Find your affinity group and your business relationships will grow

One of the great challenges in selling professional services is finding effective ways to stay connected to potential clients and referral sources. A good starting point is to identify some activity you enjoy (i.e. one that puts you in contact with the people you want to meet). It doesn't matter if it is sports, politics, religion, community work, the arts, music or some unusual hobby. Having outside interests makes it easier to build your referral network because it gives you a more natural way to connect with people.

Are you passionate about politics? Work on a campaign. Is there a non-profit cause that is meaningful to you (e.g. providing legal services to the indigent)? Or perhaps you care about an initiative being worked on by the Massachusetts Bar Association or some other law related group. Find a way to volunteer. Are you strongly tied to a religious community? Get active on a committee in your church or synagogue. Maybe you are passionate about a sport. If so, there are undoubtedly others who feel the same way and you should get to know them through a club.

Of course some activities tend to be more solitary than others. If that is the case, then look for a group to join where you can share your passion with like-minded individuals.

Being a part of some group that brings together people with common interests will greatly increase the likelihood you will create the referral relationships you need to grow your practice. The important thing is YOU are passionate about the activity, the cause or the belief system. There is no social glue that is stronger than a common set of interests, beliefs or experiences.

It is conventional wisdom that when you meet someone for the first time, politics and religion are poor topics of conversation. But the bonds we create through shared belief systems and shared passions are amongst the strongest bonds we create in life. As a result, the relationships we develop through these affinity groups are very good places to try to cultivate business referrals. Alumni groups can also be a place where you can benefit from these natural bonds. These can be alumni groups from schools you attended, camps where you spent your childhood or employers where you once worked (even better if some dramatic event caused the employer to go out of business or merge with another company).

So find your affinity group and get active. Your involvement will make it much easier to stay connected over time and ultimately, your referrals will grow.

Tip courtesy of Stephen Seckler, president, Seckler Legal Consulting and Coaching.

Published August 2, 2012


To learn more about the Law Practice Management Section, which is complimentary for all MBA members, contact LPM Section Chair Thomas J. Barbar or Vice Chair Stephen Seckler.
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