Want to get your daily dose of caffeine while boosting your business at the same time? Sign up for the Five Coffee Challenge.
The 30-day program – developed by the general counsel for a Manhattan technology firm – shows how to attract new clients by setting up coffee meetings.
“In the tech industry, grabbing a coffee or having a casual conversation is a natural way to learn from each other, but it is foreign in law firms,” says Josh Beser in this article. “I think more lawyers could benefit from slowing down and taking time to build relationships.”
Clients and Coffee
As someone who loves coffee so much I opened my own coffeeshop, I was naturally interested in the Five Coffee Challenge.
It turns out Beser’s approach emphasizes the basic building blocks of networking, conversation and creating relationships.
These are skills that are not always taught in busy law firms. And new lawyers are often so focused on their careers they lack time to hone their rainmaking chops.
“When young lawyers first come into a law firm, the partners want them to work and make their hours and receivables,” says Damian Thomas, co-chair of the ABA Section of Litigation’s Young Lawyer Leadership Program. “Then when you become more expensive, they suddenly expect you to start bringing in business, but they don’t tell you how.”
Learn more about the Five Coffee Challenge here.
Make Time for Java
The premise of the challenge is that while lawyers may understand the importance of networking, many don’t create the space to do it. The program teaches them how and where to start, and it provides a structure – including checklists, guided lessons and templates – to keep it going.
Here are the three basic components:
- Set up five meetings over coffee with peers, colleagues or potential clients.
- Hold the meetings over a 30-day period.
- Develop a regular habit of doing this to make your career soar.
“Anyone can meet over coffee,” Beser says. “The question is if you can build meetings into lifelong relationships.”
One rule for any coffee confab: don’t turn it into an overt marketing event. Build the relationship gradually and organically. Talk about common interests. Share information or resources. Discuss job openings or employment opportunities. Follow up with a thank-you note or email.
Right now, the Five Coffee Challenge is still in its testing phase. Law Leaders Labs is working on establishing price points. But one third-year associate who took the program a year ago says he’s still using the principles he learned – and more importantly, he’s forged valuable new relationships as a result.
“For me, the big thing has been learning about other people’s business,” he says. “Even if they already have an attorney, you can find out what is valuable to people and learn what needs they might have. It’s a great intelligence-gathering program.”
Another proponent of coffee meetups - Miami criminal defense lawyer Mark Eiglarsh – made connections that led to regular gigs as a law consultant on national TV.
What techniques do you use to make networking fun and relaxing? What works and doesn’t work? Send us a comment.
- Vinyl Perk http://www.vinylperk.com/
- ABA Journal http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/5_coffee_challenge_can_help_build_a_client_base/
- Law Leaders Lab http://www.lawleaderslab.com/law-leaders-lab-introduces-the-5-coffee-challenge/