Networking events are a well-known staple in the business world. They actually do help. As anyone who’s been part of a few will tell you. But are they a good way to build a referral business for attorneys? Well, it depends on how you do it and which events you participate in.
With finesse and a strategic mindset, attorneys can use networking events as a tool to build a robust referral business. We’re going to explore the potential benefits while providing some practical advice as well. Let’s begin with understanding how this process works.
How Does the Process Work?
Referrals play a pivotal role in driving new clients and cases. Additionally, networking events can offer a unique opportunity for attorneys to connect with fellow professionals and make relationships that can lead to valuable referrals.
In a nutshell, it’s a 5-step process.
- Identify the right opportunities. Not all networking events are created equal. It’s crucial to identify events that align with your practice area and target audience.
- Create a memorable impression. Effective introductions, elevator pitches, and engaging conversations that leave a lasting mark on fellow attendees are all very important.
- Build a genuine relationship. Successful networking isn’t solely about collecting business cards. Focus on building genuine relationships by actively listening to others. Fewer higher-quality connections are better than lower-quality ones.
- Demonstrate your expertise and reliability. Use networking events to position yourself as a knowledgeable and reliable legal professional. You can share your opinions and insights to position yourself as a credible professional within the practice.
- Follow-up and nurture relationships. The real value of networking lies in the follow-up. Never forget to connect with the contacts you’ve made, even if just to express your gratitude. This will help you find more collaboration opportunities. If you don’t nurture your relationships, you might not stay top-of-mind when referrals are sought.
The process involves attending gatherings such as legal conferences, bar association meetings, seminars, and industry-specific events. In some cases, even alumni meetings can open up doors to new opportunities.
During these events, you should ideally engage in conversations, exchange business cards, and establish connections that can lead to referrals. You might need the help of a marketing agency like Comrade digital marketing to first work on your digital presence because a business card isn’t sufficient today.
Potential Benefits of Networking Events for Attorneys
Networking events offer a range of benefits for attorneys looking to build a referral business. When you attend these events, you’re not only expanding your professional network but also gaining insight into industry trends and forging relationships with potential referral sources.
In this way, networking allows you to show your expertise and knowledge while establishing your credibility among peers.
If you’re ready to get these benefits, we should tell you that you can increase your success rate or guarantee better results if you already have a personal brand online. This means more than just a website with a few pages!
Preferably, you should get law firm SEO services to have a robust digital presence with proper social media, website, and SEO. A law firm marketing plan can also include PPC ad campaigns, email marketing, etc. but it’s best to start small.
Should You Participate in Networking Events? What to Expect?
Participating in networking events can indeed offer a range of benefits for attorneys. They can help you build a referral business and get in touch with potential referral sources.
But at the same time, it’s also important to approach these events with realistic goals and expectations. First of all, we would strongly recommend against going to these events with the sole purpose of making new acquaintances so they can help you in your career.
That is thoroughly selfish and you’d be surprised how often people can pick it up even if you try your best to hide it. So, here are some guidelines:
- Always participate in events as a value provider and not a promoter.
- Focus on the human aspect and listen to others instead of talking about your own things.
- Understand that it can take you a few interactions or events to get a good acquaintance.
- Getting referred to by one of your acquaintances can take months to develop a relationship. So, be in it for the relationship and not the gains.
How to Find Relevant Networking Events?
Now, let’s come to one of the most important considerations: How do you participate in networking events that are most likely to benefit you? If you already know about a few such events then that’s a good place to start. Otherwise, you’ll need to conduct thorough research. There is a social meet or gathering for every type of legal professional and specialization in almost all major cities.
- Start by identifying events that align with your practice area and target audience.
- Look into bar associations, legal organizations, forums, and online platforms for resources on upcoming events. Social networking sites like LinkedIn and Facebook can also come in handy sometimes.
- Prioritize events with peers who share your professional interests or have a symbiotic specialization.
The cutting-edge tools aren’t always available to everyone and that’s when networking events come in handy. If your law firm marketing budget lacks any provision to spend on offline networking events, then this might be the right time to incorporate it!