What are the reasons why attorneys fail to follow up with prospects after a marketing event? I see there being several:
- Fear of rejection
- Feeling uncomfortable
- No immediate result, so it’s easy to put off
However, bottom line – and the biggest reason – is that attorneys get back to the office, pick up work and put follow-up activities on the backburner, never to be reignited again.
Conduct Onsite Networking at a Speaking Event
We’re all guilty of failing to follow through with business development strategies after an event. It’s a hard habit to break. One way to combat this issue is to complete your follow-up activities immediately after the event. The best way to do that, you ask? Don’t go back to the office!
The following tips will help you get the most out of staying at an event.
- When blocking off the event on your calendar, make it a habit to block off an additional hour.
- When you leave the office to attend your event, take your laptop and phone with you. Helpful hint: Carry “thank you” cards in your briefcase.
- Before your event, identify three goals that are “complete-able on the spot” with immediate, measurable results. For example, set a goal to visit with a contact/client you know will be there and ask two questions: “How are you” and ”How is business?”
- Commit to offering a freebie to at least one person who walks up to you after your presentation (e.g., a policy, an issue that you’re going to look into for them, etc.).
- Thank the organizer for having you speak, and let them know you would love to do it again.
Send Out Follow-Up Emails
Once you have done your onsite networking, there is more to be done. Consider going to a coffee shop instead of retreating to your office and doing the following.
- Send an email to an event contact, and make it a goal/challenge to get this email to them before they get back to their office. Keep it simple and to the point, such as, “Thanks for attending, great seeing you, let’s continue our conversation over lunch,” etc. Offer a date, time and place in your email. Don’t open a window for “back and forth.” Be assertive, and they will appreciate your being direct.
- Email the freebie as promised. For example, you might say, “After we spoke, I researched [the topic in question] that relates to our conversation. I have attached a couple of the firm’s electronic updates on this issue. Are you signed up to receive them?”
- Write a simple email to the event organizers: “Great participating in your event, really enjoyed it. Thought about a couple of additional topics that I enjoy speaking on and would love to discuss with you for future events.”
As you can see, you can build a pretty good foundation for a relationship via email so that, when you do see this person face to face, it’s a more-comfortable interaction. If you really want to make a lasting impression, do all of the above with handwritten thank you cards. It’s a lost art – and it will make that person not only remember you, but think of you first when making their next hiring decision.
All It Takes Is an Hour
Law firms and lawyers do a phenomenal job of creating exceptional programs with the intent of business development. They spend valuable time and resources on setting up the event/program, creating the materials and delivering an outstanding event. Where they fall short is the business development follow-up. Think of it this way: Wouldn’t you like to get paid back for your prep time, writing and presentation time? The only way to do that is to put a follow-up plan in place. My guess is that even completing the “one-hour follow-up” exercise above will be a benefit to many.