How to network strategically and get more referrals, all right, networking is very simple. Networking is all about talking to the right people about their favorite subject and then following up with them. Write that down! Talking to the right people about their favorite subject and then following up with them.
Networking is part of marketing, it's not part of sales. If you're networking to try to get business from the people you're networking with and it's not working that's why. Networking is marketing. Marketing is designed to cultivate a referral network. That's why it's called networking, right? So the idea is you go and you identify who is either by their job, by their position in society, by their temperament. It doesn’t have to necessarily be someone with great credentials but there's always influencers in every community. You identify who these influencers are. You see where they're going. They may be going to formal networking events like a B&I group or something like that or they may be standing behind the counter at their store just meeting and greeting all of the people who come and go and being a resource to their staff, right? Identify who is in a position to refer business to you; that's number one.
Number two, talk to them about their favorite subject. Their favorite subject is always very predictable. It's going to be their business, their occupation, their profession, their family, their kids, their hobbies; it's their interests. Ask them about them. Ask them – put them on a pedestal and ask them all about what they like best about their business, what they like best about their industry, where they see the future going in whatever they're doing; positive questions so they don’t connect you with negative stuff. Positive stuff. You want to be a positive person.
Tell them what you do very briefly. Put it in terms of why they should care not, oh, I'm a lawyer. So I would say I'm the CEO of How to Manage a Small Law Firm. That would be very boring, no one cares about that. If I was speaking to someone and I wanted them to care I'd say, I help lawyers make more money in record time.
Even if they're not a lawyer they might know a lawyer, they might be friends with a lawyer, they might have a family member who's a lawyer and that will then resonate with them and if they're interested right away they'll ask for follow-up. If they're not it'll come back to them and then the last part is make referrals to them. So you add them to your (rainmaking) rolodex.
So you send them an article or something that's of interest to them on a regular basis and go out of your way, beat the bushes if you have to but constantly be on the lookout for how to connect A and B in your network and be that connector, be that person who recognizes when people should be doing business together and they'll love you for it, they'll refer business back to you because you care enough to refer business to them.
Last point on networking; it's called networking it's not called net socializing. Do not go and pretend, don’t pretend, like you're networking by going and hanging around with a bunch of other lawyers who do the same thing you do. If you're a bankruptcy lawyer don't go and hang around with other bankruptcy lawyers and call it networking. If you're a family law attorney, don’t go and hang around with other family law attorneys and call it networking. If you're a bankruptcy lawyer hang around with the family law attorneys. If you're a family law attorney hang around with the bankruptcy lawyers. Hang around with realtors, hang around with family therapists. Hang around, network with people who don’t do the same thing that you do because it makes no sense to think that they're going to refer business to you. That's why so many lawyers go around and they spend years and years and years and years networking and they think it doesn’t work and then it's because, well, gee, you're hanging around and networking with people who do the exact same thing that you do, why would they ever refer business to you except for the odd occasional once in a blue moon conflict of interest.
Networking, not net socializing!