Follow these five tips to improve your networking efforts and get more referrals from your new networking contacts.
How can I increase referrals?
This is a question solos are constantly asking themselves. It is the driving force behind many of the decisions they make for their law practice. A steady flow of referrals means accelerating the growth of your firm and easing your worries regarding getting new clients.
One easy way to start getting more referrals is to attend networking events with other lawyers and professionals that can refer you new business. However, getting referrals isn’t as easy as showing up, shaking hands and chit chatting. Some effort is required in order to see a return on your investment.
Follow these 5 tips to get great advice on how to improve your networking efforts and start turning those new introductions into paying client referrals.
1. Do Your Research Before You Even Start
If this is an event for specific professions or if there is a list of attendees then try to plan on who will be talking to in advance. By doing thorough research, you should gain a rough idea of how you can really connect with and stand out to those potential referral sources. But remember, successful professional relationships will always benefit both parties. When you approach someone, know what you can offer that person to make the interaction more memorable, authentic, and distinct. This will also help them to remember you when you follow up after the event.
2. Follow Up Within 48 Hours
After a business meeting or conference, or even just a quick chat over coffee, it’s crucial to follow up quickly. After meeting someone at a networking event put a reminder in your calendar to check back within two days. Getting in touch any later than two days after meeting someone can give the impression that you don’t care about the new relationship or the subject you discussed with your new contact.
3. Know What You Want
If you want people to send high quality and ideal clients to you then you need to be upfront and tenacious in letting people know what your ideal client looks like. If you beat around the bush and don’t know what kind of referral you want then you are wasting your time and theirs. Plus this also encourages your new referral sources to share their ideal clients with you, building a stranger and more mutually beneficial relationship.
4. Be Less Boring with a Few Killer Conversation Starters
Maybe one of the most helpful tips involves going armed with 5 killer conversation starters. These are questions you can use to break the ice with a stranger that not only starts a conversation, but makes you more memorable.
Killer conversation starters go beyond “so, what do you do”.
Here are our top three lines that we suggest trying out:
- What personal passion project are you working on right now?
- What’s your story?
- Working on anything exciting lately?
What’s brilliant about these conversation starters is that they get the other person talking about something they are passionate about, which might not be about work, but leaves the door open for a conversation about work if they’re not comfortable sharing personal information.
5. Know the Host
The host is sometimes the most valuable connection you can make.
If this is your first time going to this event or meet up, make sure to greet the hosts or the person who invited you. Think about it, in most networking events, the host is the only person either knows everyone, or knows how to at least get in touch with everyone. If you can make a good and memorable impression with the host, as new referrals or members come through the group, stand a better chance of having them sent your way!