Using Your Personal Network To Grow Your Practice

by Alay Yajnik
More Resources at LawyerBusinessAdvantage.com

As an attorney, your personal relationships are a rich source of business for you and for the firm. Sometimes you have a personal connection whom you would like as a client (or whose company you would like as a client).

The problem is that it can be uncomfortable, awkward, and just plan weird to have a business discussion with a friend, relative, neighbor, or personal acquaintance.

First off…yes, business development will be uncomfortable especially at first. But don’t worry…it won’t be uncomfortable for the person you’re meeting with, and you won’t damage the relationship by discussing business with them.

Here’s a Simple Approach that Won’t Damage Your Relationship

State the purpose of the meeting: When scheduling the meeting, let them know that you’re “trying to build your business and are interested in discussing how they handle their legal work”. That way, they aren’t surprised (no one likes to be ambushed into biz dev discussions, so please, don’t be that person).

Thank them several times: Thank them when you ask for the meeting, thank them when it’s scheduled, thank them at the beginning of the meeting, and thank them at the end. Bonus points for sending a thank you note or email after the meeting!

Start the meeting with some pleasant conversation (5-15 minutes). Then, ask some good questions and listen to the answers: (they should talk 80% of the time)

When asking about a business:

  • How does the company decide what work to outsource vs. handle in-house?
  • What legal work do they typically outsource?
  • How do they choose a law firm to work with?
  • What are their “pet peeves” when working with law firms?
  • What do they know about your practice? (you can talk about the firm after they answer)
  • What advice do they have for you and the firm?
  • Who else should you be talking with?

When asking about them or their family office:

  • How and when do they work with attorneys?
  • How do they choose a law firm to work with?
  • What are their “pet peeves” when working with law firms?
  • What do they know about your firm? (you can talk about the firm after they answer)
  • What advice do they have for you and the firm?
  • Who else should you be talking with?

Thank them again at the end of the meeting and ask them if they would like to be added as a VIP for future firm events.

This is one way to approach this, though it isn’t the only way.

Want more helpful tips and insight? Join our private Facebook group: The Lawyer Business Advantage Community

 



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