Usually, those article you read on networking are a lame restatement of the obvious: attend bar functions, pass your card out to everyone you meet or set up lunch dates. What’s even worse with some of these suggestions is that they put lawyers at the mercy of others, who may reject your card or your invitation to lunch or rebuff you at the bar event. Thus, networking can become as demoralizing as a series of unsuccessful singles parties – and after enough rejection, you may want to quit (I know that I’ve felt that way, after both the bar events and singles parties, though the latter did eventually lead to my husband) So that’s why I really enjoyed my colleague David Abseshouse’s recent article, The Power of Networking (November 7, 2005 – NYLJ). Because David’s advice to lawyers to become “resource hubs” is empowering; it puts marketing lawyers in the drivers’ seat when it comes to the marketing dynamic.
Here, David explains the concept of “resource hub:”
Solos and small firm lawyers are becoming increasingly savvy about
legal and business networking. A decade ago, essentially no lawyers
undertook organized, purposeful networking efforts, whereas this now is
an accepted and encouraged component of practitioners’ daily lives.
Solos and small firm lawyers are primed and ready to take it to the
next level of value: becoming “resource hubs” for their clients and
those prospects they wish to attract as clients.
Although “hub” might not be the most elegant moniker a lawyer can
possess, it certainly denotes the utmost in practical utility and
places the solo and small firm lawyer in effective company (think: USB
hubs that connect computer peripherals; bicycle wheel hubs that connect
the spokes and sustain the physical integrity of the entire wheel; the
center of activity or focal point). So put another way, we are talking
about connectors, in much the sense that Malcolm Gladwell uses the term
in his wildly successful book “The Tipping Point” (Little, Brown and
Company, 2000): People who join individuals or groups together, acting
like interpersonal glue, to get them to communicate, interact and
ultimately do business together.
Being a resource hub makes lawyers more valuable to their prospective
and existing clients and to their network of contacts and resources.
Thus, it is a tool for marketing and rainmaking as well as for client
retention and acquisition. Essentially, it serves as the proverbial
“win-win-win” situation, benefitting the lawyer/hub, her
clients/prospects and her contacts/resources.
David gives many, many details on how to become a hub, such as joinging or starting your own networking group, getting active in bar activities or being a “connector” who makes introductions between others who might benefit from meeting each other. By taking on these roles, you put yourself in charge which is empowering – and you allow prospective clients to see you in a leadership role, which is another plus. But most important of all, becoming a resource hub makes marketing a much more palatable and even exciting process, something that you no longer dread. And for that, David’s article is worth keeping and re-reading, for a long time.