I love to golf. I love to golf with friends, with clients, and with prospects. Spending time doing something you enjoy is an extremely effective way to develop business because it helps build sincere relationships.
Whether you prefer attending NBA games with clients or heading to the Four Seasons for a great meal together, face-to-face will always be the most powerful way to develop relationships and close business. The major benefit to adding social media to your business development strategy is that it will help you get on the golf course quicker. Identify your ideal prospect, qualify them through appropriate due diligence, then engage them online in the platforms they use most frequently.
The old way: make a cold call to a prospect you would like to meet.
The new way: Search for your prospect online through LinkedIn or Martindale-Hubble Connected, join a group that he is part of, look for a common connection and ask for an introduction from somebody you know that is already connected to them. Schedule a tee time, and invite your warm lead out for a game of golf.
With social media the ice is broken easily, with the cold call… not so much.
In the social media world there are a number of big names, names like Mashable, Kawasaki, and Brogan. One thing all of these social media superstars have in common is that they all attend offline conferences frequently. Why? Why would they do that when they have millions of hits to their websites and blogs every month? Its because they know that big deals are closed in person, not over Twitter. They use their online activities to facilitate more offline meetings.
We need to get away from thinking of these social networking tools as a replacement for traditional business development activities. Social media and business development are not enemies, they are friends. Social media facilitates faster and more efficient relationship building.
One great example is a recent blog post by Dharmesh Shah, writer of the bestselling book Inbound Marketing. This guy has over 20,000 subscribers to his blog and some serious credibility in the online world. He recently spoke at SXSW – the BIG show where everybody that is anybody in the social media world hangs out. His blog post was titled, 42 People I Want to Connect With at SXSW. He has had conversations with all of these people online, and now he wants to take it to the next level. The offline meeting is what solidifies the relationship.
Social media isn’t a new way of doing business, its just a new tool to help you do more business.
Smart lawyers use sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Martindale-Hubble Connected, and Legal OnRamp to start conversations. No more cold calls, no more bugging in-house counsel, and most importantly no more wasting your time fishing for new business. The tools of social media help you begin new relationships. Even the most introverted lawyers can succeed with social media because there are no more awkward pauses. Social media can help you get your foot in the door with your top prospects. After that, it is your job to get them on the golf course.