Doctors and lawyers know that small talk at a networking event or social occasion will invariably bring with it at least one “I know you’re not working but I have a question” conversation. Often a doctor can beg off, saying the question is not her specialty, but an estate planning attorney is open season. Who doesn’t have a family member who refuses to have a will, or a grandparent who left everything to a distant relative after decades of squabbling?
Instead of thinking of these questions as annoying, consider them opportunities for developing new clients. For estate planning and Elder Law practitioners, any group of people contains at least one and often more potential clients.
Yes, we’re in a digital age, and much of your marketing takes place on digital platforms, but you still need to make a conscious effort to get in front of potential and current clients. How can you make this happen, and make the most of it?
Networking never sleeps. Bringing new clients into the practice or developing referral sources is a mind-set, not a job that you do nine-to-five and then turn off. Picking up supplies at the big box store for a family barbecue? If you’re on a long line, or hurtling down the aisles, you’re in a crowd of prospects. It’s your community—embrace each outing as a potential source of new business.
You’re always on stage. As a community leader, source of authority and professional, you really do have to consider how you present yourself every time you leave the house. You don’t need to wear a suit every time you step out the door, save the grubby gear for gardening or working on your vintage sports car at home.
Move a conversation to an appointment. The doctor can’t make a diagnosis at a cocktail party and you can’t provide legal advice at a fishing tournament. But you can give your card and tell them to call your office if they want to explore some solutions to their problem. Don’t end the conversation when you provide the business card and an invitation to call. Instead, pivot to something that you can bond over—kids, hobbies, shared interests.
Make the connection even better. Give the person’s name to your receptionist so that if they do call, they are treated like a new friend and not a stranger. “Oh, Sue said you might be calling,” is a far more welcoming messaging than “How can we help you?” Let this person know that they are special and that you remembered the conversation. It’s a great way to start a client relationship—even when you have known the person casually for some time, the sense that they are getting special treatment will be remembered.