I often hear from lawyers, accountants, bankers and other professionals that they are "Too Busy To Network". They rationalize that serving today's clients should take 100% of their attention, and that they are only judged in their firms by today's numbers.
However, most of these professionals also agree that the biggest clients they served in 2009 are not the same biggest clients from 2005. Life happens: companies get bought and sold, businesses fail, turn-over causes new execs to bring in their own vendors, etc.... Also, even if they keep the clients, their needs can fluctuate from year to year.
Because of this, you need to think about tomorrow or you could find yourself without enough business in the future to keep your doors open. Networking is not about "schmoozing" or attending meetings while passing out business cards. Networking is about cultivating long-term and mutually beneficial relationships throughout your business community and the industries you service. It is about building a personal and professional brand that helps you make the short lists when prospects are seeking your products and services.
Out of sight is out of mind. If you think that you are admired for the hard work you are doing behind closed doors you have an inflated opinion of yourself. Nobody is paying any attention. If you are not "out there" in your business community, then you are invisible. There is too much competition and an overload of "noise" out on the street for you to be on the radar if you are not actively cultivating relationships.
Every year I coach a few professionals on how to raise their visibility inside and outside their firms to help grow their brand. It is an eight week program that involves five meetings (one every two weeks) in person or by phone. There is homework between the meetings (for the client and for me!), but mainly the goal of the program is to help the professionals better understand the importance of their networking, community involvement, branding, and creating of a mutually beneficial referral network.
I am currently looking for only two lawyers or other professionals to work with between now and the end of April (after mid-April my speaking calendar heats up and I will be traveling too much to do any coaching until the summertime). If this interests you, please contact me by email or phone.
Have A Great Day.