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Law firm marketing and business development strategies

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7 Steps to Polish Your Online Reputation

Posted in SEO for law firms

7 Steps to Polish Your Online ReputationIf you’ve been using professional SEO practices for awhile, then you probably think everything about your online reputation is just fine. But there may be some surprises lurking beyond the first page or two of your search results. Perhaps some negative reviews from former clients that you’ve never seen before? Images of you that someone else posted and tagged with your name from that party you’d rather forget? An angry letter you let fly to the local newspaper and now regret?

Is it easy for someone who Googles you to tell immediately what type of law you practice and where you are located? Or do old pages from your former practice pop up to confuse the picture? Are there social media profiles that don’t have a photo and have never been filled out properly so it looks like you abandoned them? Are your blog posts old?

If your online reputation could use some polish, then this is what you need to do:

  1. Get clean.

Scour all your social media pages and eliminate posts with bad language or references to tasteless humor. Take down the Halloween and Christmas party photos. Look over any photo sharing sites you’ve used like Instagram and Pinterest as well as video sharing sites that may contain content that is unflattering. Search for photos on other people’s pages where you’ve been tagged — if they are sketchy, ask your friend to remove them. You don’t want others impacting your online reputation.

  1. Check your privacy settings.

Every social media site has privacy settings that allow you to control who sees your content. If any of them are set to “public,” change the setting. You don’t have to shut everyone out — after all, it’s social media — but you want to only promote content that bolsters your online reputation.

  1. Update your profiles.

First, review your website bio page. Attorney bios are the most frequently visited pages on law firm websites and are one of the first things prospects look at when researching you online. Unfortunately, many of them are as dry as the desert. Your bio is a great opportunity to showcase what you have to offer potential clients and convince them to reach out to you for a consultation. Your bio should:

  • Explain who you are and what you do
  • Tell your story in an engaging manner, relating any personal anecdotes that have led you to the practice of law.
  • Include any community activities, hobbies and charitable work.
  • Have some personality.
  • Include a good photo.

Be sure your bio reflects all your good qualities, not only on your website but also on your social media profiles. Be sure to load it with keywords that prospects use when searching for a lawyer who practices the type of law that you do.

Now turn your attention to your social media profiles. Here’s a blueprint for the perfect LinkedIn profile:

Name: Use your professional name, no nicknames or other superlatives.

Headline: Under your name is your headline, the most important piece of real estate on your profile. Use keywords that people would use to find you — i.e., Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney.

LinkedIn URL: Customize your LinkedIn URL to make it easier for people to find you. You’ll find it in the light gray box below your name.

Profile photo: Use a professional head shot with a neutral background. Have your photo reflect what you do. Look friendly, not stern.

Summary: Develop a succinct description of what you do, using keywords that other people would use to search for you.   Add contact information — website, email, phone, etc. Add video if you have it that gives an overview of your experience.

Experience: Again, if you have video, use it. People engage much more with video than text! Add any content you’ve produced that is pertinent to your professional life. Be precise in listing your past and current roles.

Education: Including information about degrees acquired and schools attended provides an opportunity to connect with other alumni.

Featured Skills & Endorsements: Include skills that define your professional role and experiences. Get endorsements from peers and others you’ve worked with to validate your skills.

Recommendations: Recommendations are written by other LinkedIn members — typically people you’ve worked with or know professionally. They add credibility to your profile. You can solicit recommendations within LinkedIn by clicking on the “Ask to be recommended” link in the Recommendations box and selecting up to three people to receive your request.

Accomplishments: Here is where you list any awards, honors or other recognition you’ve received as a professional. You can also list anything you’ve had published — articles, e-books, etc.

  1. Refresh your pages with new images.

If it’s been awhile since you updated your images on your website or social media pages, it’s time to refresh. Put an updated photo on all your online profiles. Make a note to yourself to refresh your cover image on Facebook every quarter.

