Networking: Avoid Introduction Faux Pas
The business meet-and-greet scene is fraught with potential pitfalls, even for the most confident among us. Here’s how to reduce the risk of encounters at networking events, receptions, etc.
Stop networking. Start hunting.
At networking events, you have an opportunity to meet a lot of people you don't know, some of whom might be prospective clients or referral sources. Sounds good, right? This may be a shock to your system, but you should be hunting, not networking. Compared to hunting, networking is a waste of time.
What's the true cost of traditional networking?
For all of the years I’ve been training lawyers to market and sell, I’ve heard the mantra, “It’s all about relationships.” By “relationships,” most people mean “personal relationships,” which really means “friendships.” According to the common wisdom, you’re supposed to go to networking events, meet people, and initiate a personal relationship with them. OK. Let’s say you do just that. Then what? Presumably, if you initiate a relationship, you intend to sustain it long enough for it to produce some benefit. However, few people define the expected benefit beforehand. Instead, they take it on blind faith that relationships are inherently valuable. “You never know what might come of it.” Well, that part’s true, anyway. Here’s a better approach.
Get the most out of education seminars
Whether via firm-hosted seminars or other, more public, forums, most lawyers will take advantage of the opportunity to showcase their expertise before a group of potential buyers or referral sources. The key to success lies in our ability to control Who, What, Who (again) and How Much
Seminars and webinars
Most lawyers want to exploit the opportunity to showcase their expertise by speaking before a group of potential buyers or referral sources. Whether this occurs at a conference, a self-hosted seminar or webinar, or participating in one hosted by another organization, the key to success lies in your ability to control a handful of critical factors.
Make Q&A Work For You
One of the most important parts of any presentation or public speaking session is Q&A. This is your opportunity to demonstrate the practicality and usefulness of your remarks, and your mastery of the material. From a sales standpoint, Q&A is even more important because you show that you’re approachable, and that there’s more to your topic than can be covered in your time onstage. The way that you handle the public Q&A encourages others to approach you afterward, particularly those who aren’t comfortable posing a question in open forum.
Shared Qualities of Top Sellers
Selling is a learned skill, which means anyone can become good at it if they commit to it. Like any other skill, some will have less difficulty than others learning it, but anyone can learn. Cultivating the following traits and mindsets will accelerate your learning curve and raise the ceiling on how good you can become. Here is what a Harvard Business School study identified as the common traits of top salespeople
10 steps to getting a decision
Marketing is the process of getting found by the right people, for the right reasons, at the right time. In 3 steps to business development simplicity, you learned how to overcome the barriers to getting started by simplifying what is often complex. Now, let’s simplify the process where you help those who’ve found you make a well-informed and reliable decision, painlessly for them and you.
Beware of sales shortcuts
Regardless of good times or tough times, we all have clients who value our work. In fact, many think enough of us to urge their friends or colleagues to hire us. It's always uplifting to get a call from anyone who was referred by a client. Don't shortcut the vetting process. Just because you come "pre-screened" by a referral, do not think for a moment that your preliminary work is finished.
Advice to associates on becoming a rainmaker
You passed the bar, and got your first job. Congratulations. Now it’s time to start becoming a rainmaker. “Whoa,” you say. “Slow down, Coach. Become a rainmaker? First, I have to become a real lawyer. You know, one whose work clients will actually pay for.” Calm down, young lawyer. I didn’t say “Become a rainmaker today.” I said, “start becoming” one. As Lao Tzu, the Daoist philosopher, said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.”
You can't succeed at business development if you relegate it to "extra time."
Some lawyers declare this openly. Far more say it implicitly through their avoidance behaviors. Most, though, relegate business development to the last item on their list, to be addressed when everything else is done and they have some extra time. I've been coaching lawyers for 25 years and I've yet to see one who had extra time.
“Champions are built on a thousand invisible mornings”
Based on behaviors I’ve observed over the past 25 years, I might be forgiven if I conclude that lawyers believe that business development success is either a) based on innate skills, or b) merely a matter of showing up and talking with prospects. Otherwise, how can we explain the apparent lack of preparation and skill development that’s so common?
Use this sample to get started. Then, click on topics displayed on the Dezurve library landing page. Let your curiosity drive you. Definitely click on any topic name that you’re not familiar with. “Hmm, what’s an ‘Idea Relationship’”. “What’s the ‘Cost of Doing Nothing’”?
Choose topics about challenges you face now, or anticipate facing before long. The reading time for each article is between two and five minutes, so you can sample a lot in a little bit of time.
One caution: Don’t over-consume at a single time. You can’t learn through a fire hose. Give yourself time to digest what you’ve read. Let your subconscious help you install that new conceptual knowledge in your brain.