Getting the Most From Networking Meetings and Troikas [podcast]

In the latest episode of the Counsel to Counsel podcast, I speak with Steve Fretzin, a premier business coach, trainer, and speaker on business development.  Steve focuses on the legal industry but comes with experience in other industries as well.  Steve and I discuss the importance of networking in building a professional services practice, how you can get more out of your networking meetings, and how to do this in a time of social distancing.

The ability to generate work has never been more important for lawyers and other professionals. We are in a recession right now and adapting to the demands of the marketplace is critical.  But knowing what services your clients want is only a starting point.  A good business plan requires a healthy mix of marketing (or reputation building activities) and business development (or relationship building activities).  For lawyers and other professionals, it is the second leg, the relationship building, that is more challenging to master.

Attorneys come out of law school knowing something about a broad cross section of legal subjects.  Law school graduates enter the workforce knowing how and do legal research and write briefs.  While clinics and internships help aspiring lawyers to start

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What a Deadly Virus Teaches Us About Business Development

Since the start of the year, we’ve learned a lot from COVID-19 about how disease spreads.  While it is hard to see beyond the toll  that the pandemic is taking on our health and on our economy, I’ve been looking for the silver linings and the lessons we can learn.  In the future, I’ll look back nostalgically on this time and remember the months I was able to have dinners with my three adult children who are all living with us.

I’ve also realized that the coronavirus has something to teach us about business development and the importance of building a network.  In the case of the coronavirus, building that network is clearly a bad thing.  In the case of business development, building a network is essential for success.

While COVID-19 spreads from individual to individual, we know that it can spread more quickly when groups of people come together; and it can spread exponentially faster when large groups of people are congregated indoors and near each other.

So how is this relevant to business development and business relationship building? The short answer is that it is better to know more people than fewer people.  Your referrals will grow more quickly if you know more people and if you deepen your relationship with those people. 

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Building Business Relationships in a Time of Social Distancing-Webinar

UPDATE:  This webinar has already taken place.  For a rough transcript, click here.

Please join me for a webinar on building business relationships on Tuesday, May 12, 2020 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.  Free for members of the Boston Bar Association.  We will be discussing the importance of building your network and how networks are crucial for career advancement and business generation.  I will be offering some tips on how to do this effectively at a time when getting together in person is not possible.

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Zoom is a Great Tool for Relationship Building–But Use it “Right”

Zoom works well when you are trying to connect with just a few contacts. We may be physically distant, but we don’t need to be socially distant. If you are going to use it for larger gatherings, make sure your meeting is structured and moderated.

I am using Zoom a lot to check in with clients and other people I know and see how they are doing. But I’m presenting a webinar to the New Associates Forum of the Boston Bar Association webinar in a couple of weeks on Building Business Relationships in a Time of Social Distancing. I’m hoping to do at least one “breakout session” so attendees can actually speak with each other.

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If You Want Serendipity to Happen, Get Out of Your Office

A few months ago, I decided to sit down at a local coffee shop and work on my blog and my podcast. It was a Sunday afternoon and I could have easily worked from my home office; but I decided that it would be nice to get out of the house. I wasn’t planning to meet anyone.  On the other hand, it is not uncommon for me to run into people I know when I go to coffee shops in my town.

I walked into a nearby Starbucks  and sitting in the corner was the father of one of my son’s college friends. I parked myself at a table on the other side of the restaurant and popped open my laptop. He was busy

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How to Handle Derivative Referrals

It is well established that referrals are a very important source of business for lawyers and other professionals. I’ve written about that here, here and here.  Since legal needs are are episodic, for most attorneys, being in the right place at the right time to hear about a legal need is challenging. Having other professionals keeping their ear to the ground for services that you can provide, dramatically increases your marketing effectiveness.

It is also well established that leads that come through referrals are much more likely to turn into business.  They are pre-qualified.

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If you Don’t like Sports, Try Becoming a Sports Fan FAN

If you live in Boston, it’s pretty hard to ignore what is going on with the sports scene. For the past 17 years or so the Boston Red Sox and the New England Patriots have won many championships and you can throw in a few championships as well from the Boston Celtics and the Boston Bruins. Because of the sports culture of the city, sports does tend to be a popular topic in networking situations. But if you’re like me, sports viewing does not occupy a significant portion of your free time. I tune in when one of our teams makes it to the championship round and I may enjoy one night a year at Fenway Park, although I’m just as likely to end up at Fenway to hear a concert featuring aging rockers (I saw the Who this past summer-inspiring to see that Pete Townsend can still twirl his arm while playing guitar and not end up in the hospital).

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If you Want to “Get” Legal Business, Try “Giving” First

Anyone who has spent any time around me lately knows that I am a very active member of Provisors.  I am a zealous “convert”.   I only joined Provisors in June, but since that time I have probably been to 30 meetings or “troikas”.  I am now on the Executive Committee of the Cambridge I Group (the Recruiting Chair) and I’m chairing the Recruiting Subcommittee of the Diversity Committee.

Provisors has really energized me and had a very positive impact on my business (for now the impact has been mostly indirect but I’m sure that will change over time.)   Simply put, Provisors is a great business networking group that is providing me with a terrific opportunity to grow my professional network quickly.  It’s like a cult (but in a good way!)

What I love most about the organization is that there is a heavy emphasis on helping other members and on thanking them for their efforts.  Being part of the organization really hammers home the message that in order to “get” you need to “give” first.

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How Coaching Can Advance Your Career Success and Happiness

How can coaching help attorneys find more career success and happiness? Ask Beth J. Masterman of Masterman Executive Coaching! I interview Beth in the latest episode of the Counsel to Counsel podcast (find it wherever you listen to podcasts or visit the podcast homepage) Beth provides a great overview of what coaching is, how it works, what issues are suitable for coaching, how to find a coach, etc.  I recently reconnected with Beth at Provisors , a great business networking group I joined this past Spring and she has been very generous in helping me rethink my own coaching practice. No surprise that she was named Number One Executive Coach by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. legalcareers executivecoaching lawyers

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What Does it Take to Generate Legal Work?

I had a “troika” the other day with Frank Rudewicz of the accounting firm Blum Shapiro and Steven Konowitz of the Law Firm Konowitz and Greenberg. Troikas, for the uninitiated, are a gathering of three Provisors members. They are set up in order to help members get to know each other and they serve as a nice complement to the monthly meetings you have with your Provisors home group (or affinity group– or group where you have served as a guest).

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