  1. Visit your competitors.

Look at your competitor’s social media pages and see how you compare. Try to view them with the same eye as your prospects. Then make the necessary improvements to your pages to outdo them.

  1. Use social media apps to keep yourself organized.

There are several good social media management tools out there like BufferApp and HootSuite that let you view your social media landscape on one page. This not only makes it easier for you to be sure you maintain a consistent branding message, but also makes managing all your accounts and scheduling posts much easier.

  1. Consolidate.

Did you sign up on every possible social media site as soon as they came out? There’s no way you can maintain all of them, so consolidate into two or three where your prospects are most likely to be found.


Google Reviews Study: Reviews Even More Important to Local SEO

Posted in SEO for law firms

BrightLocal, a leading local search marketing company, scoured the profiles of more than 93,000 local businesses across 26 different industries to create their recently released Google Reviews Study.

Law firms are included in the research, and an interactive infographic that BrightLocal included in their report allows you to explore the results for each category as a whole. It’s pretty cool; here’s what the legal category looks like:

Google Reviews Study: Reviews Even More Important to Local SEO Ranking

A few important insights from this research:

The average number of reviews for businesses that appear in that all-important Google Local 3-Pack (where three local businesses are featured on the first page of search results) is 47. Law firms average only 16 reviews.

The difference in average star rating between businesses that are listed in the 1-3 position in search results vs. those listed in positions 7-10 is only .02 stars.

The average star rating for local businesses across all categories is 4.42; law firms rank right at average:

74% of local businesses have at least one Google review; law firms rank below average at 70%:

It’s clear that law firms have some work to do when it comes to obtaining Google reviews, which in turn helps to increase your local ranking in search results. Our free on-demand webinar will give you the tools you need to do this:

FREE On-Demand Webinar for Attorneys: How to Manage Your Online Reputation

A bad reputation could cost you everything, but this online training course on How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online Reputation will cost you nothing!

Take a moment right now and Google yourself. If you don’t like what you see, maybe you need to make more effort to manage your online reputation. And if you don’t have a clue how to do this, then this free online training session is for you!

Here’s what you’ll learn during this free one-hour online training session:

  • How to get feedback from 100% of your clients without risking a negative review online.
  • How to address both positive and negative reviews online so that both of them bring you business.
  • How to use online reviews to beat your competition, no matter what their marketing budget is.
  • A proven process for requesting and collecting reviews that will outperform anything you’ve ever tried.
  • series of word-for-word scripts that you can use to build your reputation today.
  • The top 5 ways to use your best reviews to boost conversion rate and maximize your marketing ROI.
  • How to put little-known best practices to work for you and gain from the experience of thousands of clients who went before you.

This online training event is presented by Michael Veinbergs, CEO of Local Marketing GeeksMichael is an online marketing expert, a well known speaker and the owner of one of the premier online marketing agencies in the country focused on helping attorneys build their practice. He is a UCSD graduate and a 28-year sales and marketing veteran. He started his first marketing agency in 2009, offering web development, SEO, PPC reputation marketing and more.

Register online now for the free online training on How to Protect, Build & Leverage Your Online Reputation. We’ll send you the link via email and you can share it with your staff and other attorneys in your practice.


Best Practices in Law Firm Marketing

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Best Practices in Law Firm MarketingIn today’s hyper-competitive legal services marketplace, it is not enough to be smart or even to do a great job for your clients. You must find a way of differentiating yourself and your firm so that prospective clients have a reason to choose you over your competitors. And everyone who works in your firm must also be engaged in this process.

