you keep doing all the things that worked well for you.
- Patience — relationship building done right takes time…Monitor your progress, celebrate the small victories (e.g. a great lunch with a prospective client, a good lead from a referral source, a moment you finally really did listen well and talked less, etc.)