Join us for this week’s rainmaking recommendation from trainer and coach, Jaimie Field.
Since the pandemic started, I have been doing a tremendous amount of virtual networking with a plethora of people. I am speaking specifically of group networking, not just virtual one-on-ones. And I have noticed something very interesting: many have trouble describing what they do for a living in a few short, memorable sentences. This is why you need to create an Audio Business Card, also known as an Elevator Pitch.
The history of the Elevator Pitch has a lot of urban myths around it. Still, almost all of the stories have one thing in common – the idea that you only had the time during an elevator ride to pitch your products or services and to convince the other person to work with you. This could be anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes (depending on the ride’s length).
Regardless of the history, the Elevator Pitch is now a thing of the past. If you are pitching your services during a networking event, then you are doing it wrong. One of the reasons that most lawyers do not like going to networking events is that it seems opportunistic. It feels slimy to them to go and ask for new work. And, I agree – because that is not an effective way to network.
Networking is about creating relationships with people that will lead to new business. And when you meet someone, one of the first questions you usually ask is: “So, what do you do for a living.” This allows you to see if there are ways that you can collaborate with that person and help them grow their business, just as much as you want their help.
Eventually, you will be asked the same question. This is when your Audio Business Card comes into play.
You must find a memorable way to answer that question in a few short sentences. Something that will roll of your tongue when you are asked: “what do you do?” Your Audio Business Card should be as unforgettable as possible. The point is to make the other person think about whether they need your services or have colleagues and friends who may want to use your services.
Now, you may say: “I’m a lawyer.”
You and 1,328,692 other people in the United States can say this.
Or maybe you say: “I’m a ___________(insert practice area here) lawyer.”
Okay, that’s a bit better, but you have not distinguished yourself from all of the other lawyers who have the same practice area. An example would be: “I’m a labor and employment lawyer.” There are currently 16,000 attorneys in the ABA’s Labor and Employment (L&E) group, and you know that not all L&E attorneys from across the country are members of the ABA. That number is significantly hirer.
One other issue that happens when lawyers try to tell others what they do is that they could spend the time droning on to tell others what they do.
I have news for you. When you say things like the above, there is a large population of people whose eyes will glaze over, and they will stop listening. Or, they will immediately flash onto their pre-conceived notions about what a lawyer does based upon television shows, movies, books, and the like. These portrayals are not necessarily flattering to our profession.
An effective Audio Business Card answers the following four questions:
- Who are your ideal clients?
- What keeps them up at night (i.e., what is the legal issue that is haunting them)?
- How can you help them sleep (i.e., what can you do to help them with that issue)?
- Who you are.
For example, when I am meeting people at an event, I say:
“I am a Rainmaking Trainer and Coach. I teach attorneys from mid-market and big law firms how to build big books of business ethically, and the keyword is ethically.”
One of my earliest clients, Alix Rubin, Esq., of Rubin Employment Law says: “We get employers and employees to stop fighting so everyone can get back to business!™ I’m an Employment Lawyer.” In fact, she has also trademarked this phrase as her law firm’s tagline.
And, if you can say something that forces the other person to say “What does that mean?” or “Tell me more,” it’s even better. This begins to create a conversation. One in which you can start to build a relationship that could eventually lead to new clients or new referrals.
For example, my father’s Audio Business Card, when asked what he did for a living, was always:
“I render people asunder.”
This, of course, led the other person to be curious about what he meant, to which he would answer:
“You know that part of a wedding ceremony where the officiant says ‘What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder. Well, I render people asunder. I’m a divorce attorney.”
I promise you, no one ever forgot what he did for a living.
What’s your audio business card? How do you introduce yourself? Use your personality. Be bold and creative but make sure that your audience knows and understands who you are trying to help. This will jog their minds for people to whom you can be referred.