To network or not to network. That is the question. Yet, even though many professionals know the answer to this question, they still don’t do it anyway. Why, because of time (or lack thereof). When the success of a law firm depends on maintaining and expanding relationships with existing clients and attracting new ones, networking is something that every lawyer should be creating more time in their schedule for. Here are 7 business networking tips for lawyers that will help do just that.
#1 Make time to do it properly
We can all make time, it’s just about prioritising effectively and actually doing what we set out to in the time that we set aside for it. Networking is going to be much more difficult when you put it off and then try and get all the results that you want from one event or client meeting, so set aside some time every day so that you can accumulate your small efforts for a high reward. Building and maintaining relationships should be a priority so start making time for them by reading our ultimate guide on balancing client work and networking.
#2 Always help others
One of the best business networking tips for anyone looking to create lasting connections is to begin with the question “Can I help you?” If you aim to help the person that you are talking to, whether that is offering your services, recommending someone else who can help them, or just discussing their issues and challenges with them and offering a unique insight, you’ll soon find that you become instantly likeable to people. Immediately, you would have added value, so not only are you more likely to get their business but you are also very likely to be referred too.
#3 Target the right events and people
Being successful in your networking isn’t about going to every event and talking to as many people as possible, it’s about being smart and selective so that you can attend the ones that bring you the most value. This is one of the most valuable business networking tips for lawyers because when you don’t have the time, why waste the time that you do have on events that cost you both time and therefore money? Always consider what the ‘Price vs Value’ is before deciding on whether to attend an event, group activity or one-to-one meeting. Use our free networking plan template to focus your networking activities on what is really going to help you generate new business.
#4 Set goals before every networking event
Attending a networking event without knowing what you want to get from it is ultimately a waste of your time, so always set goals before the event so that you can maximise your time there. Do you want to make 10 new contacts? Do you want to practice your pitch before a bigger event? Do you want to find out and get an introduction with the decision maker at a specific company that you’ve been trying to connect with for months? Having your goal front of mind ensures that you make specific decisions and actions to achieve it.
#5 Don’t forget to follow-up
Attending events and making great impressions with potential clients is all well and good, but when you fail to follow up with these contacts after the event, you may as well have not gone in the first place. A lot of lawyers fall down when it comes to following up, they either don’t have the time or feel like it is a waste of their time, but what’s the alternative? Spend more time meeting more prospects that they won’t follow up with? That is actually a waste of time. Set aside some time 48 hours after an event and just get it done. People are busy and if you don’t connect with them often, you will be forgotten.(Make yourself memorable!)
#6 Reserve face time for very valuable clients
You should dedicate the necessary time to networking but you shouldn’t waste time on it, so when it comes to a potential client wanting to meet with you, think about the price versus value of that meeting. Is it a very big client who will bring great value to your firm? Is it a client that is within an industry that you would want to win more work from? If the value is worth your time, then a face to face meeting is called for. If it’s not, then consider scheduling a phone call instead.
#7 There are networking opportunities everywhere
If you’re interacting with people, you are networking. You just need to be alert to opportunities every day. While attending networking events is extremely beneficial, the best relationships are often formed outside of a business environment; every breakfast, lunch or dinner could be a networking opportunity, every charity event or social activity. You can never tell when an opportunity will present itself, so just be ready for it. You’ll soon find that you will naturally start creating your own opportunities too.
Business networking tips for lawyers
Make time, don’t waste time. Networking is about expanding your community, so you need to put in the necessary time to build and maintain your social and business relationships. The key to using that time effectively is knowing your goals, evaluating the price vs value ratio, and being open to networking opportunities in every interaction that you have both inside and outside of a business environment.