Here are 10 things your firm should be doing to market your legal services:

  1. Encourage cross selling among attorneys. If you have multiple practice areas and lawyers who specialize in each area, then those lawyers should be cross-selling your services.  Make sure all your attorneys understand your total offerings.
  2. Get your staff involved in marketing. Your legal marketing efforts should touch every member of your staff, since they are your ambassadors when it comes to passing along your expertise to their contacts.
  3. Implement a program for keeping in touch with former clients. This is a no-brainer.  Add them all to your monthly e-newsletter list and establish a system for sending out keep-in-touch emails that doesn’t require any babysitting from busy lawyers.
  4. Be sure all your lawyers are engaged in business development. To keep your lawyers engaged in developing new business, implement a training program on your marketing messaging and encourage them to get out and network.
  5. Keep your website current. An out-of-date website tells prospects that your firm is out of date. Be sure you are adding fresh content and that your site works well on mobile devices.
  6. Manage your online reputation. Reputation management is critical for law firms.  You should have this task assigned to someone (internal or external) who regularly conducts online searches for your firm name and attorney names. If something bad pops up, you should have a process for dealing with it effectively.
  7. Keep your attorney bios up to date online. Every attorney should have a complete and current bio with a professional photo on your website, LinkedIn, Avvo, etc.
  8. Maintain an active blog. A blog is one of the best ways for marketing to your niche, highlighting your practice areas and pumping out fresh content that showcases your expertise in each.
  9. Provide added value to clients. Providing clients with value above and beyond what they are paying for will keep them coming back.
  10. Micro-manage the client experience. Do clients have to wait when they show up for an appointment?  Are you offering them something to drink and making them feel at home?  If not, you need to take another look at how your firm treats clients because they are measuring you not just against other law firms but against every service provider they know.  And if they don’t like the fit, they won’t be back.

But wait. There’s more. Now that you know the 10 things your firm should be doing to market your legal services, here are the top 10 marketing mistakes attorneys make and how to avoid them. Learn how to avoid these game-changing mistakes in our top-rated e-book “How to Avoid the Top 10 Marketing Mistakes Attorneys Make.”

avoid top 10 marketing mistakes lawyers make ebook

Written by Legal Marketing Expert, Stephen Fairley, CEO, The Rainmaker Institute


Should You Outsource Your Law Firm Marketing? [Infographic]

Posted in Law Firm Marketing

Should You Outsource Your Law Firm Marketing? [Infographic]Typically, lawyers are among those who are considered to be helpers. Other people are supposed to come to you for help — which may be why it can be hard to be the one who is seeking out help.

However, there are many law firm marketing tasks that you can and should delegate or outsource because it’s simply not the best use of your time. To build a successful law firm, your entire team needs to be laser-focused on your core competencies — which means that many business functions can and should be outsourced.

There are also several law firm marketing functions that you should keep in your own hands, including cultivating relationships with clients and referral sources.

When it comes to outsourcing your law firm marketing and business development efforts, there is a five-step process we recommend our clients follow:

  1. Identify the marketing strategies and business development tools that will work best for your practice area.
  2. Analyze your firm’s realistic ability to effectively design and implement the plan using existing, internal team members.
  3. Select which strategies your firm will handle internally and which ones you want to outsource.
  4. Interview and select an outsourced legal marketing company that can assist you.
  5. Set realistic goals and benchmarks.

Once you have selected which marketing tools you want to use, the next step is to analyze your law firm’s current ability to design, develop, implement and maintain the marketing plan. You must be realistic! The worst thing you can do is try to do it all by yourself or force your staff to do it. If your plan is to “dump” a bunch of marketing activities onto an already overwhelmed office manager because s/he took a couple of marketing classes in college, then don’t be surprised when it implodes.

It takes years of dedication working with thousands of different attorneys, running test after test and trying dozens of different law firm marketing techniques with different practice areas to truly become an expert legal marketer! I would propose that it’s not something you can truly achieve an expertise in by practicing a few hours a week, any more than you can become a lawyer by reading a John Grisham novel.

If you decide to hire outsource some of your law firm marketing, be sure the company you choose can meet these criteria:

  • They can point to other attorneys they work with;
  • They have a written blueprint for how they intend to generate and convert leads for your law firm;
  • They charge a flat fee that’s reasonable and based on results;
  • They have clearly identified strategies to track and measure actual results.

