4 very productive outcomes lawyers and accountants can take from a coffee that aren’t a new instruction

02 Jul 2017

I had a very interesting conversation with a head of learning and development last week.  I didn’t get any work.  I was told they had a plan in place and the suppliers to deliver that plan. Better still I didn’t get asked to write a proposal for work I’m never going to get just to get me out the door!


What I did get was a very lively discussion with a specialist in her area that made me think about certain aspects of our approach to delivering business development training for lawyers, accountants, barristers and patent attorneys.  


I can already hear some of you saying “what a waste of time, surely you could have been doing something more productive?” … possibly, I’ve enough on at the moment sure enough!  But, aside from the fact I am not proficient enough with a crystal ball to have known that would be the outcome beforehand, it was plain to see the benefit s of our conversation could well be seriously wide-ranging.


So if new instructions are a nice not have not a must have, what outcomes should you be looking for when you’re having a coffee/beer/glass of wine/green tea/chai latte with a contact or client:


1 Insight


If you are having coffee with the right people they will have invaluable insight into your local area and/or your sector from their perspective rather than from your professional perspective. 


This is all insight you can use to establish your own credibility in future conversations or use to feedback to your departmental or BD meetings to inform future marketing decisions.  


2 Gossip


I’m not talking Love Island here or who’s cheating on who in All Bar One; I’m talking about finding out what’s planned to go on in your area or your sector.  Who’s buying who?  Who’s moving where?  Who’s expanding into what? 


This type of professional gossip allows you to either get to front of the queue for a new opportunity or gives you a whisper you can pass on to a client or contact so they get to the front of the queue.


3 Best practice


Everyone you speak to has exposure to a wider professional and personal network.  If you could pick up one thing another professional does or event another supplier does that you client or contact really values, surely you could incorporate than into your service delivery?


And if they like that then surely others will too which means that one simple idea could well make you a more attractive option to even more potential clients and referrers.


4 Introductions


Other than an instruction this is probably the most productive outcome from a coffee - you might come away with a brand new introduction. 


Informal conversations are often the time people drop a name so if you keep your wits about you it’s often easy to ask “they sound really interesting, would you mind putting us in touch?” while it’s in the context of the conversation.   


And the moral of the story?  Never turn down a coffee because you don’t know what – first hand or one step removed - you’re going to get from it. 


At Tenandahalf we have a really simple pre-planning model for any informal ‘coffee’ meeting – email us and we’ll be more than happy to share it.  It works!

Posted by Douglas  |   0 Comments

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