Show flexibility when networking
I've written before in this space about the importance of focus
in marketing. If you want to differentiate yourself from other
lawyers, having a niche is critical. You can't be everything to
everyone and you certainly won't be memorable if you try a shotgun
I've also written about the importance of doing your homework
before you meet with potential referral sources. Google, LinkedIn
and company websites can tell you a lot about someone before you
meet with them, so make sure to do your preparation before you
leave your office to meet for coffee. Part of your preparation is
to figure out in advance the ways you can connect when you actually
meet. Do you share common interests, schools, or other
affiliations? Are there clues from your research about the ways you
might be helpful to these individuals? That becomes your "game
plan" for your networking meeting.
But equally important, when networking, is to be prepared to
jettison your "game plan" if the conversation heads in another
Recently, for example, I met with the partner of a firm to
discuss how the firm is supporting the firm's marketing function.
From reviewing the firm's website and the bios of the partners, I
actually had the sense this was a firm that understood how to tell
its story. What I wanted to know was what the partnership was doing
to support the more junior professionals (i.e. how were the
associates learning the fundamentals of selling legal
But 10 minutes into the conversation, it became clear that this
partner had some of his own concerns about marketing. Clearly, it
was time to shift the conversation from the firm's activity to the
partner's marketing habits. An hour later, I left the firm with a
new client. But, it was the partner himself who became the client,
not the firm.
So head to your networking meetings with a plan. Base that plan
on what you know about the individual and what you learn from your
preparation. But, be prepared to shift gears if other opportunities
Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal
Consulting and Coaching.
Published June 27, 2013
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