Thursday, March 09, 2006

Rethinking 'Networking'

Everyone has heard of the benefits of networking and what a key factor it can be in getting referrals and growing your business. But it can be so much more! When done correctly, networking is really relationship building. Meeting someone, keeping in touch, getting to know them and letting them learn about you, and assisting one another when the situation warrants.

Rather than taking a single-purpose approach to networking, think of it as a chance to get to know more about your prospects and the legal community, a chance to be of assistance to others, and the opportunity to learn ways you could be a better expert.

If you hit it off with an attorney or a key staff member in the firm's office while on a case, in a social setting, at a conference, etc., cultivate that relationship. At a later date, when you are both comfortable, ask him what he looks for in experts, how he finds and chooses experts, and get him to share his best and worst experiences with experts.

Networking/relationship building doesn't always have to result in referrals or new business to be considered successful. The information you can glean from contacts within your pool of potential clients can help you reach your prospects effectively, in the language and format that matters to them and helps them the most. The end result is the enhancement of your image and reputation as an expert that understands what is needed and knows how to deliver. And that, my friends, is marketing you just can't buy.

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