As professional relationship builders, do you ever feel you “need a little help from your friends”…to borrow a line from a popular Beatles tune…to build a broad and powerful network? This one component to developing your practice can make the difference in helping you gain an edge with clients.
Though most of us would like it to be otherwise, developing professional friendships takes considerable time and energy and can only be built by taking consistent, incremental steps of helping others first. What do I mean by that?
When is the last time you freely gave of your own time mentoring a young lawyer, volunteering on a lawyer committee within your bar association or speaking at a seminar without the expectation of receiving anything in return?
Almost without exception, there is intrinsic value to these types of activities and their networking opportunities with other lawyers IF you recognize how to maximize each interaction. How many times do we encounter other practitioners and rarely, if ever, initiate a meaningful exchange in hopes of learning not only about their practice but how we may help them? This concept falls under the “creating good karma 101”. Why does it matter?
Whether you are a solopreneur or work in a AmLaw 100 firm, it is impossible to have too many resources — – be it in an area of expertise that you do not possess, an industry resource for your client, or a strategic connection for a new prospect, building strong professional relationships is the lifeblood of a healthy practice.
How much emphasis and time do you truly invest in developing strong professional relationships with other lawyers? Do you make the effort to attend as many relevant seminars as you can in your practice area and get to know the speakers? Often, many present at the same type of programs across the country and can be a valuable connection for you and your growing practice.
Do you regularly engage in building relationships via online attorney communities such as through your bar association online community as well as LinkedIn and Martindale Connected? Opportunities here are endless. While you’re watching tv in the evening, jump online and reach out to a few new folks. In the course of a year, you’ll be surprised at how many new contacts you have cultivated. Commit to this for the long haul and you will be amazed at how broad your network will become.
Social media presents exciting new opportunities to connect and cultivate relationships with other lawyers without geographic limits. Dare to think big. Participate in listservs to earn professional recognition and respect of other lawyers and to develop the coveted reputation as a thought leader in your area of expertise.
Don’t overlook the connection value to claiming and maintaining your profile on key legal directories such as Lawyers.com, Justia, Avvo, just to name a few. Utilize these resources to reach out to others with similar common interests and areas of expertise.
What we have found through coaching lawyers for many years is that we often get so caught up in our day-to-day practice and meeting our billable expectations, that we short change the inherent goodness of developing relationships with our colleagues (in and outside of our firms) to serve as a resource for them and vice versa while we move along the client and practice development journey. Don’t let this be you.
To learn the requisite concrete habits you must develop to become the rainmaker you are meant to be, click the buton below for a free download of Top Habits of Successful Rainmakers. Do it today!