One law firm marketing tactic that consistently helps most law firms get new clients is through referrals. Now there are several different ways to get those referrals: initiating a strategic referral partner mail & meet campaign; informal networking and formal networking.

“Formal networking” involves attending an organized group event such as industry trade shows, bar meetings, rotary clubs, special interest groups, political groups and lead groups like Business Network International (BNI).

In today’s post, I would like to share 7 tips on finding clients through formal networking.

#1. Join the right groups: Not 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.

#2. 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.

#3. Use an “audio logo”: An audio logo is an idea or statement that clearly and succinctly tells who your intended audience is and what you can do for them.

Most people are basically narcissistic – they want to talk about what interests them. They don’t want to talk to someone who’s only interested in how to get their business. So you can use an audio logo to attract attention. Be prepared to give case examples of how you have helped others.

Here is an outline of an audio logo: “I help (who your clients are) to (what your solution is or how you solve their problems.)”

#4. Remember your primary purpose: Remember your primary purpose is 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. If you’re going to networking events to get new clients you are not only wasting you time, but you are also coming across as either pushy or desperate to the people you’re meeting.

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 how may also be of help to you.

#5. Ask open-ended questions: Use the 8/20 Rainmaker Rule when you meet them. Ask open ended questions like:

What do you like best about the work you do?

What are the biggest challenges your industry/company/profession is facing?

Where do you find most of your clients?

Who is your target market?

If one of your prospects asks what makes you different from your competitors, what do you say?

How would I know if the person I’m talking to would be a good referral for you?

#6. 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.

#7. Track your efforts:

Contact’s name and full information.

Follow-up method used—phone, email letter.

Date of 1st follow-up.

Dates of each additional follow-up.

Date of first face-to-face meeting.

Follow-up efforts.

Results of efforts.

Notes.

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