I have been in business since 2017, and unlike most people starting out, I had absolutely zero resources. There was no budget for marketing or anything else to be honest. I spent my days and nights Ubering to have enough money to fund myself and my business and to put myself in front of people for the purpose of handing out business cards to anyone who would listen. Google Adwords, billboards, digital marketing, mailers, or any thing else that cost money was out of the realm of possibilities. There was also no plan B. Most people in my industry are retired LEO and have a pension to fall back on. For me it was sink or swim.
As it turns out, this was the best thing that ever could have happened to me and what I now refer to as "the power of being broke" which I took from the people's shark Daymond John (purchase here). I had to be creative, and the solution to all my problems, I found, was relationship building aka networking, which was free minus some small expenses such as business cards and gas. I would Uber my way around and whenever I got close to a law firm, I would stop in and introduce myself. I would invite paralegals to lunch or happy hour (happy hour prices were a life saver), and I would build a relationship with them. To me this was not an unnatural thing as I am a natural extrovert and I am genuinely interested in other people's lives (My temperaments are split 50/50 between sanguine and choleric...if you don't know what that means click here and find out your temperament which can help tremendously in business in regards to identifying your strengths and weaknesses and hiring a team accordingly). The point is, I wasn't there for the quick sale, I was there to build long lasting bonds.
I am writing this because people see how much I network, and wonder if it is worth their time to do the same. The short answer is yes, the long answer is let's take a snap shot of my last 5 surveillance cases for a better idea.
3 cases were referrals from paralegals that I have built relationships with by meeting them in person.
1 case came from an internet search.
1 case came from another business owner, unrelated to the legal industry, who I built a relationship with.
To put things in perspective, I do not use google Adwords but I do organically show up on the first page of google for my area, according to a recent website audit.
But wait there's more. I also track my leads/conversions and have found that the referrals from humans, produce a better quality of client meaning they are more likely to sign a contract and pay a retainer then someone who has simply found me on google.
So you tell me? Is networking worth it? I am a firm believer that in a world of AI and tech, the human relationship wins every time.
Immaculate Investigations, LLC
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina