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Get on Base: Networking


Janet Falk, Ph.D.

Falk Communications and Research

This article is part II in a series about the FIVE essential marketing activities to grow your practice.

You already have a network. Using the baseball analogy of Create and Monitor Your Marketing RBI from Part I, it’s time to leverage it and get on base.

Consider how effectively you are tapping into your network to remain top of mind with your clients and referral sources. Are you expanding your circle of connections?

Networking is about being a resource; not collecting business cards and names.

Approach networking with the goal of getting to know people who can answer questions about another area of the law or even another industry you’d like to explore. These contacts can provide guidance to you and others you know.

Consider that everyone has a problem situation, and everyone represents a solution. Your role is to match the two.

With this resource mindset, you will be perceived as someone who has a fabulous pool of knowledgeable professionals of all stripes and sizes and is willing to freely share them.

In other words, it’s not about getting new clients. Set your self-interest aside as you assist your acquaintances.

For example, two litigators who were opposing counsel chatted after the matter was concluded. The first mentioned that she was developing her marketing plan. The second suggested she contact a consultant he had recently met. She recognized my name and soon became my client. What did opposing counsel gain from this suggestion? Good will from both the litigator and me, the consultant.

Adopting this mindset of resources will keep you on the path to being helpful to others. You will listen to their description of a situation, with which they need assistance, and locate a skilled professional: someone among your many contacts who can shed light on a complex matter.

A. Build Your Team by Starting with the People You Already Know.

You probably have 5,000 contacts in your circles:

  • 1.

    Names in your email address book

  • 2.

    Recently emailed addresses (use the NK2Edit program)

  • 3.

    Subscribers to your newsletter and blog

  • 4.

    Business cards

  • 5.

    Lists of attendees at events

  • 6.

    Membership directories

  • 7.

    LinkedIn connections

Export the digital files. Compile the names and email addresses in lists and eliminate the duplicates. Add these contacts to your database.

Invite them to connect with you on LinkedIn if you are not already connected there.

Draft even more players for your team by making a list of all the transactions and litigations you’ve been involved in. Then add the names of the attorneys on both sides of the matter.

Include the attorneys at your prior firm and those who were law clerks with you.

If you served on a committee at the bar association, add the other members.

Did you remember your classmates and faculty from law school?

Wow. That’s quite a lengthy list. Now take the next step.

B. Plan to Engage the Top Priority Connections in a Conversation.

Sort the names in your list and prioritize them by your preferred criteria. Will they take your call? Are they simply names from long ago with few shared interests?

Here are some easy pitches to get you on base, whether you make a phone call or send an email:

  • 1.

    Subscribe to, read and comment on their newsletters–and invite them to subscribe to yours

  • 2.

    Notify them of potential clients seeking resources and services

  • 3.

    Forward an article of interest

  • 4.

    Suggest a topic to co-author an article in an industry newsletter

  • 5.

    Comment meaningfully on their LinkedIn posts and articles

  • 6.

    Ask them about best practices that you can reference in an article or newsletter; acknowledge their suggestions with links to their website

  • 7.

    Introduce them to other contacts who have an aligned interest

  • 8.

    Share opportunities to submit articles for publication

  • 9.

    Send an announcement of an event, webinar or podcast

  • 10.

    Invite them to attend your next speaking engagement

These activities can also be fruitful opportunities to engage with the members of your networking groups.

C. Consider Joining Other Groups.

Many networking groups have waived their fees to attract more prospects to their virtual events. Participating in heterogeneous groups can support your new business development activities, whether it’s Business Network International (BNI) or the local Chamber of Commerce.

  • 1.

    Register for the group’s next meeting

  • 2.

    Visit their website and identify the officers and committee chairs

  • 3.

    Locate their email addresses (or find them on LinkedIn)

  • 4.

    Send each one an email; indicate your interest in joining the group and describe your practice in one sentence

As leaders of the group, they will likely respond and welcome you to the upcoming meeting. After all, they are committed to the group’s success and want to increase membership. Reply and reiterate your enthusiasm in attending.

At the virtual meeting, be prepared to post the following details in the chat, so that all attendees can see how to contact you afterwards.

Name

Attorney; practice focused on _____

Website

Email

Phone

Wait to post this at the mid-point of the meeting, so that any latecomers will have the opportunity to read your contact details.

Send a follow-up note to the officers and committee members you emailed before the meeting and thank them for holding a terrific event. Reach out to any members who appear interesting. Cultivate these new connections as well.

With these strategies of outreach to your 5,000 contacts, engaging them in conversation, and joining new networking groups, you have three chances to expand your circle of contacts.

Networking will create a bountiful resource of people and skills, with opportunities to share and reciprocate with referrals and contacts. Step up to the plate and take a swing to get on base.

For more information, register now for Janet’s upcoming Tips to Improve Your Remote Networking Success program, presented by PLI.

Janet Falk is the head of Falk Communications and Research in New York City. She provides media relations and marketing communications services to law firms and consultants.

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Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors are their own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and official policies of Practising Law Institute.

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