You know the story. You show up at the local Bar Association event thinking it must be worth a few decent leads.
You get cornered by the Admiralty lawyer. You’re amused by his waxed mustache, but he’s never going to send any business your way.
And on it goes.
You wander aimlessly through the room. An ocean of other lawyers. Fleeting conversations with eight different people. Nice folks, but they’re never going to send any business your way either.
You just spent three hours of your life at this event in the name of marketing and what do you have to show for it?
Eight business cards. No leads. And bet you five bucks that the most annoying guy you met (who's really just looking for you to hire him) will be hitting you up for coffee next week.
I'm not just ranting. This isn't fiction. During a recent training session, I asked a group of attorneys about the average number of referrals that can be traced back to any networking event they attended in the last two years.
Well, to be fair one fellow I talked with did get some business. Another lawyer wanted to retain him. But didn't want to pay. You know, professional courtesy and all.
The obvious question you ask yourself is, “Why am I going to these events?”
But the question gets even bigger.
Why are you doing most of the things in your marketing strategy?
Most lawyers are passive about it. We think that because we’re doing stuff, that this “stuff” somehow equates to marketing.
We’re being passive. We have this expectation, which is more hope than anything else, that business will come rolling in because we show up at a networking event. Granted, it's mostly just a vague assumption, but it's why we go.
But think about the network events you’ve attended. When you just show up, do you KNOW who you want to meet? Do you have a PLAN to meet them? Do you have a follow up plan?
In most cases, most attorneys don’t even know who’s in the room. They have no control of the situation. Or their time.
So for most, they're showing up blind. Hope, not strategy.
Wouldn’t it make much more sense to spend your time only at events where you know exactly who’s in the room, and those people are either ideal clients or referral partners?
Effective networking, like any other part of your marketing strategy, needs to be targeted.
Before you go to your next networking event, ask yourself if this is really the place where you’ll meet an ideal client or referral partner.
Or are you hoping you’ll just happen to reach for the serving spoon in the pasta platter at the same time as your dream client?
Call a spade a spade. If it’s not a well-targeted event, you’re just filling time. It may feel like marketing, but it's not. Just say "no."
The difference in your marketing results will be day and night.