Today, I’m bringing you a rainmaking recommendation from expert Jaimie Field, and it’s an important one – she asks the question "Is networking for business obsolete?"
Her answer, and mine, is of course, no. But if you’re heading to events, bringing back a list of business cards and wondering why the phone doesn’t ring off the hook, you’re doing it wrong. Read further to learn more – and I’d advise my IP lawyers who joined me for a very successful networking lunch on Monday afternoon to especially pay attention to Jaimie’s advice at the end, to make the most of the connections you fostered!
Many attorneys, with whom I work, have told me that networking is not working for them. To which I say: “You are doing it wrong.”
Most attorneys, and actually most people, attend networking events and collect business cards. Then, they expect their phones to ring with new business pouring in. That’s not the way it works.
Networking for business, both on and off-line, is still one of the best ways for you to meet the people who want to do business with you. However, you have to be both proactive and strategic.
So, what how do you be strategic in your networking?
As attorneys, you have the experience of researching the legal issues in order to assist your clients. You prepare for your case by researching the case law, past precedents, articles and arguments that you can use. Networking can be approached in a similar fashion:
- Research the associations and industry events that your ideal clients or referral sources may be attending.
- Research the industry and know exactly what the issues are that are keeping your clients up at night (and not just the legal issues).
- Research the people you want to meet online. Find out everything you can about them including about their personal lives. (Maybe you have something in common that you can use to break the ice in a conversation).
- Research them on LinkedIn to connect with them prior to the event and send a message to them saying you are looking forward to meeting them at the event.
There are so many ways to use your research skills, honed over years of practice, and apply them to your networking skills.
However, the most important thing you can do is after you meet them: follow up!