I know that when many of you read the title today you thought I would be sharing with you the importance of collaborating with your colleagues on client development. Looper Reed and McGraw managing partner Cary Gray calls that hunting in packs.
I agree with Cary and many other firm leaders who advocate working as a team. But, today is Valentine’s Day. So, my post today will focus on how Nancy and I teamed together. We never thought of it as client development. We always thought of it as building relationships with people who were (and remain) our closest friends. I am not sure what we did as a team is feasible in 2011. So, I would love your feedback.
In 1982, I made a presentation at a Highway Contractor’s Mid-Year Meeting. Nancy took off from work and joined me. We quickly discovered that we were 10 years younger than the contractors and their spouses. A group of wives from Wisconsin took Nancy under their wing and took her wherever they went. Nancy would spend time with this same group for many years to come. I remember at that meeting we were invited to play in a card game called Ninety-Nine. It was huge fun and we still play it with our daughter and son-in-law.
After that meeting whenever she could get away, Nancy joined me when I was a speaker at national contractor association meetings. Fortunately, the contractors always met in nice (and warm) places during the winter and nice less warm places during the summer. Think of some great resorts and we likely had a chance to join contractors meeting there. When Jill was not in school, she joined us.
The contractors also appreciated Nancy. That was understandable. After all, she was (and still is) a jock. She was a great tennis partner in mixed doubles and was always in high demand for the golf scramble team. Nancy always enjoyed these opportunities, except for one time. I won’t bore you with lots of details. I will leave it at this. She was paired in golf cart with a contractor who was drunk, used the foulest language she had ever heard and thought he was a true ladies man. It was our worst time at a contractor’s convention.
Nancy and I spent many vacations with my clients and their families. They were, and remain, our closest friends. Even in my work with lawyers, Nancy is a great teammate. She goes with me on coaching trips. She hosts lawyers from out of town who come to Dallas for coaching. We have great fun with my former clients and the lawyers with whom I work now.
What can you and your wife or husband do as a team to build relationships with your best clients?