Expert Advice On Business Networking And Tips On Developing Your Networking Skills

Tom Kane interview – Principal of Kane Consulting, Inc.

Tom Kane, a former practicing attorney, is the principal of Kane Consulting, Inc., a legal marketing consulting firm.

Prior to re-establishing a consulting practice in 2003, Tom served for over 17 years as an in-house marketer for several firms and as a consultant to the legal industry. His last in-house position was as chief marketing officer for a 450-lawyer firm based in Philadelphia, where he had a staff of 12 and was responsible for the firm’s marketing efforts in its 12 offices.

It is my sincere pleasure to bring you Mr. Tom Kane…

Josh: How do you define Business Networking and why do you feel it is important?

Tom Kane: Networking can be defined simply as meeting as many people as you can who can introduce you to as many people as they can. Professional marketing is about building relationships, and relationships come about, to borrow from the real estate industry, through contact, contact, contact.

It is important to build and enhance one’s client base in order to survive in the long run. Networking is just one of the tools to accomplish that.

Josh: Can you share one or two ideas that someone could put into practice that would help them to improve their business networking skills?

Tom Kane: Yes, listen more than you talk. When meeting someone, you should listen at least 50% of the time, better still 80%. Particularly at your first meeting, make that encounter more about the other person than about yourself.

First, they are more likely to remember you, because you listened to them. Psychologists tell us that the person who talks the most is the one that is more likely to consider the meeting a success. So, if you want the person to remember you, and hopefully refer others to your business, learn as much as possible about them by asking intelligent questions that keep them talking.

Secondly, you already know everything there is to know about yourself. So, why waste time talking about you. Since you probably know nothing about the person you just met, or their universe – which may just be chock full of potential names and opportunities for your business – spend the time advancing your horizons by listening to them.

Josh: How do you follow up with the people you meet? Do you have any particular system in place for keeping up with and managing the relationships in your business network?

Tom Kane: I don’t have any set process for following up with people I meet. It all depends on the conversation that took place, and whether I think a follow-up is likely to grow my network and/or my business. Then, I follow in any number of ways depending again on circumstances.

Some of the obvious ways include: sending follow-up note after your meeting; arranging follow-up meetings, whether over breakfast, lunch or not; maintaining telephone and e-mail contact; inviting them to civic, cultural, sporting events; sending information (newspaper clipping, journal article, etc.) of likely interest to that person; inviting to firm events (parties, seminars, etc.), and the list goes on. As a reminder, the main factor is contact, contact… you get the point.

-You can visit Tom Kane at LegalMarketingBlog.com.

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