The warm call: Using social networking connections to break the ice of cold calls and introductions
Successful attorneys build and cultivate their professional
networks, in order to acquire mentors, generate referrals and access other resources
for their professional development. However, it's not easy to
strike up professional relationships with persons you have never
met, and know little to nothing about. Bar associations, like the
Massachusetts Bar Association,
remain an excellent place to meet other attorneys and
related professionals; but, how many times have you hovered around
the outskirts of conversations, not knowing what to say to get in.
Neither does anyone like cold calling, traditionally the
marginalized work of telemarketers who seem only to want to
interrupt your dinner.
Wouldn't it be easier if you had a better idea about the people
you wanted to talk to, if you knew a little bit about what their
interests might be? Wouldn't it be great if you could identify
mutual friends? Before internet accessibility, gathering this type
of information was a daunting prospect; but now, with just a few
clicks, you can find what you need to get in . . . LinkedIn, that is.
When you're logged into LinkedIn and access someone's profile, you
can find out which connections you share (either at the
'Connections' box, or in the sidebar). If you're going to be
calling someone you'd like to build a professional relationship
with, how much more powerful is it to run down a list of mutual
connections? (Of course, I didn't think of this all by myself. I
received a call based on these signals from a financial advisor out
of Southborough, Vince Domestico. Seems Vince went to elementary
school with a good friend of mine.) If you've got existing
connections with whom you'd like to create a stronger, or offline,
relationship, you'll have much more material to work with. Review
your target's recent status updates, so you'll have some idea of
where their current interests lie; parlay that knowledge into a
conversation that you know will be relevant to your contact. You
may be able to access your first order contact's full connections
list, such that you can potentially spin off other professional
relationships, from there. If there is someone they know that you'd
like to get to know, ask for an introduction. If you want to
connect with someone you don't know on LinkedIn, the connection
invitation screen will list information you both share, including
that related to schooling, work, group memberships, etc. Use that
information craft an invitation to connect. Once you've connected
online, solidify that connection, by making a phone call, or
arranging to meet.
And, it's not just LinkedIn, where you can leverage your online
business connections for real-life results. Facebook
profiles will show you mutual friends you share with certain users,
as well as those users' full friends lists. You'll see status
updates, too, if they haven't been blocked. Google+
profiles will show you the users you and your connection have circled in common. You'll also be able to see
whom the user has circled, and who has circled the user. While Twitter does not
list mutual connections, you will be able to glean useful
information from profiles, including that respecting followers and
followees, lists and favorite tweets.
For more tips on getting the most out of social media, check out
the American Bar Association's, '. . . in One Hour'
book series, which features titles covering LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance
Published February 7, 2013
To learn more about the Law Practice Management
Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members,
contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice
Chair Cynthia E.