POST BY JAY HARRINGTON
Business development is not merely about meeting new people.
That’s often the easy part.
The hard part is deepening a relationship and building trust while remaining top of mind.
You don’t have to become close friends with people you work for or who refer you work, but it is important to be seen as a helpful resource that someone wants to keep in their orbit.
Many lawyers struggle to consistently stay top of mind (the lawyer who is top of mind often gets the work) because they don’t want to come across as pushy or “salesy”.
That’s a valid concern, because emailing or DM-ing someone every month with a pitch or an ask does not build trust. Just the opposite.
“Just checking in – wanted to see if there is anything you’re working on that might require my assistance” is not going to get the job done.
Here’s what I suggest instead:
1. Create a list of 20 key business contacts in your network. These should be your best clients, prospects and referral sources. Some of the people on your list may be colleagues within your firm.
2. Start reaching out to one person on the list in a meaningful way every business day (20 equals the approximate number of business days in a month).
3. “Meaningful” outreach can mean many different things, but an easy way to think about this is to reach out with:
An idea: Send a link to an article, podcast, video or other form of thought leadership that your contact will find relevant and helpful. Ideally, at least sometimes, it will be something you created.
An invite: Send an invitation to an educational or social event your firm is hosting. Offer to put on a “lunch and learn” at your client’s office. Set up lunch or drinks for a later date.
A connection: Connect two people in your network who should know one another. Send a referral to a referral source. Generously make introductions that can spark opportunity.
Your outreach only needs to take a few minutes. It’s not the amount you do on any particular day that matters. Doing just a bit every day is what compounds over time.
Be a helpful resource. You’ll build trust. And you’ll be top of mind when the most important people in your network are confronted with problems or opportunities that you can help with.