I have noticed an interesting divide in the sentiments around “returning to normal” as they relate to the business world. Whether the comments are about getting back into the office, traveling for business again or actively thinking about reengaging in business development, many of our coaching calls and client interviews begin with the individual’s thoughts around how the idea of reengagement is impacting them.
The traditional extrovert personalities often seem ready to be back, excited about interacting face to face with other people and eager for the hustle and bustle. Conversely, many introverts seem to feel dread about those same things. But interestingly, both groups seem to lack a strategy or method for how they plan to reengage with their networks in a meaningful way.
We wrote plenty of posts during the pandemic about the value of staying connected with your clients and prospects. We talked about good business development habits and small things you could do to stay connected. The purpose of this post is not to make you feel bad about what you didn’t do over the last 12-15 months. It is to inspire you to start today. Whether you’re enthusiastic or not, there is value in having a plan to reengage with your clients and prospects.
I read an article a few weeks ago that spurred my idea for this post titled “How to Become Insanely Well-Connected.” The author referenced seven rules for making memorable connections and offered excellent suggestions for meaningful interactions. In my experience, extroverts often have too many contacts and don’t know where to begin. Introverts may have fewer contacts but have such discomfort in reaching out they find themselves overthinking it. Wherever you find yourself, have a plan for business development. Consider these simple steps to reengage with a purposeful plan:
- Evaluate your network, clients and prospects (LinkedIn, Outlook, the firm’s billing software, etc.) and focus on 10-12 contacts to develop or reengage with over the next six months.
- Dedicate time on your calendar every week for business development and place the contact information of the 10-12 people in the notes section of the reoccurring calendar invite for ease of outreach.
- Start with outreach to one to three people a week on a rolling basis.
- Remember it takes seven to nine meaningful touchpoints for people to trust you and be interested in doing business. Lawyers often feel like they are “stalking” at three. Stick with it and think about bringing value to the conversation, not about selling you or your law firm.
- Focus on the give rather than the get. As the author suggests, create mini dossiers for contacts to understanding what matters most to them and their businesses. Make every interaction something of value to them.
- Invest in the relationships you enjoy. Life is short and liking who you work with will make focusing your outreach easier.