To learn what it takes to develop and implement a law firm marketing plan for your firm, consider attending a Rainmaker Retreat.  We have two sessions scheduled for the rest of this year:

  • November 9-10, 2018 — Miami, FL/The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale
  • December 7-8, 2018 — Los Angeles, CA/The Ritz Carlton, Marina del Rey

Plan ahead and take advantage of the Early Bird pricing, where you can save 30% off the regular price.  You can register here now.

This infographic provides some good ways for you to weigh the cost/benefit of outsourcing vs. insourcing:


Tried-and-True Tips to Attract Your Ideal Clients [Infographic]

Posted in Law Firm Development, Law Firm Marketing

Here’s a lesson that many attorneys learn the hard way: you will never have that lifestyle law firm you want if you keep taking on the wrong types of clients — which are those that fall outside a pre-defined category of what constitutes your ideal clients.

These five tried-and-true tips will help you attract the ideal clients you want and keep them coming back to you:

Tried and True Tips to Attract Your Ideal Clients


Breaking the 7 Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael GerberBreaking the 7 Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael Gerber

INC Magazine has called Michael Gerber “The World’s #1 Small Business Guru,” and I interviewed him on how attorneys can take their firm to the next level of success.

As the author of a number of books on entrepreneurship, including the best selling Awakening the Entrepreneur Within and The E-Myth Revisited, Michael is arguably the most famous consultant for small companies. He coined the phrase “working on your business versus working in your business,” which has become the mantra for tens of thousands of business owners.

Michael has worked with over 70,000 small business owners over the last 40 years, teaching business owners who possess significant technical skills but few business skills how to transform their companies into world-class organizations.

The time I spent with Michael was transformative for my own business, and I know what he has to teach can transform yours as well. That is why we have created a new FREE audio interview that you can access at Breaking the 7 Figure Barrier: An Explosive Interview with Small Business Guru Michael Gerber.

In this exclusive interview, Michael discusses with me:

  • How the E-Myth Principles apply to law firms
  • The 4 stages of business and how to move from a job to a practice to a business to an enterprise
  • How to compete in an aggressive marketplace like legal
  • Why services don’t matter anymore and the power of differentiation
  • How to build a law firm that works without you
  • Why you must shift the conversations you have with prospects from money to value and how to do this
  • Tips to creating a lifestyle law firm

Sign up now to get this free interview and we will send you a link to download the audio interview as well as a PDF transcript.


Grab New Opportunities by Repurposing Your Content [Slideshow]

Posted in Digital Marketing for Law Firms, Law Firm Marketing

How to Extend the Life of Your Digital Content [Infographic]This post from June 2018 has been updated to include a slide presentation from Search Engine Journal’s recent webinar on How to Identify Lost & Missed Content Opportunities.

While the relevancy of content marketing has never been greater (research shows that it generates 3x as many leads than traditional marketing and costs 62% less), we all struggle with the reality that no matter how brilliant our content is, it has a finite shelf life. The great ideas and advice we give out today will be forgotten tomorrow…or will they?

The good news is that great content can have a renewable shelf life if you know how to make it go the distance. With numerous online outlets and the varied ways you can present it — text, photos, infographics, video, etc. — your brilliant bon mots can travel far and wide across the Web.

The slideshow below provides you with instruction on how to repurpose and extend the life of your law firm marketing content. Not only will you be getting more eyes on your prized words or images, you will also be driving more traffic (leads!) to your main website and improving your SEO as well since high quality content is one of the most important ranking factors for Google.

Websites that are considered by Google to be high quality need sufficient expertise on a particular topic to be authoritative and trustworthy. According to Google, the standard for expertise depends on the topic of a particular page. Each page must have a purpose and then that purpose must be fulfilled with expert content — words, videos, etc.

