This is the fourth in a series of 5 blog articles on building professional relationships. If you caught the first one….and/or the second one.…or even the third one…skip ahead to the 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 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’ll be posting here each week a list 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 list inspires you!
5 [MORE] EASY WAYS WE HELPED OUR NETWORK
- Monitored the then new elder care law practice niche—after a referral source mentioned considering that growing new field. Located commentary, data and blogs, and passed along the relevant links.
- Introduced a client’s high school daughter to a niece, who offered to give her a personal tour of her college campus and invited the client’s kid to stay overnight at her dorm.
- Invited a prospect to speak on a well attended webinar she moderated.
- Promoted a range of people on social media, via strategic posts, blog comments and thoughtful commentary.
- Attended the National Cable Television Association trade conference in Dallas–attended by clients, prospects and industry friends, and rented a van to ferry the whole contingent to after dinner events…….Here’s a photo of our “neighborhood” of colleagues, half of whom we managed to stuff into the van.
Go forth. Make some rain—and some good friends along the way.
You may also like:
- Got Hope? Advancing Women Lawyers Shouldn’t Be This Hard
2017 has been the year of recommitting to the retention and advancement of women in large law firms. Concerns that have been on the table for decades, solutions that have been proposed for just as long, frustrations as old as the hills. They’re back. Same story… almost exactly the same data. And…some new hope.
- Be a Twitter Scout and Make Some Rain: How to…
I am amazed at the number of smart, savvy, competent and competitive friends, colleagues and former partners who have ignored the prodigious power of social media….Ultimately, it is bad business to reject efficient new technologies. As an example, Twitter offers you the chance to “curate” as-it-happens news, and the resulting observations of the smartest commentators, on behalf of your professional network. Be their favorite scout. Watch for ways to help, and ways to protect. At a minimum you’ll learn to speak the language of their careers, a critical step in developing any business relationship and in winning the confidence of a potential client or referral source. Knowledge is power. And the confidence of knowledge makes navigating tough situations and managing impossible people vastly easier.
- Women Lawyers: Does Expressing Anger Hold you Back?
The best negotiators manage their anger strategically, deploying it to the best effect and carefully monitoring the reactions of those around them. Unfortunately, as research and our own experience tells us, women can lose ground fast when they show strong emotion. How does this affect women in the legal profession?
- Part 3: 5 Easy Ways to Help Your Network…and Grow…
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. Parts 4 and 5 still to come.