Gary Mitchell's Biz/Dev Coaching Blog
The beginning of a New Year always offers us so much hope. Hope for a new start. Hope for another chance. Hope to improve, learn and grow. Hope for whatever it is that we want more of.
That brings me to my all-time favorite quote. It comes from one of Goethe’s couplets:
“Whatever you can do, or dream you can-begin it-boldness has genius, power and magic in it”
Everyone networks whether we like it or not. And networking is still one of the best ways to find more people who need your services, find more referral sources and make it easier for them to find you. How about if you had a sure-fire way of getting the conversation started in a genuine and meaningful way? One of the best questions you can lead with is “What brings you to this event?” You’ll be amazed at the amount of information you can begin to gather about the other person when you start with that question. This is also a perfect opportunity for you to continue with your ‘soft’ target market research by asking them, “What other events do you attend and why? What publications do you read? And, What topics are of interest to you? You can gather market research, learn something about them, and keep the process natural and genuine all at the same time.
The next time you are networking try a different approach. Don’t lead with your ‘elevator speech’, instead get the conversation started about THEM. Ask them some seed questions to begin to understand more about them and if they are people of interest. And don’t fear ‘small talk’, just don’t do it.
A great starting question is “What brings you to this event?” Some others include:
What other events do you attend and why?
Are you a member here? For how long?
What value do you get in attending these types of events?
From there a natural conversation will ensue and you will begin the process of getting to know them better. And don’t be surprised when you get to learn more about their challenges.
As lawyers there are never any shortage of events to attend. Are you maximizing your results from attending these events? Here are a few tips to help you do that.
1. Ask for a list of attendees ahead of the conference. Look over that list to see if you know people. Circulate the list internally to other lawyers to see if they know people.
2. Make contact with those people and set up time to meet with them.
3. Ask the organizers of the event if they would make introductions for you at the conference.
4. Ask people you already know to make introductions for you as well.
5. Mingle and meet as many new people in your target area as possible. Have a list of questions prepared ahead of time that include but are not limited to: What brings you to this conference? What do you hope to learn or gain from being here? What has been your biggest challenge this past year? What has been your biggest success? From these, a natural dialogue will flow and you will start to learn a lot about them and where there may be opportunities.
6. Follow up with them within two days of returning from the conference referencing something you learned about them when you met them.
7. Find out how you can help them and not just how they can help you.
8. Begin to build relationships with them to fully understand how you may help.
These may appear simple because they are. And these steps work.