For law firms and accountants the annual drinks event is so 2019 … but what’s replaced it?

This blog was inspired by a conversation with a Chief Exec of a law firm this week but the point is totally relevant to any law firm, accountancy practice, IP firm or barristers’ chambers.  The point is that a law firms and accountants’ annual drinks event is so 2019 but what can you do instead now restrictions are easing?

Lots of professional services firms have always hosted a large marquee annual event.  You know the sort of thing, Christmas parties, summer receptions or Spring drinks.

If you’ve been personally responsible for such a soiree the following will resonate with you:

– They cost a small fortune

– They require a lot of time to project management

– You must do the impossible and find a format that works for all your clients, referrers and contacts

– Bigger events are more formal events this doesn’t suit everyone (especially those who find small talk with strangers challenging)

– Attendees only talk to a fraction of people at the event

– As host you never have time to speak to everyone you want to because you’re spreading yourself too thinly

– Follow up is weak or non-existent

– A lot of organisation is required on the day to ensure everyone is looked after and made welcome

– Even successful events are quickly forgotten about and the longer-term benefits are limited

What are a law firm and accountants alternative to the annual drinks event?

Before trying to find a solution, you first need to answer 9 key questions:

1. What are your objectives?

2. How will you measure success?

3. Who do you want to invite?

4. What type of event will be most appealing for the majority of your target audience?

5. What atmosphere are you trying to create and what do you want to get across?

6. What resources do you have to organise and host?

7. How will you follow up the event to translate a good night into new business?

8. Who is going to be responsible for the project management?

9. How will this event fit in with your overall BD strategy?

The answers to these questions will inform what the alternatives are.  Are you going formal or informal?  Will you host on site or at another venue?  Will the focus be on existing or lapsed clients?  Are you going to ask intermediaries to invite new targets?

Tenandahalf’s ethos is a ‘little and often’ approach always works best.  This can definitely be applied to events. Rather than your law firms or accountants running one annual drinks event, smaller, more informal and more regular events present you with the following advantages:

– You can stay visible all year around by having more frequent contact with clients and contacts

– More regular events encourage more internal conversations which will increase cross-selling opportunities

– Less extravagant events are more in tune with the current social economic and political mood

– People typically are more comfortable at smaller events as they are less intimidating

– Smaller events make it easier for everyone (including you) to mix with all your guests

– It’s easier to have deeper conversations as there is less pressure on ‘working the room’

– They require less project management

– Follow up is more straightforward as there is less to do

If you’d like to have a more in-depth discussion on how you can refresh your events strategy (and replace the annual drinks event) to make it a more productive part of your overall business development plan, please get in touch today and we can find a convenient time to talk.

Published by sizetenandahalfboots

Douglas is a director of Size 10½ Boots, a specialist business development agency that works solely with the professional services, helping firms grow by winning more new clients and more work from the clients they already have. Although every project is different our work generally falls into one of three camps - strategic marketing support, BD training and 1on1 coaching and independent client research.

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