Since we're in the heat of the primary season, let's take a lesson from successful politicians. Have you ever noticed how politicians manage to turn any question they're asked as a platform to say what they really want to say? You ask a politician about public education, for example, and they'll tell you about unfettered immigration (their pet issue).
The point is that politicians are focused. They have a specific goal in any communications situation and they find a way to get on point and stay on point. Whatever you might think about this practice, it's hard to argue with its effectiveness. Politicians are masters of branding themselves exactly as intended; they recognize that this sound-bite may be some people's first, or only, exposure to them, so they make sure to establish the perception they want. (I'm speaking generally, over time. I realize that this specific election cycle has featured some outliers who've mastered the art of the self-destructive public utterance.)
Lawyers trying to develop business can apply their own version of this focusing technique. Consider this the next time you invest your time in a networking event:
- Be prepared to focus on the underlying business problem that opens doors and triggers demand for your most valuable service
- Ask those you meet whether their company is experiencing it. Say, "It seems like so many companies like yours are experiencing [business problem] today. Are you seeing it in your company?"
- If they acknowledge that the problem exists in their company, explore their perceived Cost of Doing Nothing.
Use some finesse and find a way to insert this investigation into every networking conversation. That's what you're there for. You're not there to "network," whatever that means. You're there to hunt, to find those who acknowledge having a problem that you can solve, and are receptive to exploring it with you.
If your Door-Opener has broad impact, you'll be pleasantly surprised how many people will acknowledge its presence in their companies.
So, take a "best practice" from politicians. Have a singular focus that brands you as usefully associated with a business problem that matters.