Lawyers know about networking, but most, except the real Rainmakers, don’t like it. It isn’t exactly like having a root canal to them, but they would rather be practicing law. Nonetheless, the majority do recognize the need for it.
Roy Ginsburg has a post on Attorney at Work that talks about how networking is a numbers game and compares the undertaking to baseball. His analogy to baseball is of course timely, as my beloved Red Sox just won the World Series (yes, I’m a real fan, who suffered all those many years growing up in the area).
Although Ginsburg is primarily focusing on networking for prospects, I prefer to concentrate on clients and referral sources, since they are the reason for 80-90% of legal work for lawyers (although the purpose is prospecting as well). I like his four points:
- Keep swinging. Even with clients and referral sources, getting them to agree to a lunch or coffee sometimes is not easy, as they are busy people too. I tell lawyers I coach to not give up easily. Don’t take it personally, when they don’t immediately return your call or email about taking time out of their day. Marketing is also a game of percentages;
- Don’t get bogged down or in a slump. Eventually, you need to refocus your efforts, but not without giving it a major league effort (sorry, couldn’t resist). I encourage the development of a quarterly contact list, and then reaching out in some manner (quick email, telephone call, and yes, even lunch) to each person on the list at least quarterly;
- Network trade groups. Get actively involved in trade groups where your ideal clients hang out. That can be a certain bar association committee, if those lawyers are an important source of your referrals. Like in baseball, it’s a game of contact….contact and more contact; and
- Hang in there and be persistent. No one said it would be easy. From high school ball to the major leagues is not a walk in the park (I know, I need to stop this, but the analogy is valid). It is hard work and takes time to become a legal major league player (rainmaker).
Hell, it took the Boston Red Sox 86 years to win another World Series. And their hard work has paid off again! Yours will too.