Legal Networking is the process of establishing a mutually beneficial relationship with other professionals (legal, medical, business), potential clients and referral partners. Networking can also used for the exchange of business information, ideas, and support.
To be successful at networking focus on those who are good at what they do. Work with those who understand networking and are willing to develop an effective networking relationship with you. Finally, work with those who have business contacts that can help you.
How to Build Your Legal Network
- Have an objective. Always identify a goal or purpose for your networking. What is it that you want to achieve (clients, referral partners, resources, social, etc.)? Are you in the right place and are you in front of the right target audience?
- Know whose listening. Do your homework. Know your audience and use the right elevator pitch. Can you get your point across in 30 seconds or less? Also, remember to be a good/active listener.
- Existing contacts. Your network of friends, family members, colleagues, and acquaintances is one of your most valuable resources. Reach out to former clients and vendors, professional associations and community groups. Rely on your existing contacts to expand your network. Ask for their referrals and recommendations to their connections in order to help build your network. Build and maintain your contact list(s).
- Attend industry gatherings. Engage in meaningful conversation and exchange business cards. Join committees and communicate through their e-lists. Write articles within your areas of law expertise for their newsletters and websites. Mentor a new member and/or a less experienced professional.
- Follow-up. Maintain your legal network and nurture relationships by staying in touch. Call just to say hello, with no hidden agenda. Send birthday, anniversary, and holiday cards. Email them with links to blog posts and articles you know would like to read. Let them know about upcoming industry events and other community events of interest. Stay top-of-mind with your connections by following up regularly, it shows you are serious and demonstrates commitment. Also, show gratitude and appreciation by thanking people those that help you.
- Invite people out. Going out for lunch, drinks, or coffee is an opportunity for maintaining communication casually. You can also invite people to do things related to your interests (tennis, golf, the arts, etc). The objective here is to establish a connection beyond your initial meeting. Preferably, this should be one-on-one.
- Be generous. Since you're looking to create mutually beneficial relationships, a good way to start is by thinking of ways in which you can help others. It's not all about contacts, job offers, etc.; you can offer compliments, good listening skills, and other less tangible (but valuable) gestures of kindness and generosity. Giving often precedes receiving in networking.
- Connect on a local level by volunteering. Tap into your areas of expertise to lead and/or participate in community events, PTA efforts, organization Boards of Directors, fundraising efforts, sports activities, etc. Build visibility by speaking at professional events, publishing articles online, blogging, etc.
- Use the Internet. Social Networking has evolved over the years to become a powerful business networking tool. Social networks are dynamic and offer instant communication with users, and could be utilized to leverage business by building relationships with friends-of-the firm, clients and referral partners.
Benefits of Networking
- Referrals/Increased Business
Building strong relationships will naturally gain new business/client as people will recommend your services. People will pass business to those they know, like and trust.
- Build your Brand
By expanding your contacts you are raising your profile—people will know of you, your services, and you will more likely to be thought of if your services are required. By developing your own brand, you’ll have control over people’s initial perception.
- Free consultancy and advice
As you build relationships, the value of the help that is passed to you formally or informally will exceed any costs incurred by developing the relationships in the first place.
- Reliable Contacts
The benefits of networking are not just about generating leads and referrals. By getting to know reliable contacts who can provide information/resources you want, or who can be trusted to recommend others is worth so much in terms of time and money.
- Share Experiences
Develop contacts who have experienced similar problems or situations and who can point you in the right direction. They can help to answer questions through the effectiveness of their process or their own experiences and vice versa.
- Increased confidence
The more you network the more you get used to explaining what you do and how you can help others. Clear communication of how you can help is crucial to getting business and this will only improve the more you do.
Legal Networking offers one of the strongest business development tools for attorneys. Networking requires long-term consistent effort as trust and track records do not happen overnight. When done correctly, networking can bring in business; when done poorly, it is a waste of time. BARD Marketing has the experience and know-how to create and execute the Right business development strategy. We can help with sales training of your attorneys and provide you with elevator pitches that captivate and that are differentiated. Call BARD today at 561-637-2575.