An essential activity in Business Development plans is participating in events.
Events can offer valuable opportunities to meet new people, catch up with old friends and strengthen your relationships outside the context of a legal matter.
Whether the event is in-person, or it is held virtually, it is important to prepare for these situations to get the most out the time and resources you dedicate to this event.
NEXL offers plenty of ways you can prepare. Remember: success happens when preparation meets opportunity!
There are lots of networking events out there. Be selective and target events where there are existing contacts and relationships. You can check in NEXL CRM whether certain contacts or companies are already on the radar.
You can create a specific tag for the event so you can easily create a list of a group of contacts you have met at this specific event. It's a great way to better keep track of where you've met with your contacts.
Communicate internally you will be attending or speaking at an event. It is important to let your colleagues know what you're up to so they can alert you to any specific information that might be good to know.
Set a goal for yourself and go into the networking event with a clear purpose. Think about what you want to achieve at this event and what types of connections you wish to make.
Try to find out in advance who else will be attending. Review the RSVP list before the event. Identify those contacts that will be most valuable. Check with your colleagues to spot interesting profiles, and -when several partners will be present- coordinate your networking efforts with others. Go through the companies and contacts you expect to meet, and try to get some insights ahead of the event around the relationships that may already exist with these people.
Try to connect with other delegates in advance so it won’t be a cold start when you enter the networking event. At the event, it will be like meeting an old friend! Remember: you can always use NEXL's Client Prospecting tool to obtain contact information on contacts of interest.
Use NEXL to gain a better understanding of the organisations of your target contacts and use that information to start and/or guide conversations; make sure you know who is already a client and who is not.
Practice your "elevator pitch” - your personal, 30-second introduction about who you are and what you do. Be ready with an interesting self-introduction, focusing on your experience and interests. You only have one shot a first impression!
Bring plenty of business cards!
Attending the networking event and establishing contacts is only half of the job. Without proper follow-up, most of your investment will be lost.
Send a quick e-mail message telling high-value contacts you enjoyed meeting them, and make reference to a topic you discussed or an interest you share. Instead of manually adding a business card, just send the follow-up email and NEXL will automatically add it to the CRM. Be careful with sending out too many standard emails. Try to add a personal touch whenever possible.
Create a note on any relevant insights you gained when talking to high-value contacts at the event so you can share this with the rest of the Firm; they can now see your note when looking at the contact in NEXL.
If they live locally and you had a mutually engaging conversation, suggest an in-person get-together for a follow-up talk. Set a task for yourself in NEXL so you don't forget to follow up with a dedicated activity.
Share new contacts or leads with other partners of the firm when relevant, you can just point them to NEXL where they will find their contact details and all the rich information NEXL can offer.
Let us know if there are any other tips and tricks you think are useful when preparing for an event, we'd love to hear from you!