A Better Way to Generate New Client Leads: The Zoom Roundtable

In the early months of the pandemic, many lawyers were especially attentive to their key clients and referral sources, recognizing the importance of checking in. Firms reassured their clients that business would continue on without interruption, emails were exchanged to offer support to anyone who might need it, and Zoom calls were scheduled to connect in virtual happy hours.

There’s a natural tendency to lose this momentum over time, so the challenge becomes finding sustainable practices for maintaining those professional relationships as the risks of in-person meetings remain high.

When the demands of personal life have risen for many, especially those with school-aged children, and Zoom fatigue is setting in, it is increasingly important to find a way to continue connecting with potential clients and referral sources.

Fortunately, there is an effective alternative. Rather than dedicate an enormous amount of time to one-on-one calls, you can strategically select anywhere from three to eight people to catch up with at once. In addition to majorly cutting down on the burden these networking activities have on your schedule, this will allow you to offer great business development opportunities to your contacts.

Seven Tips for Running a Successful Zoom Roundtable

  1. Your selection of invitees is the most important aspect of this process, so make sure you are giving plenty of thought to its business purpose for your work and how you can create value for the others involved.
  2. Choose each group of people (start with three or four people) so that it makes sense for them to meet one another. For instance, you could organize a meeting around a particular clientele served by each attendee in a different way.
  3. Consider having a co-host to share your networking duties.
  4. As the host, you should send out information a day or two ahead that gives some background on who is going to be there.
  5. Have attendees bring their calendars so you can schedule the next roundtable at the end of the call.
  6. Imagine that lots of other people will be hosting similar remote get-togethers, so limit the call to an hour or so.
  7. Ask your first group whom they know that would fit well and consider making it a recurring event with rotating combinations of people. You could have, say, twenty members with eight people meeting at a given time.

As we continue settling into this prolonged period of remote social life, these small groups represent one of the most efficient and effective paths under the present circumstances to generate leads and attract new clients.

Don’t Neglect Your VIP List

In the hustle of your daily work, it’s far too easy to let important networking activities fall by the wayside. It’s even easier to ignore key networking responsibilities when you are isolated at home and justifiably preoccupied with health concerns, family care, and the general state of affairs. But now more than ever, it is crucial to strengthen your relationships with your VIPs.

You only have so much bandwidth to keep up your professional connections, so we recommend aiming for a list of twenty-five to thirty-five names. You may have some idea in your head of where your work comes from, but this list should be based on the data. Look into any new business brought in over the past few years and identify from the numbers who your best referral sources really are.

This doesn’t mean you should give up on those other individuals who may have come to mind, but your VIP list should be pruned every few months to ensure you’re spending your time wisely. A connection that hasn’t been as fruitful lately could still be a great resource if that person has proven willing to help in the past. Your selections will be a combination of your current top referrals and those you can see supporting the future growth of your book of business.

If you’re reading this and thinking you’ll never find the time, recognize that this work is some of the most easily delegated. Someone on your staff can do the legwork of investigating past referrals and tallying these sources. An assistant could also handle the next step of scheduling calls and meetings to follow up with these VIPs. Once you have a system in place for choosing and connecting with your contacts, keeping your networking efforts focused and efficient will become just another part of your routine.

The goal of networking is to acquire new business, so go forward with that aim in mind. Don’t overwhelm yourself considering hundreds of connections when the evidence will point you toward a much smaller core of referral sources. These relationships are invaluable assets to your practice. These are your VIPs, and they should be treated as such.