The Power Of Networking With Cindy Flynn

Stephen: Hey guys, welcome to another episode of the Digital Masters Podcast. Today, I have Cindy Flynn. She runs a professional law firm, and we’re going to be talking about the best ways to market your professional firm and to grow your business specifically with networking groups like ProVisors and how to use speaking engagements and social media to spread the word about you and your company.

All right, let’s get into it.

Hey, Cindy. Thanks for being on the show today. 

Cindy: Hi, Stephen. Thanks so much for having me. 

Stephen: Yeah, of course. And yeah, I’m in ProVisors with you. I’m always observing people and I’ve been guesting a lot at different places. And the one thing I did notice is that you were in all those sessions as well.

And so that that really stood out to me. And I noticed you have a very specific intent in terms of how you’re using ProVisors. You’re all over the place. I think you’re in three different groups. Is that right? And then outside of that, there’s something else you’re involved with too. Isn’t there? 

Cindy: Oh, yes. There’s quite a few things I’m involved with. When I started my own practice, seven years ago, I was involved in 16 different networking organizations. I was doing ProVisors, BNI, every single chamber of commerce, every single bar association. And then I realized in analyzing what I was doing, what gives you the most bang for your buck?

And so that tends to be ProVisors, Vistage, YPO, and Entrepreneurs’ Organization. And if it doesn’t fall within one of those things, then I don’t do it, unless it’s a speaking engagement. 

Stephen: Okay, cool. So, that’s great. And then you have a lot of experience in terms of these networking groups.

I’m curious what you were going through? What challenges were you facing when you realized you needed to take such specific action in terms of how you were going to promote your business, how you were going to meet new people? What were the challenges that you faced to make you come to those decisions?

Cindy: I run my own law firm and I am responsible for bringing in a hundred percent of my business. So even though I have some great attorneys who work with me, that’s just not within their job description, nor are they interested in bringing in business. 

Because it all falls on me, I knew that I had to get out there and basically start hustling. When I first started, I was involved in all those different networking organizations and then most recently in looking at it, I’m like, okay, ProAdvisors is the best for me and what I do. EO, YPO, Vistage, and just general speaking.

So yeah, the challenge though, I guess to answer your question a little bit more specifically, is being too involved in too many different things at once. It’s hard to create deep, long lasting relationships if you’re only going to one meeting a year for each organization. So I thought I would drop everything else and just focus on those top things.

Stephen: Gotcha. And then in terms of running a law practice specifically what are the challenges in terms of getting new business? My business is different from yours. Specifically for law firms, what is the challenge for you in terms of bringing into business? 

Cindy: Well, challenges.

It’s never enough business. I just hired a new attorney in November and now I have another 40 hours of work that I need to fulfill. So it’s always that. It’s never, ‘Oh, I have the perfect amount of business and the perfect amount of work for my team.’ It’s always feast or famine.

So it’s that healthy fear, always wanting to grow and have that growth mindset that you even mentioned before we got on this call, how can I grow the business to the next level? 

Stephen: Yeah. And in terms of the different organizations that you are a part of, what is the difference between, at least in terms of business development, ProVisors and EO and Vistage? 

Cindy: So they’re a little bit different. With EO, there are certain requirements you have to meet. One, you have to be an entrepreneur or founder, co-founder, and really run the day to day, and then also be doing over a million dollars a year in revenue.

And it’s all entrepreneurs. And I go there not to get clients, but because I think of myself as an entrepreneur. And so it’s a good way to meet other business owners who are going through a lot of the same challenges all business owners go through: do I hire, do I fire? Do I take on this investor?

Do I get new office space or new manufacturing space or whatever kind of business you’re in. So it’s a good way to talk about, we call it the highest 5% in life and in business and then the bottom 5% in life in business. If you’re being sued by one of your employees, you’re not necessarily posting that on Facebook.

And likewise, if you just land a million dollar a year client, you’re not necessarily posting that on Facebook. So it gives you the opportunity to discuss that. 

And then, very similarly with Vistage, even though with Vistage, you’re not required to be a founder — they have different groups, even for your key staff, which I think is great.

But there is still that threshold of revenue in order to join. And it’s basically your board or your peer advisors who can talk to you about strategy and the best things to do in your business. 

Stephen: You said, it seems for you ProVisors is where you’re networking with professionals providing value to them building business that way.

And then your other groups are more geared towards building your business, getting mentorship, getting advice, those kinds of things. 

Cindy: Exactly. Exactly. 

Stephen: Cool. So in terms of your work that you’ve done in ProVisors, how long have you actually, how long have you been in ProVisors now? 

Cindy: I think it’s been about four and a half years. 

Stephen: Cool. So since you began, what’s some advice that you could give to someone that’s just starting out? What do you know now that you wish you had known when you had first started? 

Cindy: Right, when I joined ProVisors I met somebody, another lawyer, who does all startup company law. So every time somebody needs a round of funding or setting up a new business, he does that. 

