I guess the title should be “One of the reasons I love LinkedIn”, there are so many. Here is just one example. Several years ago when I was just getting started I met a marketing professional here in Vancouver. We met, and at the time her firm was not interested in coaching. We connected on LinkedIn. Recently we re-connected on LinkedIn and are now in talks about what I can do for her firm in Toronto. That is the short version of the story. Professionals today must have a well developed LinkedIn profile, and that is only one reason.
The networking ninja arrives early at the event, enters the room, looks for people they don’t know and goes right up and introduces them self They ask a question like “What brings you to this event?” Followed by, “How long have you been coming to these events?” “What value do you find by coming here?” “What other events do you attend and why?” This gets the conversation started.
From there, the other person will likely ask similar questions. So the networking ninja has their story short and succinct What they do (not their job title), where they do it, and what value if brings their clients. Then the networking ninja makes some notes and follows up with this new contact within 24 hours. The ninja searches for them on LinkedIn and sends them an invitation to join their network. Then the ninja sends them a direct email referencing something they learned at the event, with an invitation to meet for coffee. The word ‘when’ and not ‘if is used. The networking ninja has learned that a natural and genuine approach to meeting for the first time always works best.
You too can become a networking ninja.
Just started with another new client. She spent the first part of the call telling me what she didn’t want for her firm and practice. This lead us to determining what she did want. And it doesn’t look anything like the traditional law firm model. It doesn’t have to. More and more law firms are looking to break the mold and create something new, innovative, inclusive, and flexible. Yes I said law firm and flexible in the same sentence.
Yesterday in coaching a group of associates, once again the issue of time came up. When and how do I make time for my business development is an age old question. In our brainstorming session, one tax associate came up with his own answer. He said “I don’t do anything unless it pops up in my outlook”. Well then, make the appointment with yourself using your outlook calendar. Sometimes it’s the simplest approach that works best. And it’s really about self-discipline.
Don’t fear making mistakes. I know, easy to say. When you make mistakes, you learn, or at least have the opportunity to learn and improve. Making a mistake on a document or argument could cost your client a lot of money. Making a mistake in marketing or business development only goes to support your learning. No one is going to die.
If you are still unconvinced, look at me. I am a living example of someone who has made all kinds of mistakes in business, and I am not only still here, my business is flourishing. In fact that’s part of the reason you pay me for my services. I’ve already made most of the mistakes you could make and in doing so can save you a lot of time and money.
So thank you mistakes. You’ve taught me a lot.