A Solicitor’s Guide to Networking – Part 1
Many up and coming solicitors and some junior partners too want to play their full role in helping marketing in their law firm. All too often the green light is given to make a contribution to marketing. The suggestion is to represent the firm at a forthcoming networking meeting, either at the beginning, middle or end of the day. I recall that Chamber of Commerce meetings were regularly singled out as good ones to attend.
If I knew then (when I was employed to do marketing in law firms) about the fundamentals of networking, what I know now, I could pass on a wealth of advice and encouragement. Fee earners in hindsight were sent out ill-equipped to do themselves or their firms justice. That’s before being in with any chance of getting new work opportunities.
Here’s some of the knowledge that I know now that I would have shared back then.
Networking is a long game
The objective of networking is to twofold:
- Develop your reputation as an expert in what you do
- Assess whether the people in the group may become clients or can refer clients to you.
Choose a networking forum and stick to it
By all means visit a number of different groups at the outset. Find one where the schedule of meetings is convenient. Also, where the people you are networking with are good company, and of the right profile to be of benefit.
The three stages of Know, Like and Trust
Everybody who goes networking wants their activity to be a source of new opportunities for work. Not everybody understands the principle of know, like and trust. It’s very simple when you think about it in these terms.
Would you instruct someone who you had only just met to carry out a piece of work for you? Let alone one that may have a significant impact on your future wellbeing and/or wealth? That is what solicitors are suggesting to other networkers when they attend meetings.
Within any networking group a solicitor decides to join, (s)he need to go through the know, like and trust process. This process of building relationships is done at group meetings and in 1-2-1 meetings with fellow group members. 1-2-1s are a great opportunity to get to know people better.
You should consider a reasonable 6-9 month window as a sensible time frame. Then gauge whether the developing relationships have potential to become clients or a referral channel for clients.
How to make the right impression at a networking meeting.