And in our first coffee together, one-on-one, he mentioned to me three different people he thought would be really good connections for me. And even though he never brought in any business himself, like his law firm has never hired our law firm to do business, the three connections he made for me early on have been so vital. 

And I think that’s a good lesson. Sometimes it’s not the person who you’re marketing directly to, or who you’re sitting down for coffee directly with who can be a good client, but it’s their network. 

So the three people he introduced me to, all of whom have actually become my clients and all of whom, I’m still very good friends with today, all of whom have brought me business tenfold in like the, in just the different areas. 

I always try to think just from a networking perspective of how I can connect other people not only for business-to-client relationships, but also who else would be a good connection just in general that can be repeat business with their network. 

Stephen: Yeah, to me it seems like it’s a lot about just mindset in general. If you’re going in there looking for immediate business or just to get some immediate return on it, that puts you in a mindset that makes it hard for you to even have those kinds of longer term perspectives.

Cindy: Yeah. And I really think it’s about providing value, like how can you provide the most amount of value to other people that you’re networking with? 

Stephen: Yeah. And I think that takes some intention, right? Like you almost have to sit down and block out some time to think about, who did I meet today?

What do they do? Who in my network can I refer them to? What can I help them with? And who else do I know that I could put them in contact with that might help them out? 

Cindy: Exactly. Those are all great questions to think about. 

Stephen: Yeah. And then, what made you decide to go into three different groups? Is it really just so that you could meet that many more people? 

Cindy: So I joined one group, one home group in ProVisors, and I loved it. And then I ended up having a scheduling conflict with my Vistage group. So I asked to change groups. And then I became a group leader in ProVisors. I lead the East Valley Lawyers’ Affinity Group.That’s a group of lawyers that meets once a month and lawyers get MCLE credit. 

And so when you join a second group, when you become a leader, you automatically get to become a member of a second group. And then, because I was guesting so much, and I wake up pretty much Tuesday through Friday, every day and I’m in ProVisors, I started guesting a lot in Corona.

I looked at my list for the year of how many referrals I’ve gotten from the various groups. And, my home group, I had quite a few referrals from, but surprisingly I had nine referrals from Corona. So they were actively looking to find an employment law lawyer to join their group. 

And I was like, “That’s not going to happen! I need to… I LOVE this group.” There’s a great group leader. It’s a great, super fun, talented group of individuals. And so I decided to pay a second membership fee in order to make that my third home group. 

Stephen: Yeah, that’s cool. Yeah. It’s pretty cool that you’re in that many groups. So you’re in a ProVisors meeting pretty much almost every day.

Cindy: Yes. Sometimes twice a day, if I can guest in Boston or Dallas. 

Stephen:  And for those, you must be getting up pretty early to do that. Cause are those also at 7:30 Eastern time? And so it’s… 

Cindy: Yep. And my Boston lawyers affinity group that I love starts even earlier, they start at 7:00 their time. So it’s 4:00 AM our time, but it’s worth it. 

Stephen: Oh, that’s cool. That’s why I reached out to you, cause I was like, man, this is really cool that you’ve just gone all in. Some people are on the fence, not putting in a ton of effort. And then I saw you who was just like, it was just cool.

So one of the things that I noticed after I met you through ProVisors, I did go to your website. And I know that you’re very intentional about having that media section on your website. So people can, when you click it, it’s got videos, the podcast appearances that you’ve been on, and when I asked you to come on this show, you’re very busy, but you still made the time.

So again, what is it that allowed you to know that was an important piece to your business to have that media section there and to promote yourself on these different platforms? 

Cindy: I think it just came naturally in that sense, because when COVID hit last year, everything was going on Zoom and my goal last year was to do a hundred speaking engagements.

And I knew that come March, every networking association basically had to go on Zoom and had to pivot very fast. I ended up taking home the sign from my lobby and putting it in my house so that I could always be branding. And then, I never say no to a speaking engagement. I just think it’s the most valuable thing.

And providing value to either our current clients or former clients or any way we can in order to get in front of people and to give them that value. We just did a webinar last week about vaccines because a lot of our clients, as employment lawyers, are coming to us asking if they can make the vaccines mandatory, or if it’s just voluntary and what are the rules and regulations behind it.

And so we did a free webinar to all of our clients of ‘this is what you need to know with vaccines.’ So we try to very much stay on top of things and to be honest. Platforms like this and Zoom have made it so easy to continue to do your own videos. For less than a thousand dollars, you can have all the equipment you need in order to do videos.

And now most laptops come with their own cameras. So you don’t even need to go out and buy a camera or even a light, you can use regular light. So it’s become so easy. 

Stephen: Yeah, I think that’s one of the things that I’m always encouraging people to do. Cause they just come up with so many different blockers as to why they don’t do certain things.

I know that getting on camera can be tough. I know it was for me. But ultimately I saw where the world was going with social media and being able to get your word out. So I just kinda jumped in, I made that commitment, but it is really easy now. 

