A few years ago I spoke at a firm’s associate retreat on client development. I began by saying I had good news and bad news and I asked which they wanted to hear first.

The associates picked the bad news. The bad news is that client development has never been more complicated. In 2017, it is at least as important to figure out what not to do as it is to figure out what to do.

The good news is that a very small percentage of lawyers will actually do the activities that will enable them to build their client base. And second, blogging and social media has made it easier for clients to find you.

Some lawyers will never start developing business and others may start and then quit when they hit a dip or simply get bogged down doing billable work.

How can you increase your chances of doing the activities that will ultimately develop business? Here is my suggestion:

If you know what you want (not need) to do and have a good answer to the why question (why it is important to you) you will far more likely have the commitment and discipline to do it, even when you hit a dip.

There is one other really important thing that will make you far more likely to do something. Many studies have shown that people are far more likely to do something if they in advance identify specifically what they intend to do and WHEN they intend to do it. Columbia professor, Heidi Grant Halvorson calls that “If, Then Planning.”

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So, anything you decide you want to do, you will far more likely do it if you also identify when you will do it rather than leaving that ambiguous. If you have about 25 minutes, watch Heidi Grant Halvorson’s Ted Talk: The Incredible Benefits of a “Get Better” Mindset