Marketing Corner Leverage Summer Months to Grow NetworkBy Kimberly Alford Rice
With the summer months upon us, it is too easy to be lulled into a sense of complacency and slack off on targeted business development initiatives. Avoid the temptation and leverage these next several months with a concentrated effort to build and strengthen your network. Contact lists - gotta have them - and you should be growing them. If there is one element in the business development arsenal that is fatal to ignore or not attend to faithfully, it is the contact list. This is and will be the foundation of your practice for many years ahead. Why, you may ask? Well, put simply: no list equals no connections and communications with friends, peers, industry contacts, prospects and ultimately, no clients. In my practice, particularly with newer attorneys, I hear consistently: "I do not have a list, how (or why) do a get one?" and "I don’t know anyone to add to a list." Unless you live in a cave on a deserted island, you have all the tools you need to grow your own quality contact list.
To be clear, a contact list should be comprised of a group of people who are interested, engaged and willing to both talk about and share your messages. These most likely will include:
Friends and family
School classmates (law school, college, high school, etc.)
Peers and former co-workers
Contacts from former clerkships
Professional contacts (YLD members, Chamber YP contacts, etc.)
Holiday card recipients, and so on
In short, most people with whom you come in contact who also have a network of contacts. Living in the age of social media, it has never been easier to develop a network, professional and personal. We all "know" people and they "know" people, etc. Point being, it is imperative to "collect" contacts as you move along your career, even as early as "day one" as a lawyer. Too many lawyers I coach sadly make the mistake of omission of not focusing on their list as soon as they start their legal career. Five or more years later when they realize they need to concentrate on expanding their network and educate their contacts to the legal services they provide, they find that they can't put the "toothpaste back into the tube" of individuals with whom they have lost touch. Take advantage of the Summer months to get and stay connected with your growing network. It is one of the most impactful business development initiatives in which you can engage.
Kimberly Alford Rice (firstname.lastname@example.org) is principal of KLA Marketing Associates.