In some form or another, virtually every lawyer will at some point ask themselves, “How can I get more legal clients?” We attend networking events because we believe that we’ll find new business, new clients there. The reality is that very little business will be found at these events, especially if you sell into the middle or large markets. If you have struggled with finding value in networking, I can help: call me today at (312) 981-0119 for a consultation.
So who should we be looking for at these events if we want to get more legal clients? Strategic partners! A good strategic partner is someone who’ll introduce you to the prospective clients that you’re looking to meet.
A few years ago, one of my brightest clients came up with a terrific acronym that defines the qualities we should all be looking for in a solid strategic partner who can lead attorneys to get more legal clients. It’s T-L-E-N-D, which stands for “trust,” “like,” “expert,” “network,” and “decision-maker.”
Though the trustworthiness of a potential strategic partner is difficult to uncover at an event or during an initial one-hour networking meeting, try to give your prospective partner a few tasks to work on for you. This will help you to better understand his or her ability to follow up and stand behind commitments made to you. Multiple missed calls or rescheduled appointments with you should be warning signs that this person may not follow through very well. Breaking commitments to others is the same as breaking someone’s trust.
In order to create a long-term and productive relationship with another business professional, it’s imperative that you actually like one another. Finding someone that you could be friends with will help to ensure that a long-term sustainable relationship can exist. In many cases, your ability to find areas of common ground will help you through this process. Ask yourself if this is someone you’d want to bring home for dinner. We need to like someone to stay engaged long term as a strategic partner.
One of the worst feelings you can have is referring a phony or incompetent person to one of your friends or clients. Having a clear understanding of someone’s true skill sets and ability to follow through will help you in determining if he or she is actually referable. Look for online recommendations, testimonials, and an overall track record of success with his or her clients. Ask questions to better understand the person’s background and experience in the field. Who has he or she worked with? What does he or she know about his or her subject? How long has he or she been in the business? If an individual can’t validate his or her skills and accomplishments, it might be a warning sign for you to move on.
As you can imagine, it’s hard to obtain referrals if your new contact doesn’t know anyone. Finding a new strategic partner who’s “wired in” to the marketplace can make or break your ability to obtain the referrals you’re looking for. Though the average person may have around 250 people in his or her immediate network, finding someone with high-level connections may fast-track your success in developing strong strategic partners.
While it’s not imperative to partner with CEOs, presidents, and general counsel, it doesn’t hurt to network with high-level executives when you can in the quest to get more legal clients. In my experience, most executives are connected with other executives, which is good reason to nurture these relationships. These connections also help when you’re looking to make referrals to your strategic partners. Remember, the other half of networking is connecting your strategic partners with high-level folks. The more you know, the stronger you become as someone else’s strategic partner.
Simply asking yourself the question, “How can I get more legal clients?” is the first step toward building your book of business, and at my company, Fretzin, Inc., we have an incredible amount of experience helping attorneys answer that question. Don’t hesitate to visit our website for the evidence of how Fretzin has helped hundreds of attorneys double and triple their business with our methods.