I’m not sure client development will ever be the same after what we’ve been through the last two months and how it has impacted how we work and interact. That said, I decided to post something of a back to basics to refresh readers memories on how to attract business.
I plan to take more time to see what happens to the legal profession over the next month or so. I’ll get back to posting when I am able to go to a gym, eat in a restaurant and watch a baseball game, even if there is no one in the stands.
Suppose a writer published a book for lawyers titled Client Development in a Nutshell. Several years ago, I was asked by a large international firm to make a presentation with that title. Here are some of the nutshell points I made.
- Client development has changed. It is more focused than ever on the client, becoming a remarkable lawyer in the client’s eyes and in building a relationship based on trust. It’s not what you know or who you know, it’s who knows what you know.
- Your clients expect you to understand their industry, their company and them individually.
- By reading what clients read and belonging to organizations they belong to, you are best positioned to identify their problems, opportunities, internal and external changes that require legal help.
- Prepare a business plan with goals to focus your attention and not waste time. When preparing the plan, do not focus so much on a flurry of client development activities. Instead, focus on changing your lifestyle habits.
- To become a “go to lawyer” in the eyes of your clients and potential clients you have to become visible. One of the best ways to become visible to your target market is by writing and speaking on their problems, opportunities, internal changes and external changes. Long ago I decide that writing articles and speaking gave me the greatest return on my investment of non-billable time. Blogging now provides an even better opportunity.
- Connectors are best suited to become visible and get business by being active in the Bar and/or community and building as many relationships with diverse groups of people as possible. Are you a connector? To see, take the test in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “The Tipping Point.”
- Client development is a contact sport. Be purposeful about staying in touch with your contacts. Get up from your desk and visit in person. When you make contact do so in a way they will find value rather than perceive you as trying to sell your services.
- Clients still hire lawyers more than law firms. You get considered based on your profile as a “go to” lawyer and you get hired based on how well you build trust and connect with the decision maker.
- Clients are not satisfied with the level of service they receive. It is important to be responsive and to understand their industry company and representative. Think of ways you can enable the client representative to do his or her job more effectively.
10. Make client development a habit and try to do something, no matter how small, each and every day.