Today we are going to continue our discussion on networking.
My calendar is full next week. 5 days, 1 meet-up for coffee, 3 lunches, and 1 full day working with my new assistant on business stuff.
At first glance, all I can think is “That’s a lot of food.” But calories aside, it’s what I have to do if I’m going to build my business. I’m not going to meet the “right people” if I sit in my office day-in-day-out, and neither are you.
Most successful solos that I have talked with tell me that they have 5 to 8 networking meetings per week. Not networking events, but one-on-one meetings.
So how do you get meetings? I’ll show you how I do it.
1. Meet with people you already know. Friends, family, people you know through LinkedIn or facebook. It doesn’t matter if they’re your ideal clients or not. Don’t be choosy. Just start connecting with people. Next week, I’m having coffee with my former business coach who I haven’t talked to in about 6 months. My 3 lunches are with a former colleague, an attorney I met through twitter, and a business owner who came to hear me talk a couple of months ago.
2. At the meeting, explain to them that you’re building your law practice and that you’re trying to get the word out. Tell them what type of law you practice and what type of clients would be the best fit for you. Let me be clear: you’re not asking them to become your clients. You’re building your network of people who can refer business your way.
So what do you ask them? You ask them to connect you with people they know. And here’s what you say,
Thank you so much for your time. If you know anyone who might be interested in my legal services, please give them my name.
3. Then you ask them the all important question.
How can I help you?
No one wants to feel used. Make this a meeting a win-win for both of you.
4. At the end of the meeting, ask…
Do you mind if I follow-up with you in a few weeks?
Now you have permission to keep the conversation going. You can update them on your business and provide them with more information.
5. Schedule a time on your calendar to follow-up in a few weeks. A quick email should be sufficient.
The next time you wonder how you’re going to get clients, take a look at your calendar. How many networking meetings do you have scheduled?
Getting clients is a lot easier if you’re willing to put in the time and effort to meet people. Buying someone coffee or lunch is the best money you will ever spend on advertising.