For law firm websites, your information must be accurate, factual, clearly written and comprehensive. If the topic of the page is broad, the text is expected to have a lot of information on that topic. If the topic is narrow, the text may not be as lengthy. Both can still rank as high quality.

To summarize: write high quality content on topics of the greatest interest to your target market and then use the tips below to repurpose your high performing content to capture more opportunities you may have been missing all along.

How to Get Out of Your Marketing Rut & Grow Your Law Firm

Posted in Law Firm Development, Law Firm Marketing

How to Get Out of Your Marketing Rut & Grow Your Law FirmThere aren’t too many excuses I haven’t heard from lawyers who won’t do what it takes to market their law firm effectively:

I don’t have the time.

I don’t have the money.

I don’t know how.

My clients aren’t on social media.

My practice is highly specialized so I don’t need to market it.

All of them are really saying the same thing: I’m scared. Because who will handle all those new leads? Who will do the work? If I grow my law firm, I’ll have to hire more people. I like things the way they are now.

People who are comfortable in their rut will find any excuse to grab on to in order to stay where they are. There’s not much I can do about that and I frankly have no interest in trying.

What I am interested in — what makes me get up every morning excited about going to work — is helping those attorneys who truly do want to learn how to grow their law firms.

The quickest way to climb out of a no-growth rut is to attend our Rainmaker Retreat. And you don’t have to take my word for it — here are some actual quotes from lawyers who attended recent sessions:

Las Vegas, August 17-18, 2018

“I learned the importance of the client experience and the impact it has on conversions and the importance of having one person dedicated solely to intakes.”- Janet R., Staff, Criminal Law/Immigration, Phoenix, AZ

“My fourth Rainmaker Retreat and I am still benefiting from attending because my perspective and needs change every year as my business grows.”- Michael L., Solo, Corporate, San Diego, CA

Los Angeles, July 20-21, 2018

“We had lost our passion for helping people, work had become mundane. Within three minutes of listening to the Rainmaker speakers, I felt re-energized about what we do.” – Steve M., Office Manager, Bankruptcy, Pinellas Park, FL

“The Rainmaker Institute obviously has the magic formula for law firm success. Their suggestions are invaluable and should be implemented by every firm to attract and retain clients. I can’t wait to implement new systems to make my staff more efficient.” – D. Karapetian, Solo, Immigration, Glendale, CA

Chicago, June 22-23, 2018

“The professionals at TRI have invigorated my interest in the business of my law practice. I will immediately outline an action plan for introducing TRI’s solutions and enjoy the growth.” – R. Middleton, Tax/Estate Planning, Chicago, IL

“I really appreciated Donovan and Adam sitting down with me to look over what I currently have, where I want to go, and then help me figure out what services are best for me right now.” – M. Emery, Solo, PI/MVA, Louisville, KY

Atlanta, May 19-20, 2018

“LCS software can’t be beat. We love available statistics!”- K. Forward, Family/Criminal, Asheville, NC

“I found your program to be highly informative and useful. I wish I had attended your seminar decades ago.” – M. Conway, Partner, Bankruptcy, Fairfax, VA

San Francisco, April 27-28, 2018

“Very informative! Our office completed an 8-week training and I found the seminar just as useful. I would like our intake staff to come to a live seminar down the line.” – K. Ortega, Office Manager, Workers Comp, Oakland, CA

“Eye opening experience and insightful. Dad taught me how to practice, you taught me how to run a practice.”- M. Belli, Solo, PI/Employment, Mill Valley, CA

Philadelphia, March 23-24, 2018

“This program was absolutely what I needed. I’m leaving with a marketing plan that I can begin implementing immediately. I have been at a loss when it comes to generating leads with only two tools in my kit. I’m happy to say this is no longer the case. I would highly recommend Rainmaker Retreat to any attorney looking to grow their business.”- G. Franklin, Marketing Director, Employment/Small Business, Voorhees, NJ

“The seminar was an impressive and well-organized presentation of both practical and technical tools and suggestions which provide obvious, immediate and quantifiable benefits.” – D. Nesbit, Partner, Elder Law, Mechanicsburg, PA

If you’ve found yourself using any of the excuses I listed above, let me tell you why a Rainmaker Retreat is for you:

Time: It’s only 2 days, a Friday and a Saturday.

