Networking is an old-school, but still effective, way to build your business and your law practice. There are a number of ways to network, but ultimately, it’s a contact sport … meaning, just try to get out there and contact as many potential personal injury leads, clients, associates, partners and others as possible to help grow your professional network.
Tips for Expanding Your Network
There are a number of ways you can do this. The obvious one being going to local business networking events. Most cities have them, some of which are industry specific, but most cater to local businesses of all sorts. A lot of times you’ll find other attorneys in other practice areas where you can refer clients back and forth with, as well as ancillary businesses that you can meet and ultimately work with. Chiropractors, physical therapists, owners of auto-body shops, and other businesses help people who have been injured in car accidents need to get clients too, so there are often lots of them at local networking events.
There are also a lot of attorney related conferences that you can find and attend. Some of these are put on through the local bar associations and are open to attorneys of all sorts, others are more practice area or location specific… as a general rule it’s good to just go to as many of these as possible. A lot of times you can meet another attorney who might specialize in something like brain injuries, or aviation, or something where they’re not going to take your standard slip and fall or car accident case, and if they like you and you can convince them that you’re a good attorney to refer business to, a lot of times somebody might contact them and it’s not a case that they’re interested in or equipped to handle, and they can send them over your way.
Social Media Networking
Social media is another great networking tool, especially for busy people who don’t have the time to physically attend conferences and networking events. It’s much more convenient, can be scaled up or down, and these days can be a lot more effective. LinkedIn is an especially useful tool for this, because you’re able to find and connect with people and groups based on what industry, job title, and city they’re in. Similarly to networking, what you’re looking for is people who are in contact with your potential client base. That can generally be broken into a few categories:
Other Attorneys: In many cases, people who’ve been injured in car accidents or elsewhere are going to reach out to other attorneys that they know, their business lawyer, their estate planning attorney, their family law attorney, and ask for a referral to a lawyer who can handle their auto accident case. So, trying to connect with these people who are local lawyers but don’t necessarily do personal injury and car accident cases is always a good thing.
Medical Professionals: Medical professionals, particularly chiropractors and physical therapists, do a lot of work with people who are rehabbing injuries. So, many times people are going to get an injury and they’re going to go straight to their chiropractor because they got whiplash and their neck is hurt. So, getting a good referral relationship with chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists is a great way to mutually build your businesses. You refer them people, if somebody calls the lawyer first, and they do need to speak to a chiropractor or a physical therapist or something like that, you can send them over there. Likewise, if they reach out to the chiropractor first, the chiropractor can send them to you.
Auto Body Shops: Obviously if you get in a car accident, you’ve got to be able to drive your car around. You don’t want your car to look like a piece of crap, or at the very least you want it to run. So, a lot of times after an auto accident, the first place you need to go to an auto body shop or a mechanic. Reaching out to them, letting them know who you are, what you’re available to do and how you can help, is a really good way to network, to build up your referral base there.
To build your network online, you can just do a quick search on LinkedIn and just type “Show me chiropractors in my city.” “Show me auto-body shop owners in my city.” And then you reach out to these people. You can reach out to them via LinkedIn, you can find them on other social media channels, Twitter, Facebook, etc, or you can go old school and pick up the phone or shoot him an email and just say, “Hey, here’s who I am. I would love to be able to refer clients back and forth to you. Let me know if you’d be interested in discussing.” Most of them probably won’t pan out to be much, but the good referral relationships can often pay for all of the time that you’ve put in reaching out to people who didn’t pan out.
So, that’s really it. It’s really just a matter of being proactive, getting out there, having sometimes uncomfortable conversations, and just finding people and connecting with people who come into contact with the type of people who need the services of a personal injury attorney. Finding them, connecting with them, convincing them who you are is a good person to refer business to, and over time, you will build up a very good network and start building up a good referral base for your personal injury practice.