One of the areas many lawyers struggle with is meeting people and networking. Actually, this is not 100% accurate. The area most lawyers struggle with is meeting INFLUENTIAL people and networking with them.
Below is a rough guide to finding, approaching and networking with influential people in your community.
First: Identifying the influential people.
This is relatively easy to do and there are a couple of sure-fire ways to do it. 1). Ask around. Many of your colleagues will tell you who the “go to” people are in any community. Simply ask a question like: “Who should I know in Cedar Creek for Real Estate matters.” 2). Check the local newspaper. Most newspapers highlight influential local people on a regular basis. 3). Check the public listings of people who have given to political campaigns or charitable organizations.
Next: Reach out to the influential person.
One of the best ways to reach out to the influential person is with a handwritten note congratulating them on some accomplishment. You can congratulate them for donating to a local charity, for being profiled in the local paper or for a business accomplishment. The key is to send them a note congratulating them on something.
Many times the person you send your congratulations note to will respond by sending you a “thank you” email or a note in return. When he/she does, that is your cue to move on to the final step. (Actually you should move on to the third step no matter what but especially after they thank you).
Finally: Call this person and ask for advice.
Asking for advice is the most important part of this equation. We know they will take your call (because you have already complemented them). Once you ask them for advice you can (and should) invite them out to lunch. You can do this while you are on the phone (if you have built up enough rapport) or in a subsequent email or phone call.
This seems a little over simplified but you will be amazed at how effective it can be. Give it a try today and you will be pleased with the results.