Why punk rock and the dog track will generate more work than sticking to the same old stuff

25 Oct 2018

There still seems to be a little bit of confusion around when some of the lawyers, accountants and patent and trade mark attorneys we work with are planning small informal catch up events with some of their professional contacts and referrers.  Thankfully that confusion is no longer around why (or even ‘if’) they have to do it; mercifully that’s now a given!   The confusion is over what they should be doing and how these much more social events differ from the set-up and format of their firm’s marquee events.

For the marquee events everything - the venue, food and drink, invites, table dressings, staff attire – has to be bang on brand.  These events have to be aspirational and show your firm in the best possible light, they need to impress.

But if you’re planning smaller, more select gatherings for certain groups of your contacts you can afford to inject a little more personality and pander to the likes and interests of your invitees to make your event is more enjoyable and more memorable. 

Try to stay away from “what we’ve always done” or, worse still, “whatever everyone else does”.  Have a really hard think about what you know about the people you want to invite and try to pick something that will really bring them together and help the conversations really blossom into something of value for everyone there.

So what do I mean?  Well I am always reluctance/embarrassed/reticent about using our business as an example in case it smacks of self-aggrandisement but recently we organised a punk walking tour of Soho for the clients and contacts we know love their music.  At first glance this is probably something you wouldn’t really associate with business development in a professional services context but because we know our clients well, everyone who came (all of whom were managing partners, senior equity partners, marketing directors and practice directors) loved it.  And they stayed in the pub chatting and getting to know each other long into the night which is what networking is really all about.

Similarly, one of our Lancastrian clients ran a Winter Olympics in a dry ski resort in Manchester … on the hottest day of July!  Again, falling off toboggans and grappling with drag lifts isn’t a traditional legal event but everyone had a brilliant time during and after laughing hard at the invitees’ efforts on the slopes.

And it doesn’t just have to be group or team events.  Another of our clients (a solicitor in an insurance law practice) ran a regular Friday darts match in a pub just off Liverpool Street for his insurance clients.  Was this congruent with his firm’s image?  Absolutely not but the contacts involved – insurance brokers – loved it and started to bring their contacts which helped the solicitor in question strengthen his ties within his target market.

I could reel off another hundred examples of solicitors, accountants and patent and trade mark attorneys who have been brave enough to focus their events on their clients rather than their brand guidelines but hopefully you get the point!  The idea of a dog track or a pool hall might make you feel queasy but if that’s what your clients enjoy, it’ll generate better results, better conversations and stronger working relationships than prosecco-and-cricket-by-numbers ever will.

If you’d like to talk through a few more of the examples of the types of relationship events we know work well, drop me a line and I’ll be happy to share some of those other examples.

Posted by Douglas  |   0 Comments

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