Business Tips » The Oldest, Most Effective Form of Business Development

The Oldest, Most Effective Form of Business Development

Growing a business is hard work. Tech, automations, SEO, and so much more. But there is one timeless and often forgotten way to drive new business and attract better clients: Networking.

You probably have networked your way to success for years, but did you know that most attorneys get 60-80% of their work from other professionals?

This means that meeting other professional service providers and creating mutually beneficial relationships with them can account for a big part of your growth. That is why in today’s article we’re going to talk about 3 tips for maximizing your networking efforts, and how you can do it effectively starting today.

Networking That Actually Works Tip #1: Start With Clarity

If you have done a lot of networking in the past and it hasn’t led to fruitful relationships, this may be the reason why. Whenever you are speaking with another professional the number one question (after breaking the ice with some small talk) will usually be:

“So, tell me about yourself. What do you do?”

The way you answer this question matters way more than you may currently realize. A vague answer will not be memorable and get lost among the dozens of conversations the other person will have that day. That is why the key is being clear about who you serve and how you serve them.

For example, stating that you serve corporate clients with their legal needs is very ample and easy to forget. But if you say “We are a small boutique firm specializing in compliance for pharmaceutical companies”, the specificity will help the other person remember what you do. This lasting impression significantly increases the chances of that other person referring you to the exact clients you aim to attract.

And while you may want to serve a diverse client base, framing what you do depending on the context may be a great idea. If you are meeting professionals with connections in the financial world, and that is one of the industries that you serve, you may want to emphasize your expertise in this area when talking with them by saying:

“We serve clients in a wide variety of sectors, but one of our specialties is helping financial services companies stay compliant and manage their legal needs.”

In this way, you are keeping your options open while presenting yourself as an expert.

Networking That Actually Works Tip #2: Give First

The best relationships don’t come out of a mindset of extraction, but of service. If you try to help others first, the natural human tendency will be to retribute back. So if you want referrals, refer first; if you want some counsel, provide your expertise first.

A generous attitude can solidify your reputation as a valuable and reliable professional. It also attracts more genuine connections with long-term partners who can significantly impact your business.

Just think about how have you met your best clients. Probably they came from a referral by a person who had a strong relationship with you, or by helping them first with a particular problem which then expanded into a wider working relationship. Networking goes beyond the exchange of business cards: it is about cultivating authenticity, mutually beneficial relationships with other professionals.

Business Coach Dan Sullivan talks about the concept of “Referability Habits”. These are a set of often invisible behaviors that make all the difference when meeting another person. Some of them include showing up on time, doing what you say, finishing what you start, and saying please & thank you. By paying more attention to these basic courtesies, you can become more ‘referrable’ and build your reputation. 

Networking That Actually Works Tip #3: Don’t See Others as Competition

While it is undeniable that some businesses might be in direct competition with you, the reality is that you can create mutually beneficial relationships with most professionals.

The reason is that, even if you both serve the exact same industry, your dream client might be their nightmare client, and vice-versa. Ask yourself, who is your dream referral? and who is your nightmare client? By answering those questions, you can network with other professionals and attract the actual clientele that you want.

The Business That You Want Is Only One Relationship Away

Consider this scenario: You operate a small law firm with 6 employees. At a cocktail party, you meet the CEO of an accounting firm that serves 50 clients. If you cultivated a solid relationship with this person, and successfully created a referral partnership, what would be the chances that your firm thrives?

They would be immense. Whether you are looking for more or better clients, amazing team members, or even raising capital to expand, you are one single relationship away from the business that you want.

This does not mean to treat every relationship as a business opportunity. In fact, many of our most fruitful partnerships have come from spontaneous conversations around the coffee station. It is in those unplanned moments when we can connect with others and come up with our brightest ideas.

Cultivate the Relationships that Will Build Your Business at Amata

While networking can take your business to the next level, the reality is that most of us are busy. That is why at Amata we create an environment where collaboration naturally happens, so you can build your business just by going into the office.

Our workstations are strategically placed to foster collaboration with peers. Our offices are centrally located, with cozy cafés around for meetings. Our signature cognac room allows you to relax and end the day by sharing stories with other attorneys.

At Amata, you’ll also get to meet professionals from other industries, from accountants to financial advisors, marketing professionals, and HR firms. This can lead to new clients, referrals, joint ventures, and even friendships. We also organize monthly meetings with over 600 attorneys, where you can expand your network and business opportunities.

Contact our team here to see how Amata’s networking opportunities can help take your business and relationships to the next level!