In this week’s edition of Things I Wish I Knew, New York lawyer Joleena Louis shares her game-changing LinkedIn networking strategy.
We all know that networking is key to a successful law practice. But if you are a natural introvert like me, it can be difficult to make personal connections at networking events.
I’m all about social media and I’ve found that you can build fantastic offline relationships with people you meet online. One of my favorite social media sites to meet potential referral sources is LinkedIn.
Over the past year, my network has grown exponentially due to this 4 step strategy I developed for networking on LinkedIn. As a result, I meet at least one new referral source a week and it does not take much time or money to implement.
Step 1: Make a list of the type of professionals that share your ideal client.
Think about the people who already refer to you and about other professionals your ideal client may use. This works well because you can make it a two-way relationship.
If you share the same type of client, it’s easy to refer to each other. For my family law practice, those professionals include therapists, accountants, real estate agents and other attorneys.
Step 2: Connect with one of those professionals weekly.
This plan does not have to be overwhelming. Just commit to sending one message a week. Start by looking at the LinkedIn connections you have already before reaching out to new ones. 99.9% of the time people agree to a meeting or phone call when I reach out.
Here is an example of what my message looks like:
I loved your recent article on securing a trademark. I often get requests for referrals for trademark attorneys and I’d love to learn more about your business.
Would you like to meet for coffee or a schedule a brief chat? Here is a link to my schedule if you are interested _______.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Step 3. Have the Meeting/Call
Make the meeting all about them. Show an interest in their business and the kind of clients they work with. Do a little research before the meeting or call to see if you have anything in common.
Eventually, the conversation will turn to you and your business. Now that you know all about their ideal client, you can talk about how you can address their specific needs.
4. Follow Up
The conversation doesn’t end after the meeting. If we had a phone call I will follow up with an email and maybe invite them to lunch or coffee in the future.
If they took the time to meet in person, I follow up with an email and a thank you card.
I then follow them on other social media sites to keep in touch and schedule a call/coffee/lunch with them each quarter.
I wish I would have done this way earlier in my practice. I had been doing it haphazardly but not in such a systematic way. Over the last year, I have made not only great referral sources but new friends. The more people get to know you, the higher quality leads they will start to send.
The entire process of making a new connection, meeting for coffee/having a call, and following up takes me less than 90 minutes a week. A worthwhile investment for a steady stream of referrals if you ask me.