This is the last in a series of 5 blog articles on building professional relationships. If you caught the first one….and/or the second one or third one…or even the fourth one, skip ahead to my anxiously awaited final list of five more simple ways in which my partners, coaching clients and I have, at various points in our careers, added measurable value to our networks–the very best to grow authentic relationships and grow your law practice.
In case you missed it, here’s why this matters:
Any rainmaker will tell you: Giving and helping are everything. The ideal way to build and deepen your rapport with your clients, prospects, colleagues, referral sources and other important contacts is to learn as much as you can about each person and identify what he or she needs to be successful and fulfilled. Once you’ve done that, things get very simple. You just need to help meet those needs.
There should be a note on every lawyer’s desk that says “What have I done today to make the people I am dealing with more successful and more comfortable?”
James A. Durham, “The Essential Little Book of Great Lawyering”
If we create networks with the sole intention of getting something, we won’t succeed. We can’t pursue the benefits of networks; the benefits ensue from investments in meaningful activities and relationships.
Adam M. Grant, “Give and Take: A Revolutionary Approach to Success”
So if your marketing plan consists mainly of “random acts of lunch” then you’ll want to make some changes. If you are a “taker” or “matcher” (as Adam Grant puts it), rather than a “giver”, you need to stop and take stock. To be more specific, it you take a prospect to a baseball game, then never call her again because she doesn’t send you any work, you’ll want to push the reset button.
To Help You Help Your Network, I have been posting here my lists of 5 (out of a total of 25) simple ways in which my partners, coaching clients and I have, at various points in our careers, added measurable value to our networks.
To be clear, none of the personal efforts my partners and I made on behalf of others were coldly strategic. Rather, our approach to building business relationships yielded many lasting friendships, and our willingness to help, in times of crisis and otherwise, and whether or not asked, was — or became — second nature. (This is an enormously satisfying way to live. It just so happens that it is good business as well.)
In the process, we built and nurtured important professional relationships and established reputations as skilled lawyers, savvy business people, reliable advisors and loyal and decent human beings. Our profitable law practices are tangible testimony to our commitment to this approach to our careers.
But it is the intangibles that resonate most deeply for me, eight-plus years after leaving the practice of law. I loved my work and I cherish the friendships made over the years. I miss it and I miss them.
Who is on your list of core contacts? Your so-called “B-List” of people you don’t know as well or see as frequently? Ask yourself now how you can help the people you know professionally–in the same spirit in which you reach out to support and encourage your other friends. Be creative and be real. I hope this last list inspires you!
5 [MORE] EASY WAYS WE HELPED OUR NETWORK
- Visited a client’s offices to meet new in-house staff and catch up on her company’s business, market and industry, and the progress of her career.
- Alerted a referral source that tickets to Green Day’s American Idiot concert were going on sale the next day at 10:00 am. Same for Springsteen’s most recent tour.
- Convened an off-meter conference call with several banking clients to gather their comments and suggestions on the pure-business, and industry specific, provisions of their credit documents.
- Stopped by the offices of a referral source (a political history buff) to drop off the third volume of Robert Caro’s biography of LBJ, on the day it hit the shelves.
- Introduced two banking contacts, one looking for a new loan officer and one freshly out of a job, with excellent results.
Now go forth and make some rain….and some good friends along the way!
You may also like:
- Common Courtesy and Your Good Reputation.
Business development is about relationships, first and foremost. What goes around comes around. Treat people right or pay the consequences in missed opportunities, broken relationships, burned bridges, and bad word of mouth….Remember: Most people, however well behaved and well brought up, talk about other people. Don’t give them something to talk about, other than your finer qualities and achievements.
- Twitter for the Reluctant Lawyer
One of my favorite, but toughest, challenges as a coach is to convince my clients–young and old– to use Twitter (never alone, but paired with a social media aggregator like Hootsuite) to build brand, network, relationships, and revenues. My pitch? You can do this without a single tweet. Honestly.
- “Way Too Busy” to Build a Career? (Making Time for…
No lawyer (in fact, no service professional) can prosper, especially in the current economy, without a rich strategic network and a first-rate reputation, in both his or her law firm and community. These goals cannot be achieved solely by billing hours and going through the standard “marketing” motions. They cannot be reached by crafting the quintessential “executory contract” with your beleaguered practice group manager (that two-page “Marketing Plan” she distributes once a year). No-you’re going to need a plan, and the discipline to create and implement a strategic business development plan. It’s your career. Take charge!
- Part 4: Five Easy Ways to Help Your Network
Giving and helping are everything. The ideal way to build and deepen your rapport with your clients, prospects, colleagues, referral sources and other important contacts is to learn as much as you can about each person and identify what he or she needs to be successful and fulfilled. Once you’ve done that, things get very simple. You just need to help meet those needs. Here are five more simple ways to do that — drawn from my own practice and that of my partners and clients. Part 5 still to come.