I’ve coached several lawyers who at one time or another had to raise money. One of those lawyers is Richard Mancini, a Henderson Franklin, trusts and estates litigation lawyer in the firm’s Bonita Springs, FL office.

In our last coaching session, Richard and I talked about “asking for business.” I was always uncomfortable asking until I read a SPIN Selling, a book written by Neil Rackham.

If you are a long time reader, you might recall I included it in My 6 Favorite Books on Selling. If you want to read a quick summary, check out  SPIN Selling: Stop Fumbling & Start Making Sales

As you might recall, SPIN stands for Situation, Problem, Implication, Need. Once you ask questions to determine those things, you are in a position to ask the potential client if you can help him or her.

Richard told me a story about working on a political campaign while in college, and I’ve asked him to share it with you.

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When I was a University of South Florida student, I got involved with local politics.  I took classes on campaign management and was hired on to manage a local school board candidate’s campaign.

Everyone said that a first time candidate and a first time campaign manager had no chance of unseating a longtime incumbent.   They were wrong!  We made some local history when my candidate won.

One campaign management training sessions was how to get folks to make campaign donations.  The instructor, a longtime political junky, went through a litany of tried and true political campaign tools, including the direct mail solicitation, the open house at a friend’s house, and others.

But, he said there was one and only one real way to get donations to your campaign.  That one way was to ASK!  Asking in a direct mail piece is OK. Asking in an email is OK.  Asking over the telephone is OK. But asking in person is the best and most effective way.

The session went on for about an hour, with specific techniques and examples of campaign materials.  Finally, a hand went up in the back of the room. One of the other trainees stood up, looked at the instructor and said “I am working for candidate X, can you make a donation to his campaign?”  The instructor smiled, reached in his pocket and pulled out a $100 bill and handed it to the novice campaign worker.  He said he had been waiting for someone to ask.

It was that simple.  Just ask.

I never forgot that simple but very important lesson.

My trust, probate and guardianship litigation practice, demands that I attract new clients. So, I worked on it throughout my 15-year career. I’ve hosted receptions, my firm has sponsored events. I’ve given presentations.

All of these efforts have been beneficial, but the best and most effective way I’ve attracted new clients or gotten new referrals is to ASK!

Asking in an email is OK.  Asking over the telephone is OK. But, asking in person is the best and most effective way.

Cordell asked me to share my advice. It’s really pretty simple: Get up from your computer, meet the referral source or potential client in person, explain your practice, your experience, the qualities of your firm.

But, remember one more thing, before you leave the meeting, ASK!

Darn good advice. Bottom line: There comes a time when you want to ASK and best to do it in person.