Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Create Opportunities in Everyday Life (no 'selling' required)

It is very easy to fall victim to "tunnel vision". The first few cases you consult on are product liability cases, so all you look for are attorneys who handle cases just like those. Or you know your prospects are attorneys, so you neglect any and all other relationships and networking opportunities. Ignoring other avenues and possibilities like this is a great way to give your competitors more business.

I'm beginning to sound like a broken record, but it's true: You never know where your next referral will come from. This is why being able to clearly state what you do and for whom in a brief, well-rehearsed statement is so important. Engage in conversation with almost anyone, from your drycleaner to the person behind you in line at the supermarket, and inevitably you will be asked, "And what do you do?"

This is an opportunity! You don't know who they are and, possibly more importantly, you don't know who they know. So don't just reply, "I'm a doctor". Be prepared with your Statement of Profession, "I am an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and help attorneys with their cases, both plaintiff and defense", or "I am an engineer and consult with attorneys on structural engineering claims".

Always have plenty of business cards with you and easily accessible. It's natural and comfortable to hand over your business card while answering the "what do you do?" question. It helps you explain your practice, especially if you are uncomfortable discussing your legal support services in casual conversation.

Now that this new acquaintance has your card, you have an opportunity. A few weeks later when his neighbor, Sally Smith, Esq. is describing her newest case involving an injured player from the state college football team, he'll be able to say, "You know, I was talking to a doctor the other day who helps attorneys with just that kind of thing. Let me get you his card". (I can hear you guffawing, thinking "yeah, like that'll ever happen" but let me assure you, it does. One expert recently told me his most successful marketing came from running into a previous neighbor at a mutual friend's birthday party - that chance meeting resulted in the biggest case he had ever worked on!)

Make sure your casual acquaintances understand what you do and for whom, and keep in touch with them so that your name and expertise will come readily to mind when an opportunity arises. If any individuals in your circle are CIOs - Centers of Influence - take them to lunch every now and then. Centers of Influence are people who seem to know everybody and come into contact with people from many different walks of life on a regular basis. This could be your accountant who also holds a seat on the Downtown Development Board or even the golf pro at your local country club.

Don't limit yourself by ignoring potential referral sources. Be clear about what you do and make sure everyone knows you, likes you, and understands what you do.

No comments: