Ever had a lunch meeting with a potential business contact that didn’t go as expected? Maybe someone was late, or the chemistry was off. Regularly investing time in building relationships with key industry players, or Centers of Influence (COIs), is vital for a growing law practice. But if it’s not done effectively, it can lead to wasted resources and unfruitful connections.
Struggling with networking? The Academy has developed a system to improve your results. We’ll delve into seven preparatory steps that set the stage for not just a successful meeting, but a lasting professional relationship.
The process begins with understanding your “Why.” At the Academy, we emphasize crafting a compelling Why because it resonates with people’s emotional decision-making, making them more inclined to collaborate with you. A well-defined Why draws the right people to you.
A significant aspect of building relationships is tapping into others’ emotional decision-making. It’s not just about having a strong Why; it’s also about identifying and communicating “What’s in it for them” (W.I.I.F.T.). Consider their perspective: What benefits do they gain by collaborating with you? This could range from complementing their services to providing them new insights about their clients, or even enhancing their reputation through association with you. Understanding and addressing W.I.I.F.T. is crucial for networking success.
Here are seven steps to prepare for networking meetings effectively:
- Research: Learn about them from their website or social media, like their business history, current promotions, ideal client profile, and team size.
- Identify W.I.I.F.T.: Understand and articulate the mutual benefits of your collaboration.
- Develop your pitch: Craft a narrative that demonstrates your understanding of their needs, possibly using client stories.
- Highlight your unique qualifications: Be clear on how your expertise can address their specific challenges.
- Set an agenda: This keeps the meeting focused and clarifies the next steps.
- Prepare your materials: Have a networking folder with relevant information and examples of your work, such as a book if you’re an author.
- Confirm the meeting: Ensure the time, date, and location are reconfirmed to avoid miscommunications or delays.
Follow these steps for more productive and meaningful networking experiences.
Associate Director of Member Services
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (858) 453-2128
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