If you build it they will come: The BD lesson lawyers & accountants can learn from Wayne’s World

21 Feb 2016

One of the recurrent themes in the marketing and business development programmes we’re delivering for law firms, Chambers, patent and trade mark attorneys and accountants is the fact many professionals don’t like the majority of the networking events out there.  Our answer is simple; if the thing you want doesn’t exist, create it … if you build it, they will come.

This week I had hardly even finished discussing potential self-run events with the employment team at a law firm on the M5 corridor (who, to be honest, had already set up their own Friday afternoon young professionals do which was great to hear) when I got a text message that gave me the perfect example for anyone who still thinks creating and launching their own event isn’t possible.

My father in law (who isn’t a professional, never has been and doesn’t even work anymore to be fair) is a blues fanatic.  He is also a pretty damned fine guitarist.  The only thing is there’s nowhere he can go locally to discuss, share and play his favourite music so he decided he wanted to sort something out for himself.  The only trouble was, as he’s new to the area, he didn’t actually know anyone else who shared his passion so, if the dream was going to become a reality, he was going to have to be a little creative.

He found a venue and set a date then he designed A4 posters outlining what the night would entail and offered a ‘for more information’ email address and got them hung in various halls and general stores in the surrounding villages.  Not being on Facebook or Twitter this really was the only avenue open to him.

He then settled back and got progressively more nervous as the date got nearer! 

Having only received emails from three people prior to the launch night he left home with some trepidation, totally unsure of what to expect.  Would it be empty?  Would he be sat on his own in the dark?  Would he and the landlord have to sit down and wade through the extra snacks the landlord had put on?

He needn’t have worried.  62 people turned up and 24 performed as part of 19 different acts.  The feedback was unanimously positive, everyone wanted a second night and that was immediately set for the 17th march to maintain momentum

So what networking lessons can lawyers and accountants learn from this?

1.       Choose something you like; it you’re interested in the theme and will enjoy participating, the likelihood is you’ll actually do something

2.       Take action: choose a date, a venue and list of potential participants (from inside the firm and from your personal network)

3.       Promote is where it’s likely to be seen by the people you want to come

4.       Add a call to action to all of those promotional pieces; make contact and additional information easy to come by   

5.       Personal interest + word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool; OK, so only three people emailed but many more must have seen it and told those they know would like it that the night was on hence the large turn-out

6.       Social media isn’t the be all and end all; while it will play a useful supporting role in this case success was down to choosing something focused, employing a bit of canny postering and the resultant word of mouth, you can’t just post it on social media and expect it to take off

7.       Good events don’t require massive budgets; all of this cost nothing bar a bit of time to sort out the posters and hang them yet now there is a likeminded group of more than 60 people in touch with each other

We’ve written in the past about the sorts of alternative events you could be running, if you’d like to see that article drop me a line at douglas@tenandahalf.co.uk

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