As I am a business coach, this post is focused on your business relationships. However, you could easily take these tips and apply them to your personal relationships as well.
Before you take the time away from your practice and go to the expense of attending that new conference, look at your contact list. Who should you be investing more time with? Current clients? Past clients? Friends from Law School? Other colleagues and connections?
I’m not saying don’t go to that conference or sponsor that event, or take that add out. But focus on your current relationships before you take on anything new this year. No matter where you are in your career, you have relationships. Sure, if you are relatively junior, you may have less, but you have them.
I see far too often where lawyers want to push the ‘easy button’. They think simply throwing money at their marketing and business development efforts will produce results. It makes them feel good like they are doing ‘something’. News flash-there is no easy way, no easy button-thanks Staples! Building your practice or firm takes time-your time! My suggestion is to focus 80% of all of your business-building efforts this year on strengthening the relationships you already have.
Pick up the phone. Send an email. Go for coffee, lunch, a drink (or juice), lunch or dinner. Take your best client(s) to a special event. Connect, re-connect and keep connecting!
Procrastination? Fear of rejection? No clear objective? These are the most common excuses I find my clients have as to why they don’t follow-up. And when I refer to follow-up, it could be after a networking event, conference, meeting etc.
Procrastination: The longer you avoid it, the less likely you will do it. I give my clients the ’24-hour rule’. Unless your event or meeting takes place on a Friday, follow-up within 24 hours while you and they are still top of mind.
Fear of rejection: What’s the worst thing that can happen? They show no interest? Is that going to kill you? Nike! Just do it!
No clear objective: Ok, here is where it gets interesting. If you’ve met someone for the first time and you think they are someone you should get to know better, but you didn’t take that opportunity to at least find out something that you could refer to in your follow-up, then there’s really no point is there?
Here’s the thing. If you are going to invest your time meeting with people, networking, attending conferences, if you don’t follow-up to move that relationship forward, then you wasted your time. Do you like wasting your time?
At the core of business development or growing your practice or firm is relationships.
Relationships with current clients.
Relationships with past clients.
Relationships with your referral sources.
And relationships you build along the way as you meet new people
Here is a simple QUESTION you should be ASKING YOURSELF BEFORE YOU ENGAGE IN ANY BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT ACTION:
“Is this action going to enhance a current relationship and move it forward, or is this action going to get me in front of new quality people with whom I should build a relationship with? If the answer is no-don’t do it! If the answer is yes-do it, and find ways to do more of it.”
I happen to be a big fan of keeping things simple. That’s a really good question to always ask yourself before investing any time or money into marketing and business development to grow your practice or firm.
There are many reasons why boomers should be working with millennials and vice versa. For this post I want to concentrate on what I believe is one of the most crucial reasons-succession.
As we all know these two demographic groups are currently the largest within the current workforce. Aging boomers looking to retire in the next few years need millennials to step up and take the helm. Millennials who are starting out or fledgling in their careers need the boomers to teach them, mentor them and groom them for future leadership.
Whatever differences these two demographic groups have, they must be overcome for the benefit of all.
To kick off 2018 I’ve created a new LinkedIn Group-Professional Services Marketing Group.
The purpose is twofold. 1st, to offer a forum where professional service providers can share insights and knowledge, wins and challenges as they grow their businesses. There is power in collective wisdom.
The 2nd goal of this group is to allow you to network ‘virtually’ with other professionals; build relationships and develop more referrals.
The concept of the ‘Mastermind Group’ comes from author Napoleon Hill, in his book “Think and Grow Rich”, published in the early part of the last century. I’ve always loved the concept and many of my clients have and continue to use this strategy to grow their businesses.
And then invite your best referral sources and contacts to join. The more members, the more collective wisdom and the potential to build more relationships leading to more referrals, leading to more business.
Follow the positive trail is a phrase I’ve coined while working with my clients. It simply means follow the positive people, reactions, results, interactions, energy etc. It has many applications in business. Whether you are looking for another job, working to build your book, looking to build more internal relationships, heck, life in general.
Don’t let the negativity drag you down. Focus and follow what is positive. Here are a few examples.
You are working to build your book. You send out a number of emails to reconnect. Don’t worry about the people who don’t respond, focus and put your energy towards the people who do, and work to take those relationships to the next level.
You are starting at a new firm. You are working to build relationships with associates, staff and partners at your new firm. Watch for how people react to you. If they don’t give you the time of day-move on. Focus on the people who respond in a positive way. Invest your time and energy in them.
We are surrounded by negativity all day long. This is one approach (proven) by my clients to help you stay positive, motivated and moving forward towards reaching your goals.
Over time little drops of water accumulate and form a puddle; growing into a stream, flowing into a river and eventually creating a lake, rushing into the ocean. And that’s exactly how growing your practice or firm works. New habits take time, and with repetition create lasting and impactful results. It all starts with that first drop; or in your case, first step.
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OnTrac and Gary Mitchell named in The Top Ten Business Coaches to Help Law Firms Grow