Money: The cost is only $697 if you register early enough, 30% off the regular price.

Don’t know how: You will learn how in these two days by creating an actual plan you can put into place the day you get home.

Clients not on social media: 76% of adult Internet users are on social media and you can bet your clients are there.

Highly specialized practice: You may have a niche, but do you own that niche? You’ll learn how in two days.

We have sessions scheduled for the rest of this year, and they are filling up fast:

  • September 14-15, 2018 — Atlanta, GA/The Ritz-Carlton Atlanta (special offer: $497 until 9/12)
  • October 12-13, 2018 — New Orleans, LA/The Roosevelt New Orleans
  • November 9-10, 2018 — Miami, FL/The Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale
  • December 7-8, 2018 — Los Angeles, CA/The Ritz-Carlton Marina del Rey

Plan ahead and take advantage of the Early Bird pricing, where you can save 30% off the regular price.  You can register here now.



Tips for Converting Clients Into Great Referral Sources

Posted in Generating Referrals for Attorneys

Tips for Converting Clients Into Great Referral SourcesWhile attorneys always covet referrals, many fall short when it comes to cultivating referral sources as part of their law firm marketing efforts. I believe that part of this stems from the attorney mindset of always being the helper, which often stands in your way of asking for the help you need to gain more referrals.

Getting a referral from a client really starts with this 5-step process:

  1. Be easy to do business with. Automation is great for many functions, but it should always be viewed as to the impact it has on the experience your clients have with your firm.
  2. Over-educate. Prepare a new client intake package that educates new clients on every aspect of your business.
  3. Over-deliver. Over-deliver not only in the services you provide, but by keeping in touch with all your clients. Many attorneys focus on getting new clients to the detriment of keeping contact with existing or old clients. Remember who got you to where you already are.
  4. Get feedback. Client satisfaction surveys are wonderful ways to get feedback that will help you improve upon areas of your firm you probably weren’t even aware needed improvement. There are many free survey services out there that can help you implement a quick email survey; use these to ask clients about your services and give them the chance to be heard. They will appreciate and remember it.
  5. Say thank you. Make it a habit to send personal thank you notes or make calls to clients whose business you value.

Education is Key

If you want more referrals, then you need to kick the education process into high gear. To provide you with great referrals, your referral sources need to know the answers to the following questions:

What does a great referral look like to you?

  • Be brief, but clearly articulate it
  • Give one or two examples, but make sure the examples reinforce each other and are not opposites or extremes. Focus on your typical client.
  • Be specific, not generic. Don’t say, “anyone who needs a divorce lawyer.” Instead, say “a small business owner or executive who is considering divorce.”

How do I make a referral to your office?

  • Do you prefer an email introduction, a phone call or an in-person meeting?
  • Will you call the referral or do they need to call you?

What do I need to tell referrals about you and your firm?

  • Be specific. Don’t list every practice area, focus on the one or two major areas where your best clients come from.
  • Use language that non-attorneys understand. Don’t use terms like family law, civil litigation or commercial litigation because they won’t know what these terms mean and they won’t ask you to clarify.

What’s in it for me?

  • If your state allows you to give a referral fee to other attorneys, do it.
  • Otherwise, at least send a thank-you card or small gift or anything to acknowledge their referral, even if it doesn’t end up as a paying client.

Why should I refer to you?

