A story on Forbes.com earlier this week caught my eye because of two words: LinkedIn and Lawyer. It’s a piece about a northern California attorney who actually got some solid business from LinkedIn and you can read it in its entirety here.
The story will resonate for so many attorneys who struggle with the Catch-22 of being too busy with work to prospect for new business, but when the caseload gets light, they have to scramble for new business to fill the void, only to find their best referral sources have withered on the vine.
The California attorney is a friend of the Forbes article author, Kern Lewis, who writes about marketing for entrepreneurs. Lewis urged his lawyer buddy to consider using social media as a way to keep his referral sources warm.
The attorney, a commercial litigator, had time to devote to one network and wisely choose LinkedIn. He spent about an hour cleaning up his profile on the site and then spent another three hours searching the site for people he knew professionally and requesting a connection.
He then spent about 30 minutes a week on building his contact network and sharing his own content and commentary in the professional groups he joined.
Within two weeks, he had referrals worth $12,000 in billable hours, an 8-10x ROI on the time he dedicated to networking on LinkedIn. Most of his connection invitations were happily received and responded to, and several had business they could place with him right away.
This attorney has found the real gold in using LinkedIn effectively as a launch pad for enhanced networking. Some of his old connections are now current lunch partners – a highly successful strategy.
He finds LinkedIn an easy way to stay on top of what is happening with out-of-state clients and referral sources, and does most of his activity on the site during commercial breaks in whatever game he is watching each evening or on the weekends.
The Internet has changed the way we do everything, including networking. While participating in events that will have a good number of prospects and/or referral sources in attendance is still important, it is becoming equally important to move your networking online to touch those whose hands you can’t physically shake due to distance or schedules.