In the last few Legal Ink articles I have written, I have explained that there is a three step process for becoming a Rainmaker.
Once again, to restate the three steps are:
1. Marketing: Creating visibility and becoming known as an authority in the field of law that you practice;
2. Networking: Meeting people – whether in person or virtually – who want or need your services or who know people who want or need your services; and
3. Rainmaking: Create Relationships in which you become the obvious and only choice to help them.
I wrote that while marketing alone will not bring you new clients, it will allow people to know who you are.
“Think about it this way – marketing is what brings people into the door. The relationships you create thereafter are what will allow you to sign new clients. Remember, people do business with people they know, like and trust. Marketing is the getting to know you part.”
If Marketing is the getting to know you part, then step two – Networking – is the getting to “like you” part.
Why You Need To Network
I still consider networking to be one of the most effective ways to become a rainmaker. Just getting your name out there with your marketing activities only allows you to create interest.
Rainmaking is about creating relationship that turn into business or referrals. And the only way to create real relationships is to meet as many people as possible who could potentially use or refer your services as an attorney.
Networking is about meeting those people.
Additionally, the return on your investment in getting to know other people is so much higher than spending money on advertising or marketing activities.
Where to Network
There so many places where you can be meeting people.
- Industry Association Events (this is based on who you have chosen as your ideal client),
- Legal Industry Association Events (Bar Associations),
- Chambers of Commerce,
- Meetup Groups,
- Neighborhood meetings,
- Your childrens’ soccer games (hockey games, little league, ballet classes, etc),
- Standing in line at Starbucks (the supermarket, fast food joint, Department of Motor Vehicles, etc.),
- On-line Social Networking Sites . . .
If you are getting the idea that you can meet people anytime you walk out of your house than you are beginning to understand that you can network anywhere.
How to Network:
Networking, to most attorneys, conjures up the image of the slick sales person trying to sell you a product the moment the meet you. Or it summons feelings of being in a room full of people and not having something to tell them about you.
The best networkers and rainmakers are those who know that it’s not about them. It’s about what you can do for others. And in order to find out what you can do for them, you need to ask questions.
And then listen!
Here’s something you truly need to understand: most people do not care about you. They care about themselves. And, they care about if or how you can help them. By asking them questions and listening carefully, you can find a way to determine whether you can help them with your legal services or a referral to someone who can help them with their other issues.
People genuinely like others who are interested in them. Find a way to be interested in the person standing in front of you (or virtually in front of you, in the case of online networking), and people will actually begin to like you.
Remember, “People do business with people they know, like and trust.” They got to know you through your Marketing, they will get to know and like you through your Networking.
And the creating trust will lead to you becoming a Rainmaker – but this is the topic for next month’s article.
(In the April edition of Legal Ink, there will be a step-by-step walk-through of how to effectively navigate a networking event for business development – from the moment you sign up to the time you get back to your office.)