  • Most people believe lawyers don’t want or need referrals or they get all their clients from their own advertising efforts.
  • Help them understand that your business is just like any other profession and relies on referrals to friends, family members, colleagues, business associates, etc.
  • Educate them on how you are different from other attorneys and why they should send referrals to you. Do not say you are similar to other attorneys!

Do you charge a consultation fee and, if so, how much?

  • Should you charge a consultation fee? It depends.
  • If you have too many unqualified prospects, then charge a consult fee to get rid of the tire kickers. If you need more prospects, then make the consult complimentary.
  • If you usually charge a fee, tell them how much
  • If you normally charge a consult fee but will waive it under certain conditions, tell them what those conditions are.
  • If you offer complimentary consultations, be sure to tell them what that looks like (not a sales pitch/over the phone or in person/how long does it go, etc.

What information can I give to interested prospects?

  • Provide your referral sources with your business cards, brochures if you have them and a one-sheet of your skills, abilities, practice areas, etc. with your website address.

You cannot assume that the people you are counting on as referral sources know everything you know about your firm and why you are the best fit for someone they know.  And once you educate them, keep doing it in informal ways that help keep you in their minds as someone who can solve specific problems for their friends, family members or peers.

Law Firm Management Cheat Sheet [INFOGRAPHIC]

Posted in Law Firm Management

A law firm rarely ever fails for lack of talent.  It fails due to a litany of bad business practices, inefficiencies, infighting and hubris, as well as a number of other reasons that have nothing to do with the intelligence or talent of the lawyers themselves.

Being good at practicing law only gives you permission to compete in the marketplace; it is not a competitive advantage. To be successful in the business of law today, you have to offer a true competitive advantage — and more effectively market that advantage and not merely your competency.

Law firms that want to go from survive to thrive have to know how to run their law firm like a business. You need to understand and apply the key principles of business development, operations, management, and law firm marketing every single day.

There are 10 major areas of focus for every successful law firm owner as detailed in the law firm management cheat sheet below. Feel free to download the graphic and keep it for handy reference.

And if you need to improve your proficiency in any of these areas, attend a Rainmaker Retreat. We have four more sessions planned for 2018:

  • September 14-15, 2018 — Atlanta, GA
  • October 12-13, 2018 — New Orleans, LA
  • November 9-10, 2018 — Miami, FL
  • December 7-8, 2018 — Los Angeles, CA

Law Firm Management Cheat Sheet [INFOGRAPHIC]

Networking Your Way to More and Better Referrals

Posted in Networking

Networking Your Way to More and Better ReferralsNetworking is about establishing mutually beneficial relationships, not a contest to see how many business cards you can collect. And to secure those mutually beneficial relationships, you need to be strategic about the people you meet. Not everyone who crosses your path will necessarily qualify for that role.

Here are some networking tips:

Join the right groups: Don’t focus on legal groups or groups where a lot of attorneys gather (unless you get a lot of your business from other attorneys). You need to go where the decision makers meet, not the gatekeepers.

Join elite groups: Groups that cost several hundred dollars a year are better than cheap groups; groups that require a member to sponsor you are even better.

Remember your primary purpose: Remember your primary purpose in going to networking events is NOT to get new clients. Your primary purpose is to build a relationship with potential referral sources and to offer yourself as a referral source to them. When you understand the real reason for going to networking events, it takes all the pressure to perform off and keeps you focused on a more productive purpose—building relationships with people you could help and who may also be of help to you.

Ask open-ended questions: Use the 80/20 rule when you meet them — 80% of the conversation should be finding out about them. Ask open-ended questions like: What do you like best about the work you do? What are the biggest challenges your business is facing? How would I know if someone would be a good referral for you?

Be intentional in your follow-up: It does absolutely no good to go to a bunch of networking events, talk to people, collect business cards, and not follow-up. You must have a plan and reasons for following up with people you meet. Your primary reason is to learn more about their business and see if you would be a good referral source for them.

The infographic below from Network Wise provides additional tips for building a strong network both online and offline: