I recently helped a former colleague explore new job opportunities, and I was reminded of how often we rely on making connections. We network both professionally and personally constantly: seeking a new client, finding a recommended doctor, getting tickets to a sought-after event or finding the right office space. The list could go on and on. For law firms, helping to foster those connections is yet another way to strengthen client relationships and become an irreplaceable and trusted advisor.
As you look ahead to next year, spend time thinking about how your clients could benefit from connections you offer. To give a few examples:
- For those clients seeking acquisitions, keep an eye out for potential targets. Take the time to talk with attorneys in other practice groups that might engage with possible targets.
- Offer business referrals to clients whenever possible and appropriate. Bankers (and many others) often speak of how this makes firms stand out.
- Look at any client going through a challenging time and think about whether any of the firm’s other clients have experienced similar challenges and could serve as a resource. The challenge might be industry specific or might be related to something more general like succession, but chances are good there’s someone who can provide a little advice or perspective.
- When client contacts move, offer to connect them with others you know living in the same city.
- Connect your clients with current or previous regulatory contacts that can shed insight into the regulatory landscape for their particular industries.
- When a client contact leaves his/her business, offer to help that person job search and network with others in the industry.
You can’t make connections like this unless you understand the business and know the people, but the time and effort spent getting to that point are always worthwhile. Be aware of the appropriate times to make connections, and you’ll be surprised at how often you can help. As we constantly say, client service is one size fits one. Each client will have different needs, but you’ll have a helpful connection for most of them.