And the other thing that’s cool about podcasting, is that you can take the video that you produce, like this happens to be a video podcast, I also publish it to audio platforms. But I can go through this at the end and make up little clips. I can make a clip of you saying something, it could even be just like 60 seconds or 90 seconds of you saying something smart or intelligent about whatever we’re talking about here.

And then I can post that on my social media and then give that to you that you can post on yours. You can put it on your website. So there’s all these different ways that if people are intentional about it, they can use these opportunities well beyond just trying to get subscribers to ‘like’ a podcast or something like that.

Cindy: And it’s always good to find ways to cross promote, right? Just like you’re doing right now. We do this podcast. I send it to my network. You send it to your network and hopefully, things jive and we both get business from it or at least connections from it. 

Stephen: Yeah, exactly. And I think that’s the cool thing about you coming on here is that even though this isn’t necessarily about your law firm, although I’d love to talk a little bit about that at the end, it’s like you’re able to give advice to other people in ProVisors about how they can better use the platform to really grow their business. 

When I talk to people about content like content marketing, specifically, a lot of the time, they’re always focused on getting their target market to see the content, which of course is a goal.

But there’s all these other people that you could be sharing the content with that may also benefit from it and see who you are, become aware of you, learn what you do. You’re also providing them value. 

And it’s just interesting how these networks can really form and the new opportunities with social media and all this kind of stuff to really amplify what you’re doing in these smaller…

Well, not that ProVisors are small, but I would say one thing that’s interesting about ProVisors is that in some ways it is like a small social network. And so there are a lot of opportunities and other networks like LinkedIn that people can really utilize that network in the same way.

And people can really leverage stuff by posting content. They’re posting videos there and creating awareness outside of just these professional networks. 

Cindy: Absolutely. Especially on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to post anything, and then have it either shared as long as it’s providing value. People share it and they like it and comment on it and that’s what you want, that engagement. 

Stephen: Exactly. Outside of ProVisors, outside of the media appearances that you’re doing, are there any other marketing activities that you’ve thought about doing or are thinking about doing or outside of those other things? 

Cindy: Having a good CRM helps [laughs]. 

Stephen: Well, on that front, just quickly, how has that helped you?

Cindy: So I use HubSpot, which I think is a phenomenal resource and it’s a great way to stay engaged with your clients, stay in contact with them. Because as your business grows, the more people you have that want to listen to you or follow you. It’s a great way to continue to provide value throughout. So that’s been really helpful for us. 

Stephen: And how do you use that specifically? Do you keep track of basically everyone you come in contact with and keep notes on them? In what detail do you use it? 

Cindy: So basically yeah, anytime somebody comes into contact with us they get into our CRM system. I have different categories on where everybody is. 

But the most important thing I see about it is, when the Department of Labor comes out with a new poster or a new Supreme Court case passes or goes into effect, it’s a great way to just shout it out to everybody.

Hey, all my clients are business owners. If you’re running a business, this is what you need to know. And I don’t do these big, long newsletters of, ‘Hey, this new attorney joined the firm,’ or… no, nobody cares. They just want, ‘How does this affect my business?’ And my secret in drafting an email like that is basically, I do a test run on my husband.

My husband runs a manufacturing business. They have about a hundred employees. And if it’s not something he’s going to read… it has to be like three sentences, nothing long, or else his eyes are going to glaze over and he’s going to delete it. 

But if it’s like, ‘Hey, Stephen, the department of labor just came out with this. If you have five or more employees, you need to post this poster right now. Here’s the link.’ Just something of value. 

Stephen: Yeah. I know to you, that sounds really basic, but I think that’s really important. You’re intentionally keeping it short and it’s going to give somebody specific value really quickly.

Cause I will say a lot of times I get added to newsletters where I didn’t necessarily ask to be, especially from LinkedIn. It’s just all of a sudden I’m getting newsletters from people. And then it’s three pages of all this stuff. And I’m like, man, that’s ridiculous.

So it’s cool that you’ve narrowed that down. Cause it is email marketing and like all of these, everything that you put into that email has to be like very specific and tailored down. People are busy, right. Cool.  Appreciate you sharing this information.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about what you do specifically and where people can get a hold of you. 

Cindy: Sure. So I run an employment defense law firm. We’re located in Pasadena, which is just outside of downtown Los Angeles. And we focus all on protecting and defending business owners, everything from advice and counsel to single plaintiff lawsuits, class action, defense cases for wage and hour.

We handle sexual harassment cases, discrimination, anything along those lines. We are your one-stop shop for all of your employment law needs on the side of the business. 

Stephen: Cool. And yeah, go ahead. And the best place to get a hold of you. 

Cindy: Our website is www.HacklerFlynn.com. And then my email is [email protected]

My phone number here at the office is (323) 247-7030. 

Stephen: Very cool. I will also link to that stuff, but just in case people are just listening, I appreciate you giving us those details. And again, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day, and I think you shared a lot of great information that can help a lot of people.

So I appreciate you being on the show today. 

Cindy: Thank you so much, Stephen. It’s been so much fun.

Reach out to Cindy:

[email protected]

https://hacklerflynnlaw.com/

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